Irving, John to Catherine Irving (née Caddell) (1844/06/19)
Bantry, June 19th, 1844.
I have just got your kind letter of the 10th instant. We came round here from Cork last week. So far from the imprisonment of Dan O’Connell rendering the presence of a force no longer necessary in Ireland, there seems a greater ferment than ever amongst the Irish. Meetings have been held in every small town, and most inflammatory language made use of, and the Protestants scattered about in the south have been much alarmed. We are at the head of Bantry Bay, within a quarter of a mile of the town of Bantry. The bay is about twenty miles long, much like the Firth of Forth; but it is much more precipitous at the sides: hills very high break down at once into the water. One of them is 2160 feet high. The appearance is rocky and barren, except just where we are moored, where the ascent from the sea is more gradual. The mansion of Lord Berehaven is within a few yards of the beach, and just abreast of the ship, almost within hail. It is an old-fashioned, flat-roofed, square house, about the size of Captain Hope’s, faces the sea, and has a green slope in front down to the water. A park, with deer and a good deal of wood, stretches away on the rise behind to the foot of the mountains. Just outside the park wall is the village of Bantry, a small, dirty place. I believe we are here as much for the special protection of his Lordship as anything else, he having had threatening letters sent to him. We have a man-of-war at almost all the sea-ports of the south-west and east coasts of Ireland. We are quite uncertain about being paid off. However, I expect to pay you a visit before the end of the year at farthest During the last six months we have had a nearly new set of officers in the “Volage,” and we are much more comfortable than before, the Captain agreeing better, and everything going on smoothly. I had a letter about a week ago from my Aunt Jane, so your news was all forestalled. However, I am always glad to hear that you are all well and happy, even if you say nothing more. My warmest remembrance to all friends, and believe me, dear Kate, your most affectionate brother,