William R. Wilde's Loch Coirib - Its Shores and Islands

Chapter 2: Description of Loch Coirib

Scenery and Mountains Surrounding the Lake

Chapter 2: Description of Loch Coirib

Return to table of contents
Refer to Map

That portion of the lake bordering on the south and east is low and picturesque, especially along the baronies of Kilmaine, Clareen and Moycullen; but towards the east can from most points be seen the remarkable "Hill of the Fairies," called Cnoc Meadha near Tuaim -- a locality very memorable in history, and to which we shall have occasion to refer in another place. The slope of the Magh Cuilinn hills, rising gradually into the great western peaks and highlands, and crowned by Carn Suí Finn, 1,006 feet high, between Uachtar Ard and Dun, relieves the monotony of the south-west bank; and the bold flat-topped outline of Binn Shleibhe, rising 1,019 feet, at the southern extremity of the Partraí range, commences on the north-west the eminences that shelter the upper waters, and slope down to the wooded point of Dun. Towards the extreme north may be seen, on a clear day, the bulky form of Neifin; and, out-topping the deep blue range of Partraf, the conical top of the Reek, or Cruach Phadraic, standing beside Clew Bay. And looking westward, as we pass between Inis Sean Bó and Inis Uí Chuinn, we obtain glimpses of the peaks of Beanna Beóla, or the "Twelve Bens"[fn6-1] of Conamara the topmost of which rises to 2,395 feet. [fn6-1] Viewed from any point in Mayo or Galway, on the radius of a circle thirty miles in length, as well as from the midwaters of the lake itself, the mountains that margin the upper portion of Loch Coirib present an outline of great beauty, and when approached nearer fully vie with those of Cill Áirne and Gleann Garbh.

Leac Aimhréi [fn7-1] -- the uneven flagstone -- rising abruptly to a height of 1,307 feet from the south shore of the upper lake, apparently bare, and barren even of heather, forms a step in the ladder of elevations that lead by gradation to Shannanafeola, [fn7-2] in the background of the picture, and on by Mám Tuirc, Cuirceóg Mór, and Binn Bhan, which attains an elevation of 2,307 feet high. From the upper lake, in certain states of the atmosphere, we can see the outline of Maol-Riach that stands by the Atlantic, 2,688 feet high, over the entrance of the "Killaries," Caol-sháile Ruadh, and the rugged scarped sides of the mountains overhanging Mám on the north; and which, when lighted by autumn sunsets playing on the russet tints of the projecting crags, produce flecks of a burnished coppery hue of surpassing loveliness.

These brown hills slope gradually into the valley of Béal a' na breac, towards the west; and on their southeast they end abruptly in the dun of Caislean Circe, where the natural wood[fn8-1] descends to the water's edge.

Next: Geology

Online edition of William R. Wilde's Loch Coirib, © 1995-2002 World Wide Web Marketing Ltd. NB: This is still a work in progress, please report any errors to joe@galway.net.