Farewell to Killarney

After a busy month of travelling, it’s time to say adieu to Ireland. The following verse, by Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston, provides an appropriate goodbye. Palmerston visited Ireland several times: his family owned estates in County Sligo but he was also a keen traveller.

Upper Lake of Killarney

Killarney (Irish: Cill Airne, meaning “church of sloes”) is a town in County Kerry, southwestern Ireland.

Old Weir Bridge

The version of the poem held in the Archives is an undated copy in the hand of his son, Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, nineteenth-century Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister.

Glenaa, a mountain in Killarney

Adieu Killarney loved retreat

Where every grace and beauty meet

From thee I part perhaps no more

To view thy wild romantic shore

To float upon the silvery plain

Or thread thy trifled isles again

Along whose haunted margins green

A fairer band of nymphs are seen

Than decked Cythera’s myrtle grove

To beauty sacred and to love

But though a wanderer hence I fly

To realms beneath a distant sky

Yet fancy oft in colours bright

Shall paint the moments of delight

That saw me midst thy social train

A pleased and willing guest remain

Shall oft recall the blushing grace

Of each engaging artless face

That smiled along thine opening glades

Or danced beneath thy checkered shades

And from the crowded scenes of life

The haunts of dullness noise and strife

My wandering thoughts shall oft remove

With fond delight again to rove

Where every grace and beauty meet

In sweet Killarney’s loved retreat

[MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR23AA/2/2]

Map of Killarney showing its hills and lakes

All images taken from John Carr, The Stranger in Ireland, 1806 [Rare Books DA 975]

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