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Darrynane Post by :Cybersell Category :Poems Author :Denis Florence Maccarthy Date :October 2011 Read :2913

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(Written in 1844, after a visit to Darrynane Abbey.)

Where foams the white torrent, and rushes the rill,
Down the murmuring slopes of the echoing hill--
Where the eagle looks out from his cloud-crested crags,
And the caverns resound with the panting of stags--
Where the brow of the mountain is purple with heath,
And the mighty Atlantic rolls proudly beneath,
With the foam of its waves like the snowy 'fenane'--(1)
Oh! that is the region of wild Darrynane!

Oh! fair are the islets of tranquil Glengariff,
And wild are the sacred recesses of Scariff,
And beauty, and wildness, and grandeur commingle
By Bantry's broad bosom, and wave-wasted Dingle;
But wild as the wildest, and fair as the fairest,
And lit by a lustre that thou alone wearest--
And dear to the eye and the free heart of man
Are the mountains and valleys of wild Darrynane!

And who is the Chief of this lordly domain?
Does a slave hold the land where a monarch might reign?
Oh! no, by St. Finbar,(2) nor cowards, nor slaves,
Could live in the sound of these free, dashing waves!
A chieftain, the greatest the world has e'er known--
Laurel his coronet--true hearts his throne--
Knowledge his sceptre--a Nation his clan--
O'Connell, the chieftain of proud Darrynane!

A thousand bright streams on the mountains awake,
Whose waters unite in O'Donoghue's lake--
Streams of Glanflesk and the dark Gishadine
Filling the heart of that valley divine!
Then rushing in one mighty artery down
To the limitless ocean by murmuring Lowne--(3)
Thus Nature unfolds in her mystical plan
A type of the Chieftain of wild Darrynane!

In him every pulse of our bosoms unite--
Our hatred of wrong and our worship of right--
The hopes that we cherish, the ills we deplore,
All centre within his heart's innermost core,
Which, gathered in one mighty current, are flung
To the ends of the earth from his thunder-toned tongue!
Till the Indian looks up, and the valiant Afghan
Draws his sword at the echo from far Darrynane!

But here he is only the friend and the father,
Who from children's sweet lips truest wisdom can gather,
And seeks from the large heart of Nature to borrow
Rest for the present and strength for the morrow!
Oh! who that e'er saw him with children about him
And heard his soft tones of affection could doubt him?
My life on the truth of the heart of that man
That throbs like the Chieftain's of wild Darrynane!

Oh! wild Darrynane, on thy ocean-washed shore,
Shall the glad song of mariners echo once more?
Shall the merchants, and minstrels, and maidens of Spain,
Once again in their swift ships come over the main?
Shall the soft lute be heard, and the gay youths of France
Lead our blue-eyed young maidens again to the dance?
Graceful and shy as thy fawns, Killenane,(4)
Are the mind-moulded maidens of far Darrynane!

Dear land of the south, as my mind wandered o'er
All the joys I have felt by thy magical shore,
From those lakes of enchantment by oak-clad Glena
To the mountainous passes of bold Iveragh!
Like birds which are lured to a haven of rest,
By those rocks far away on the ocean's bright breast--(5)
Thus my thoughts loved to linger, as memory ran
O'er the mountains and valleys of wild Darrynane!


1. "In the mountains of Slievelougher, and other parts of this county, the country people, towards the end of June, cut the coarse mountain grass, called by them 'fenane'; towards August this grass grows white."--Smith's Kerry.

2. The abbey on the grounds of Darrynane was founded in the seventh century by the monks of St. Finbar.

3. The river Lowne is the only outlet by which all the streams that form the Lakes of Killarney discharge themselves into the sea--'Lan,' or 'Lowne,' in the old Irish signifying full.

4. "Killenane lies to the east of Cahir. It has many mountains towards the sea. These mountains are frequented by herds of fallow deer, that range about it in perfect security."--Smith's Kerry.

5. The Skellig Rocks. In describing one of them, Keating says "That there is a certain attractive virtue in the soil which draws down all the birds which attempt to fly over it, and obliges them to alight upon the rock."

(The end)
Denis Florence MacCarthy's poem: Darrynane

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