Glengarriff village in the mid-19th century

Glengarriff Inn by William Henry Bartlett.
Glengarriff Inn by William Henry Bartlett (source: Coyne, J.S. 1842. The Scenery and Antiquities of Ireland Illustrated from Drawings by W. H. Bartlett. Vol. 2. G. Virtue: London).

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The Irish Tourist’s Illustrated Handbook for Visitors to Ireland in 1852 provides a brief account of Glengarriff village in West Cork. It explains how it was accessed at this time: “though Glengariff can also be reached by boat across the bay (seven miles), the overland route is generally preferred”. This was described as “a fine mountain-road, sweeping through many superb scenes”.

There were two substantial bridges on what was the high road from Castletown-Bearhaven, as seen in the drawing below. By the time of the 1852 tourist’s handbook, the older of the two, “Cromwell’s Bridge”, had been for some time in a ruinous state and only the newer bridge upstream was in use.

Cromwell’s Bridge, Glengarriff, by William Henry Bartlett.
Cromwell’s Bridge, Glengarriff, by William Henry Bartlett (source: Scenery and Antiquities of Ireland). A later bridge is visible in the background.

The village of Glengariff, the 1852 visitor’s guide goes on to say,

“consists of only a very few houses. They are collected round the hotel, a pretty white house, built against a hill, which rises high above it, and standing within a few yards of the clear water. From every point of view the bay is beautiful; but is most beautiful seen from the windows of the little hotel–a hostelrie placed in a paradise, and which all are loth to leave–even for Killarney.”

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