View of the Franciscan Priory at Quin, Co. Clare, by the river Rine, seen from the west. The abbey is depicted in a state of delapidation and somewhat overgrown with ivy, but with several architectural features clearly shown, most notably its high tower and the tracery of a fine gothic window. In front of the building, a religious ceremony is in progress; many of those present are kneeling. Other men, women and children are seen approaching along a road in the foreground leading to the abbey, and from the right. A thatched cottage in poor condition stands on the riverbank, to the left. The surrounding countryside is bare, with hills and low mountains in the background.
Inscribed in Image
|Subject(s)||Antiquities and archaeological sites, Architecture, Manners and customs, Rural life|
|Keywords(s)||Buildings, Children, Churches, Cottages, Crowds, Funeral processions, Hills, Men, Mountains, People, Prayer, Rivers, Ruins, Towers, Windows, Women|
|Published / created||1839|
|Travel Account||Rambles in the South of Ireland|
|Print or manuscript|
|Location of image in copy||Vol. 2, facing p. 185|
|Source copy||James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland Galway Special Collections: 914.190481 CHA|
Related text from travel account
|On Monday we came here, making a detour to visit the ruins of Quin Abbey. It stands in a
green plain near the clear river. The cloisters
resemble those of Askeaton, and are in as good
preservation; indeed the whole building, except
the roof, is entire. Most of the chimney-pieces remain; and a peasant woman, who came
up to speak to me as I was examining an old
monument, said that her grandmother remembered when it was all perfect. I looked on
these cloisters with great interest, as the place
where the monk who composed those beautiful
lines to Lady O'Brien, was wont to meditate and
While we were in the abbey, the funeral procession of a young girl entered the ruined building, and, as is always the case in Ireland, several groups dispersed themselves in various directions, each to weep over the grave of their own friends. I remarked one girl particularly, who knelt at a tomb which, from its grass-grown appearance, seemed to have been there a long time; she must have been quite young when [p. 186] she lost the friend or relative who reposed in it; but the expression of solemn concern on her countenance showed how deeply she still revered the memory of that departed one. The prayer thus offered up at the grave of a long lost friend, must have a beneficial effect on the character, and I cannot but feel a respect for a custom so calculated to do good.
I was struck with the extreme civility and kindly feeling towards us strangers, of the people who attended this funeral. They seemed highly flattered at our appearing to admire the ruins; and one woman regretted, with tears in her eyes, that the pavement of the cloisters was so rugged for my “little feet;” she looked as if she longed to carry me over the rough places, and watched with the greatest anxiety to see that I did not step on loose stones. When we talked of ascending the high tower of the chapel, some of the women seemed frightened at the idea of a lady’s venturing up broken stairs and along the top of narrow walls, at that dizzy height; but when they saw that I was resolved to proceed, my friend of the cloisters said she would go up with me, though she had never ventured before. This and other marks of interest [p. 187] and civility, which we met with then, could not proceed from desire of gain, for none of the poor people would take money. One tattered old man to whom we offered a trifle, said, when declining it for himself, that he would be glad if their honours would give something to the mother of the poor young girl who lay in the coffin, as she had in a few weeks lost a husband, a son, and this daughter, and was left with six young children to provide for, and another coming.
This young girl, owing to the deaths and illness in the family, had no relations at the funeral, yet many tears of genuine sorrow were shed over her grave by this warm-hearted people; and though in this case there could not be the usual attraction of merriment and good cheer at the cottage of the deceased, the procession was crowded. And a beautiful and strange scene it was to see this crowd—the men in their sober attire, and the women in the brilliant coloured dresses they wear in this part of the country, scattered over the green sward before the venerable ruins of the old abbey. Not one bonnet was there: all the women wore either their own dark hair dressed in the simple Grecian fashion, or the head [p. 188] covered with a sort of white linen veil, or bright coloured handkerchief, or the hood of the red or blue cloak, which forms an invariable part of their costume.
At a cottage, in the village of Quin, we were amused at seeing the following sign over the door.
“Here lives a man who don't refuse
To make or mend both boots and shoes;
His leather's good, his work is quick,
His profits small—so can't give tick."
This sign, however, is not so concise and expressive as one I have seen at Limerick, over the door of an eating-house.
"Fat and lean
Neat and clean,"
told the whole tale of what might be expected within. [Vol. 2, p. 185-188] [Continues on topic of signs].