|About seven o'clock in the morning, under a tolerable specimen of the humidity of the atmosphere of this part of Ireland, I bade adieu to Limerick, so famous for its pretty women, its river, its gloves, and its depots of beef and pork. I saw nothing worthy of notice till I approached Adair, the town where we first halted, which presented a very picturesque and beautiful appearance. This village, which is situated in the barony of Kennery, and on the Maig which communicates with the Shannon, abounds [p. 350] with ruins of churches and convents, which in distant times belonged to the Franciscan friars. Every spot is holy ground. The ruins which are in the highest preservation, are those of a religious house in the south side of the town, built in the reign of King Edward I., by John Earl of Kildare, for friars of the order of the Holy Trinity, for the redemption of christian captives: its steeple is supported by a plain arch, with four diagonal ogives meeting in the centre, and stairs which rise to the battlements. The nave and choir are small and plain. On the south side of the river there is another friary in high preservation, founded by John Earl of Kildare, who died 1315. In the choir, which is large, are stalls, and a corresponding nave, with a lateral aisle on the south side. To the north of the steeple are some beautiful cloisters, with Gothic windows, within which, on three sides of the square, are corridors and on most of these windows are escutcheons with the English and saltier crosses, in general ranged alternately. The principal parts are of hewn lime-stone, which appears fresh, and the workmanship is simply elegant. Near the cloisters are several apartments, which appear to be much more ancient than the other parts of the building. In the east part of the town a grey friary was founded by Thomas earl of Kildare, and Joan his wife, daughter of James Earl of Desmond, in 1465.
[p. 351] All these ruins are delightfully situated, and time has finely coloured those parts which the ivy has not covered. The moralist, the painter, and the antiquarian, will not pass Adair without heaving a sigh for poor mortality, without borrowing some venerable grace from the hoary pile, or tracing, amid the mouldering ruins, the skill and taste of distant ages. My driver was a very good-humoured fellow, who stuttered most unintelligibly till I became a little accustomed to him; and although wet to the skin, and a glass of whisky lay before him, he would first conduct me to these monastic remains which, if I might judge by the brightness of his eyes, and the vivacity of his gestures, and by putting the heads and tails and scattered limbs of his words together as well as I could, he seemed to enjoy in a manner very creditable to his feelings. I was surprised to find, not only here, but in every other part of Ireland which I visited, that the Anglo-hibernian language spoken was free from provincial idiom: the only difference which I found arose from the pronunciation of a few words being more or less broad. [pp. 349-351]