Upper Lake of Killarney

Artist(s) : John Carr (Draughtsman), Thomas Medland (Engraver)

View of the Upper Lake of Killarney. A boat with two fishermen is on the left-hand side of the image, in the foreground. Behind, there is an island or peninsula with a cottage. In front of the building a man with a hat is sitting under the shade of a tree. On rocks protracting from the land onto the lake, a man is standing, facing right, playing a bugle. Further in the distance and to the right, there is an island completely covered by trees. To the right, a boat with for rows of rowers is passing by. Behind, the opposite shore of the lake is visible. Mountains are in the background.

Inscribed in Image

  • Signature – Drawn by Jn. Carr Esqr. / Engraved by T. Medland
  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – Upper Lake of Killarney / June 4, 1806 by R. Phillips. No. 6, New Bridge Street, Black fryars

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Technique Aquatints
Subject(s) Nature, Rural life
Geographical Location
  • Upper Lake of Killarney - Lake
  • Kerry - County
  • Munster - Province
Keywords(s) Boats, Cottages, Hats, Hills, Houses, Islands, Lakes & ponds, Men, Mountains, Musical instruments, People, Trees
Colour Coloured
Dimensions 40.1 cm x 20.3 cm
Published / created 1806

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account The stranger in Ireland
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy opp. p. 392
Source copy National Library of Ireland LO 2699 Dir. Off.
Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

After pursuing our course by rocks of the most fanciful forms, some of which resembled men of war, some wholly naked, some richly clothed with arbutus and other shrubs, we entered the Upper Lake through a narrow passage, called Coleman's-eye, or Leap. Our helmsman, who belonged to the boats kept for the purpose of attending those who visit the lakes, and who most confidently believed in all the superstition of the place, said that a great giant leaped across this pass, and showed us some holes in one of the rocks to which he sprung, as the impression which his toes made upon his alighting. The names given to the surrounding objects are highly figurative, and are frequently changed according to the caprice or genius of the boatmen: some gloomy-looking mountains were called "the Drooping Mountains." A herring-boat was once wrecked in the beautiful lake of Lough Larne, in which a fidler was drowned: the fisherman deprived the poor fel- // low of a little posthumous celebrity, by calling the spot where he perished Herring island instead of Cremona's Island, from a conviction that fish was better than music. Upon our entering the lake the bugle was sounded, which reverberated from shore to shore, softening upon every repetition, and terminating in the sweetest cadences, to inform the people, at a little cottage upon an island, that we were arrived, and that they might prepare for dinner: after which we rowed round the eastern side of the lake, that stretches from this point to the westward about a league, and in no part exceeds three-quarters of a mile in breadth: it has on its bosom a cluster of beautiful and finely wooded islands, and is encircled by rugged, stupendous, and most romantic mountains. After enjoying this scene, we proceeded to Ronan's Island to dinner. A more beautiful spot I never beheld: it was formerly inhabited by the man whose name it bears, who, with the true gusto of sporting, spent ten years in it, for the gratification of using his rod and line in the lake during that period. A romantic little cottage, built for the public accommodation by Lady Kenmare, to whose Lord all the islands on the lakes, except Brickeen and Dinis, as well as Glenaa, the Long-range, Cromiglaun, Derrycunihy, Point Prospect-hall to the River Flesk, belong, stood upon a rising lawn, encircled with rock: behind the cot- // tage was a mount, covered with the most beautiful shrubs growing wild. Lieutenant-colonel Heyland, with the experience of a travelled man, and with the hospitality of an Irish gentleman, brought with him in the boat every article for making an excellent dinner, having sent the day before to some peasants, who lived in the neighbouring mountains, to be at the cottage to dress the meat, &c. Whilst the mountain-nymph was roasting our mutton, her husband came in a powerful, good-humoured-looking fellow, who told us he had got three large wounds in his head at the last fair. At these meetings the people frequently divide themselves into what are called factions, and fight for love when the whisky mounts high into the brain. The reader will wonder when I tell him that pates thus broken are the most gratifying political signs imaginable. The rebellions in Ireland, like the hurricanes of the West Indies, have been always preceded by an unusual calm; so much so, that, shortly after the year 1798, upon a gentleman, who lived in a town where a great fair was holding, and who knew the Irish character well, being asked how the people seemed disposed at the fair? he replied, “All was peace and quiet for he had left them all fighting." From Ronan's Island we saw the Stag Island, its neighbour, crowded with young oak, arbutus, juniper, yew, holly, box, and ash, hanging over its rocky sides. On // the east were several islands, bounded by the cliffs of Cromiglaun: on the west are M‘Gilly, Cuddys, Ricks, called so in allusion to their conical shape, which take their rise from Ghirmeen, and encircling a considerable valley to the west of the lake, form an extensive amphitheatre. These mountains are very numerous, and broken into the most whimsical shapes: their brown barrenness has, at the distance which most of them are seen from, a grand but gloomy effect. They are well stocked with grouse, or, in the language of the natives, the hen of the heath: they furnish the lake with its principal supplies of water; a few poor cottagers procure a scanty subsistence upon the borders of its valley. In the north the purple mountain, one of the great features of this scene, rises in a conical shape, and is tinctured with a deep indigo colour, arising in some degree from a sort of heath, which is not to be found in any other part of the country, that produces purple berries; but more from another herb, used in dying, probably the lichenoides saxatile foliis pilosis purpureis: it is much frequented by a bird so little known in Kerry, that it has no name assigned to it; it is somewhat larger than a grouse; its breast is red, the rest of its plumage a clear shining black, except the wings and tail, which are interspersed with white feathers: the mountain of Derrycumhy formed the southern border. The scenery of these lakes is ever new. Those vast clouds that are rolled together // from the Atlantic Ocean, unbroken until they touch the summits of the stupendous mountains that encompass this favourite spot of nature, tint every scene with endless varieties of light and shade. As the beholder dwells upon his object, although the outline remains unaltered, new characters arise, new beauties are unfolded. After a most excellent repast, the bugle blew a farewel sound, / With which hill, dale, and valley rung! [pp. 390-394]
Upper Lake of Killarney