Chapter 6: Inis Uí Chuinn to Inis A' Ghaill and Cunga Fheichín (Cong)
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Returning to our steamer from the point where we landed, at Annakean Castle, to investigate the extensive parish of Killursa, and continuing our north-west course, we steer by the south-west corner of Rabbit Island, from whence glimpses of the grand mountain view already referred to may be descried. And here, as we enter the broad waters of the upper lake, a word about the islands which cluster around us may be useful.
The islands of Loch Coirib are so numerous, that the people of the district say they number 365, or one for every day in the year, and that an additional one rises on leap year; and as many as 145, independent of rocks and shoals, have been named. The largest are those of Inis Uí Chuinn, Inis Mhic a' Trír, Dubhros, Inis a' Ghaill, Inis Ceannain, Inis Uí Liaigh, and Oileán a' Choinín. Passing the narrow channel through which the steamer darns its tortuous path, amidst the intricate navigation of rocks, shoals, and breakers, and getting into the open space of the large or middle lake, we are struck with the curious appearance of the groups of islands in threes and fours, arranged in lines, as if marking the ancient boundaries of the lake beach. Such may be observed in those running nearly north and south, from Bilberry Island to Cos a' Fuair, and from Coad to Inis Beag, both to the west of the steamer's track; and from Carraig a' Slinne to Inis Binne, to the east of that line; and again a group of five, stretching from the north-east point of Inis Dubhros, by Claon-Oileán and Ard-Oileán, to the west of the Cong River. The west face of several of these small islands is truncated, the alluvial soil and gravel having been cut down by the winds and waves of thousands of years.
And we are now passing Inchiquin, already twice referred to, we must again, in fancy, if not in fact, land our tourist freight for a short digression to the mainland. Before, however, we take leave of the Galway waters, or pass into those of Mayo, we must introduct the accompanying vignette of the Rev. John D'Arcy's pretty cottage upon Inis Sean Bó, "the island of the old cow", that just now appears in view, among the cluster of small islands to the west of our course. It is so called on account of the usual tradition or cow legend of which the tale will be told when describing Cill Cuimín, the parish to which this island belongs.