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A French Lady's Visit to Lismore


Three Months Tour in Ireland by Madam De Bovet, Translated and edited by Mrs Arthur Walter, London 1891.  Anne Marie De Bovet was a French novelist and travel writer who married the Marquis de Bois-Hébert but wrote under her maiden-name.  She wrote three books on Ireland.

Lismore is a clean little town, the aspect of which is refreshing to eyes wearied with poverty and rags.  If as some would have us believe, the ills of Ireland are to be entirely ascribed to the negligence or rapacity of landlords, the comfortable appearance of Lismore does honour to the Duke of Devonshire.

Neat low houses, mostly of one storey, stand in well- kept streets, their fronts white-washed, and embowered in clematis, laurels, myrtles, and fuchsias.  The windows have curtains of red calico, and seen through open doors, are dressers well-polished and furnished with store of pottery.  The people are comfortably clad, not too ragged, and almost clean.  Beggars are comparatively rare; and if the children go barefoot, that is an affair of fashion rather than of necessity.  Many of them being dressed in gaudy tartans and cashmeres, the boys wearing caps and the girls adorned with ribbons tied round tresses that really appear to be combed daily.

Though residing [The Duke of Devonshire] but little in Lismore – where, however, some of his family come every year for shooting or change of air – he is popular in the county.  The magnificent park of Lismore is hospitably open to the public; and one may pass delicious hours in the shadow of gigantic beeches or wandering by the swift flowing river.  Upon picturesque elevations, covered with trees, villas succeed one another all the length of the river.


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