Glin Library

The following is an extract from the book “A Frenchman’s Walk through Ireland 1796/97”. (Translated from the French of DE LATOGNAYE by JOHN STEVENSON)This little bit is when he came to Glin. It is interesting.

 “ Fatigued by the long walk of the day before, and by the great heat, I thought it well to stop at the village of Glin, which gives the title of Knight to its proprietor. There are but four places in the whole of Ireland which have this privilege, and all are in this part of the country. It is not a title of English origin. It was given by the sovereign to four brave men of the country before or at the time of the conquest, and those who bear the titles at present are their descendants.

I asked a big priest whom I met where I could find lodging, and he led me to a miserable eating-house, assuring me that it was the only inn in the place and that it was very good. I passed the night defending myself from the monsters who regarded me as their lawful prey, and when the sun rose it was on a bloody scene. I had the appearance of having taken part in a battle, as really I had. Happily the sea was not far off ; to it I fled quickly to drown unwelcome guests, and that operation finished, I saw my friend the priest going, himself, to the water. I told him of my miserable hap, but this he took to be merely an everyday matter and made light of it — in fact, he laughed very heartily. I felt inclined to wish him in a warm place, but calmed myself and only wished him, for the good of his soul, several nights such as the one I had just passed.

I went on my way, and finding at the entry of the village a beautiful inn, the sight made me so angry with the priest that I could hardly resist returning to seek him and administer to him some well-deserved chastisement. However, I resisted the impulse and proceeded on my way. I saw on a height the ruins of an old castle, which sustained a siege by the forces of Queen Elizabeth. It is still surrounded by its ancient fortifications and outworks ; there are also in the neighbourhood some ancient raths. I had already walked ten miles, and I had been on foot since three o’clock

in the morning, and began to hear the wailings of my stomach ; there was no inn to be seen, but I saw on the heights a pleasant-looking house, and made inquiry as to the name of the owner. The answer was John Evan. I had observed several times that while the poor are very hospitable and offer to the tired stranger according to his needs, yet if this same traveller presented himself at the house of well-to-do people he could get nothing more than a glass of water. The occasion seemed to me lit for making an experiment, and I presented myself at the door. The owner, Mr. John Evan, appeared. ‘ Monsieur,’ I said, ‘ I have not the honour of your acquaintance, and I have no letter of recommendation to you, but I declare to you that I am extremely hungry, and if you will give me something to eat, I shall be extremely obliged.’ ‘ Faith,’ said he, you could not have come at a better time, for breakfast is ready.’ He brought me into his house, where I found everything I could desire. I was charmed to find myself wrong in my conjecture, but promised to myself that I would not try such an experiment again, lest I should find my first opinion to be justified.”

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