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    The eye dwelt on it with surprize and delight, and the Shannon, so much admired by us at Limerick and its environs, as well as near Portumna castle, seemed now to surpass itself, to expand, and assume grander beauties, to delight in mountain scenery, and run into creeks and inlets, whilst his waves, agitated by winds, which had arisen since early morning, dashing and foaming on the shores, almost confirmed the illusion that the sea itself was before us! We saw several beautiful places contributing to adorn these romantic and wonderfully fine scenes; but the general appearance of the country bespeaks poverty. Few smiling cottages or good farm-houses enriched them. Nature had done every thing, man little, to make them all the eye could desire. Scenes, which are not excelled by those of Wales or Switzerland, here sadden the mind, when it reflects on the destitute situation of the poor mountain-cottager, and cannot repress a sigh in the midst of all their beauty.
    The rain began to pour in torrents on us, as we got near Killaloe. The mountains were overcast with dark mists, and the river looked gloomy, as the storm swept over its surface. As we proposed reaching this last night, we continued our way, heavily drenched with rain, and almost petrified with cold.

    John Bernard Trotter, 1819
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    Detail from the Johnston map of Ireland, 1861.
    Above: detail from the Johnston map of Ireland, 1861.
    Map © Cartography Associates, from the Rumsey Collection.

    Left: detail from satellite photo (click for larger version).

    Charon (MIT Project) 1989, James Coleman ©