"Where Margy's walls unroofed and mouldering stand
Mid the long rye-grass rustling o'er the sand,
Where many a heaving sod and rustic stone
Death, dread destroyer, mark the place thy own,
What sacred orisons with morn arose
What heaven-taught vespers blest the ev’nings close!
Lost to the world, its follies all forgot,
There chose the monk his calm contented lot,
Told o'er his beads, his useless vigils kept,
Or o'er the pages of the fathers slept.
There too, perhaps, some Eloisa strove,
Poor cloistered victim of despair and love,
With many an idle wish and heartless prayer,
To lift her thoughts to Heaven, and fix them there.
Now all is hushed and silent as the grave,
Save when the tempests through the lone aisles rave,
Solemn and sad - or when the time-struck wall
Wakes the still echoes by its sounding fall,
Charming the ear of Ruin, as he smiles
O’er slimy vaults, and monumental piles."
REV. W. H. DRUMMOND, D. D.
About half-a-mile from Ballycastle and close to the road for Cushendall, and in the centre of its gravevard are the ruins of this Friary, the name of which is usually written and pronounced Bonamargy, and which derives its name from the foot or mouth of the River Mairge. The river is about half-a-mile in length and is formed at Drumahammond bridge by the union of the Carey and the Shesk streams, and running in a nearly straight direction, flows into the ocean near the east pier of the old harbour. The situation of the Friary on the level helm where the valley of Glenshesk opens to the sea is very picturesque, but the view of the bay is interrupted by the intervening sand hills, known as the Warren, and which is used as a golf course. The ruins are not very attractive, and even when occupied by the Friars the buildings were plain, unpretentious and devoid of any architectural beauty. The ruins consist of a chapel, forming a nave, but without any aisles, a repaired mortuary chapel and vault, private apartments of the friars, and a small detached building used as the porter lodge. The general plan of the building might be roughly described as T shape, the down stroke representing the chapel, the private apartments being on the left or north side, the repaired mortuary chapel on the right side, and the east gable of the chapel at the junction with the horizontal line.
The Friary was occupied by Franciscan Friars of the Third Order, also named the Tertiary or Tertiarian Order, and in a M.S. list of Franciscan houses in the British Museum it is stated that it was founded in 1500 by Rory MacQuillin, Lord of the Route, while it is stated elsewhere that Charles MacDonnell was its founder in 1500. There is evey reason for the belief that it owed its origin to the MacQuillans, as this Welsh family was supreme in the district before the arrival of the MacDonnells; and its foundation may be ascribed to an earlier date, about 1460, as Rory MacQuillin was killed in. 1472 by the O’Cahans of Derry; also about the year 1500 Walter MacQuillin was the chief, and he, too, was slain by the O'Cahans in 1506. It was the rule for prominent Irish families to maintain in their respective districts churches and monasteries, and, if there is any truth in the statement that a MacDonnell was its founder, Alexander MacDonnell of Islay and Kintyre may have repaired and enlarged the building. Its general appearance would suggest that the building was erected about the middle of the fifteenth or the beginning of the sixteenth century.
Francis, the son of Peter Bernardone, afterwards known as St. Francis of Assisi, and founder of the Franciscan Order, was born in the town of Assisi in 1182 and died there on Saturday, the 4th October, 1226. It was his father's intention that he should adopt a commercial career, but Francis went against his father's wish and joined the church, which was resented by his father, with the result that there was a quarrel. Francis's first act was to rebuild the ruined Church of St. Damain, which was finished in 1206, and, assisted by a few workmen, he next commenced the restoration of the little Church of St. Peter and St. Mary, known as the Chapel of the Portiuncula, which he selected as his home and where the Order was established on the 16th April, 1208. It was on that date that St. Francis, along with Bernard do Quintavalle, a wealthy townsman of Assisi, and Peter of Catania, Canon of the Church of St. Rufinus, adopted together the life of a recluse in a little hut at Rivorto near Assisi, and in about a week they were joined by a rich merchant of the town, named Egidias.
Francis, and those associated with him, decided that they should visit Rome and receive authority from Pope Innocent III to establish a new Order, and after an interview in which they promised obedience to the Holy See, Francis was appointed Superior General of the Friars Minor and admitted to the order of Deacon, while his companions received Minor Orders from the Pope. On their return to Rivotorto they had no suitable residence, but this difficulty was overcome by the action of the Benedictine Fathers of Subiaco who gave them possession of the chapel, now known as the shrine of the Portiuncula, which is enclosed by the magnificent Church of St. Mary of the Angels where the first General Chapter of the Order was held in 1216, the second General Chapter in May, 1219, and where St. Francis died. Eventually, St. Francis decided to establish a Third Order "open to both sexes and all classes, the cradle of supernatural virtue in every sphere of life, from the prince of the Church and crowned head, to the mendicant, the toiling artisan and the penniless widow." The following were the original rules framed by St. Francis for admission to the Third Order : (1), Restoration of unjustly got goods; (2), Reconciliation with enemies; (3), Observance of the Commandments' of God, the Precepts of the Church, and the Rule; (4), In the case of a married woman her husband's consent. They were not permitted to possess lands or churches, and they were to erect their own houses, worship at the parish churches and live among the poor, to whom they were to minister in their necessities. After his death changes were made in the Rules by which they could possess lands and churches and form communities known as Friaries. The head of a community, as in the ease of the Friary, was named the Guardian, the head of the Order in a country Minister Provincial, and of the whole Order, Minister General. The Order became very popular and increased so rapidly that in 1380, there were 500 monasteries with 90,000 Friars.
Early in the sixteenth century the Franciscan Order was the most numerous in Ireland and they had 57 houses in various parts of the country. In 1536 Henry VIII, by an Act of Parliament, confiscated 307 monasteries with yearly revenues amounting to £32,000, and their movables were valued at £100,000. In 1537 a commission under the Great Seal of England suppressed eight abbeys and shortly afterwards a similar fate awaited the 563 monasteries in Ireland. A considerable number of the religious houses continued to exist after this time, especially in remote districts where English authority could not be rigorously enforced against them. Thus Myler Magrath in his "Notes", dated December 10th, 1590 says:-" In Ulster there are sixteen monasteries wherein the monks and friars remain, using their habit and service as in Rome itself is used." In the North of Ireland it was not until after the Flight of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel on September 14th, 1607, that religious houses became vacant.
The rugged character of the ruins at Bunnamairge is softened as the shades of evening creep slowly around this lonely and ruined sacred fane when in the gloaming a gentle dimness hangs lightly on the landscape under a pale moonlight sheen. The darkening shades of night as it approaches seem to arise from the earth and net from the sky. Around its walls rest peacefully in sacred soil, an immense company of those who although dead have left their influence on the present generation, until they receive the final Summons to appear on the great Resurrection Morn.
"Full many a year has passed and she,
Their best-beloved of all
Rests - from Time's blights and changes free –
Beside the Abbey wall.
The Mairge mourns, as winding there
Its' quiet course along;
And in the gloaming's haunted air
How soft the blackbird’s song."
REV. GEORGE HILL
The only chant now heard near its ruined walls is the gay melody of the feathered warblers, the most natural and the most beautiful of songsters, as they pour forth in a melody of joyous song on the balmy air their morning welcome to the mighty orb of day; or the sound of the ever changeful wind in its moments of softness or its wildness; or the sullen oar of the ocean along the shore in its time of stormy grandeur. Its sacred character is a reminder that the Great Architect of the Universe was worshipped devoutly and reverently by the humble peasantry of the district and where their hymns of praise were sung with a religious and a fervent spirit. Such are the changes which the lapse of tune, neglect, and even the hands of wilful men have accomplished to many of the religious edifices throughout the land. It was an ideal site for the unknown founder to select as a home for the Franciscan Friars, surrounded by the everlasting hills, and where the valley opens on the coast with the lisping voice of the Mairge as it then flowed close along its walls to its outlet on the ocean. From both of these places the Friars received a plentiful supply of fish which was their favourite food.
"Old friends and neighbours rest around
And youthful comrades dear –
What thrilling memories from the past
Arise to meet us here!
Spell-hound, we creep from grave to grave,
And read each humble stone,
Brief records these of human love
And truth for ever gone;"
REV. GEORGE HILL.
The chapel consists of a nave without aisles or choir and is 97 feet in length on the inside, and 24 1/2 feet in width, with sidewalls 18 feet in height. The west gable is destroyed but it was 5 feet thick, and the east gable is perfect and has a very fine two-storied Gothic window about 17 feet in height and 5 1/2 feet in width, cased on the inside with cut sandstone and having a wide splay of 7 feet 4 1/2 inches. At this window are the two stone slabs which supported the altar, one of which has a doorway and which communicated with a recess under the altar. This recess may have been used for depositing relics, or as a locker which usually contained the vessels connected with the high altar, the wine and water used in the Eucharist, and the oil for unction and chrism. As is usual, there is no window in the north sidewall, but near the east gable is a doorway to a hall communicating with the private apartments. Near this doorway is a repaired tombstone with the following inscription -" Here lyeth the Bodies of Captain Stewart of Dundermot and Family and Francis Stewart, Bishop of Down and Connor 1749." Dr. Stewart was a Franciscan who was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor in 1740 and died in 1750, and Dundermot is in the parish of Dunloy and Cloughmills. Along the south sidewall of the chapel from east to west is the door to the mortuary chapel, and below was a recess now built up with steps to a door communicating with the MacDonnell vault underneath the mortuary chapel. Next comes the outline of a large doorway, now closed, which was probably the original entrance to a side chapel, and close to it is the MacNagthen monument behind which was a window also closed; and there is also an open and narrow window partly concealed by the monument. Next in succession is a large window, and then comes a smaller window both being dosed, while near the west gable is a doorway pointed outside, but with a circular head on the inside of cut sandstone and the sides of this doorway are built with sandstone and basalt.
The door of the mortuary chapel is reached by seven sandstone steps projecting into the chapel for about 4 feet and the sixth step formed the roof over the three steps which descended to the iron door of the Antrim vault. The doorway to the mortuary chapel is semicircular and about 8 1/2 feet in height and 5 feet wide, built with cut sandstone and having a semicircular band and groove as an ornament along it. In the north sidewall of the chapel is the doorway communicating with the private apartments by a wall running parallel to the chapel and which hall is 22 1/2 feet in length, 4 1/4 feet wide and 7 feet high. In this hall are four doorways, viz., the one to the chapel, another now closed and which communicated with the dormitories on the first floor by a circular stone staircase; the third doorway opened into the cloisters and the fourth into the private apartments on the ground floor. Along the north sidewall of the chapel on the outside for half its length is a projecting ridge with square recesses at intervals for supporting the wooden framework of the cloisters. The fourth door-way is moulded with cut sandstone and has three arches, two being semicircular and one pointed and it communicates with the two apartments on the ground floor.
The first apartment is 18 ¼ feet in length from north to south, and 10 ½ feet in width from east to west and in the west wall is a cupboard 2 feet from the ground and which is 20 inches high, 28 inches wide, and 18 inches deep. In the room are three sandstone steps to a recess in the east wall extending to the roof and which was a modern doorway and near this as a smaller cupboard. The roof is arched and is formed by the inclination of the north and south sidewalls which unite and the moulding of the doorway is in line with the inclining walls; and the height of the arched roof at the centre of the apartment is 9 1/2 feet. In the north wall are two openings close together of which one is closed and the other forms the only means of access to the second apartment. These openings were used as the serving windows for the larger apartment or refectory which is 35 feet in length and 17 1/4 feet wide and has two doors, the one in the north and the other in the west wall, and also a window in the east wall, all of which are closed, and near the window is a small cupboard. The window appears to be perfect and with a wide splay and shows a very thick wall. Along the top of the splay it is finished with nicely trimmed sandstone and has a beautiful semicircular curve to the inside of the room diminishing as it approaches the window, near to which it runs into a groove. At the centre of the north wall is a large doorway extending to the roof of the apartment.
The east and west walls are built with dressed sandstone in regular courses with closely fitting joints and curve slightly inwards to the spring of the arched roof which is lofty and was built with rougher stones. The arched roof of this long apartment runs north and south which is in the opposite direction to the smaller room, and the room itself suggests the appearance of a long arched tunnel when lighted dimly. It is probable that the first apartment was the kitchen, the larger apartment the refectory or dining hall, but there is no trace of a cell, a locutory or parlour. The stairway is lighted with two narrow and irregular window shaped openings and in the dormitory were nine windows four in each sidewall, and one in the north gable. The dormitory was divided into separate chambers, each lighted by a window. At the north-west angle of the building are traces of a small square tower or belfry, and at the same place in the dormitory is the appearance of a separate chamber probably for the Guardian, or it may have been used as a guest chamber. There is no tradition concerning the number of Friars residing on the premises, but there seems to have been accommodation for at least the Guardian and nine Friars. The length of the whole building, including the east gable of the chapel and the mortuary chapel from north to south and along the east side wall is 125 feet. The side chapel has been altered and roofed and was used as the mortuary chapel and vault of the Antrim family; and its plain tiled floor forms the arched roof of the vault. Its south gable, surmounted by stone cross, has inserted on the outside a square stone with the following inscription in raised Roman capitals of which the first half is now defaced –
In Dei Dci Matrisque Virginis honorem
Nobilissimus et illustrissimus
Randulphus Mac Donell
Comes de Antrim
Hoc sacellum fieri curavit
Anno Dom 1621.
There is a small detached building about 21 yards east of the north gable of the private apartments which contained two rooms, a tower and an upper one. The latter was the size of the building and was lighted by a window in the south gable and had a fireplace in the north gable. There was no fireplace in the apartment on the ground floor, but in the sidewalls opposite each other are two closed spaces which appear to have been doorways. The building must have served the purpose of an almonry, gate, and porter's lodge. The almonry was the place where on certain days, the almoner distributed alms to the sick and the poor. The gate was the only entrance to the grounds and was through the lower room; and the upper room was the porter's residence. The porter resided at the gate and only entered the apartments of the Friars when conveying messages to the Guardian. He was usually of middle age and the founder of a monastery generally reserved the right of nomination to the office.
The MacNaghten mounment is greatly defaced and was made of dark red sandstone with a flat arch on which rested the frieze containing the inscription in incised Roman capitals and rising from the centre of the frieze was a gablette. At each end was a pilaster terminating with a slight moulding and the one on the left still remaining has a small incised crosslet fitchee in line with the inscription on the frieze and it is probable that the other pilaster bore a similar crosslet. Crosslets were the favourite device in heraldry for marking early cadency and in this case it was taken from the MacDonnell arms, as John MacNaghten was cousin to Sir Randal MacDonnell, first Earl of Antrim, and acted as his agent. It is supposed that the cross terminating in a point or fitchee was introduced by the Cursaders into heraldry, as the Christians usually placed their wooden crosses with pointed ends into the ground when praying to God. The following was the inscription on the monument -" Here Lyeth the Bodie of Jhn Macnaghten first secretaire to the first Earle of Antrim who departed this Life in the yeare of our Lord God 1630."
On the outside of the east window in the chapel, where the moulding terminates at the spring, are inserted two carved stones. The one on the north side has a female head with cap, and an interlaced square forming a central cross. The other on the south side has a male head with cap and coverlet over the ears, and also an interlaced knot ending in expanding leaves so designed as to form a cross ornament. On the next course above these ornaments are inserted two stones with raised carving; the one on the north side has an interlaced plant with square leaves the stem touching the point of an animal's nose with an inter-laced tail. The other has an almost similar design but the plant does not touch the animal and its tail is not interlaced. These stones are broken and several centuries older than the Friary, and were inserted for preservation at the time when this window replaced a larger one erected about the year 1621 at the expense of Alice, first Countess of Antrim. Each of these stones appears to have been part of the broken shaft of a tall carved cross and the sculpture is characteristic of early Celtic art.
The Friary was desecrated by the English during one of their military expeditions against the Scots. On the 2nd of January, 1584, Sir William Stanley with a force arrived at Bunnamargie and found a small force consisting of 47 foot soldiers under Captain Carleill and some horsemen under Captain Warrens and he arranged for the two Companies to encamp near the Friary while the horsemen with their horses were placed in the chapel. On that night Donnell Gorm MacDonnell with a small force, including six horsemen, suddenly attacked the English where they were encamped and with lighted wads on their staves set the thatched roof of the chapel on fire. The skirmish lasted for about an hour, during which several of the English soldiers were killed and others wounded by the Scottish arrows, and there were also seven horses and hackneys burned in the chapel. The Scottish force withdrew after a partial success as they were not of sufficient strength to defeat their enemy and so won a complete victory.
The Rev. Patrick Hegerty, a Franciscan and Superior of the Mission in the Scottish Isles, wrote two letters from Bunnamairge, dated October 31st, 1639, and December 4th, 1640, and in one of these he described the confirming and conversion of 700 Scotsmen and their reception of Holy Communion at the Friary. The Most Rev Bonaventure Magennis, D.D., a Franciscan, and nephew of Lord Magennis of Rathfriland and a relative of the Earl of Antrim, appointed to the See of Down and Conner on April 9th, 1630, and who died On April 24th, 1640, was the Bishop who confirmed on this occasion. The Countess of Antrim resided for some time in the Friary, as she wrote a letter dated "Bunnamargie, May 1661" and signed it "Ellis Antrim."
An oak chest containing four illuminated manuscripts was found in 1822, either in the chimney of the porter lodge or at the oratory when it was being repaired. One of these manuscripts contained 600 pages quarto on vellum, written in Latin, with illuminated capitals and formed part of a theological work by St. Thomas Aquinas. It was left for inspection at the "News-Letter" office in Belfast and was described by that journal as follows –" The ink is intensely black, excepting only in the initial letters of sections or chapters, which are a clear and vivid red. The handwriting is regular, correct, and elegant, though abounding with contractions, such as were used by the clerks of the Middle Ages. The manuscript seems to have been perfected by three distinct persons, each of whom had transcribed a portion of the work. It appears from some dates which it contains that the copyists of this theological treatise commenced their labours in the year 1338 and terminated them in the year 1340. From a passage at the end of the book, we learn that it had belonged to the Monastery of St. Anthony of Delestmon -' Iste liber est Monasterii sancti Antonii Delestmonii.' It is certainly the finest specimen of penmanship which we hare ever seen, and the ink is superior in brilliancy to any at present manufactured in Europe."
Another of these manuscripts was in the possession of the late General Boyd, but it is now deposited in the British Museum. This manuscript is closely written on eighteen leaves of vellum or thirty-five pages, two columns on each page, the thirty-sixth page being blank, with illuminated capitals from one to three on every page. It is a translation in the English of the fourteenth or early part of the fifteenth century of portions of Cardinal Bonaventura's Life of Christ. The following paragraph on the fifteenth page illustrates the orthography used by the translator: - "Our Lord Jsus Crist all the while he henge yn the crosse, yn to the tyme that he gaf up the spirit: he was nevere ydell but spak and taught helpfull thynges for us; ffor he sayde sevene wordys which we fynde yn the gospel." in the second column of the fifth page is the following: - "Ffurthemore he comaundid hem to kepe wel hise comaundementys yn alle thyngis, and sayde to hem gif ye louith me kepith my comaundementis. And moo other thyngis he sayde to hem there of (p) as it foleweth yn the text." On the second column of the fourth page is the following reference to St. Austin's writings : -" Oure Lord wolde not telle ho that shulde betraye hym, for as Seynt Austyn seith, gif Peter hadde guyst whiche he hadde y been a noon fereuntliche he wolde have dasshid him yn the teeth. Of the apperynges to c/v hretheren the apostle writeth therof. And all the apperynges, buth y wrete yn the Gospel. Arid furthermore thou most well bethynke, and sooth it is that oure -blyssid lord oftetyme visited his moder, and hise disciples, and Mawdeleyne, comfortynge hem which were fereuntlicke sory of his passioun." In the document are mentioned a letter addressed to "Joseph of Aramathea," one of St. Austin's sermons, and Saint Gregory's writings. The following passage in red ink occurs on the first column of the thirtieth page and fifteen lines down the page "Expliat liber Aureus de paffione et refurrecaone dui dominum Bonaventuram Cardinalem anus anime fficietur deus." At the end of the manuscript and in a different hand is the following entry -" A history of the blessed scriptures" and the name " George Theaker" is attached. It is quite possible that he was the owner of the manuscript, but not the author of the translation.
The art of caligraphy was greatly esteemed during the early and the Middle Ages, and the illuminated manuscripts executed by Irish monks have never been surpassed for their exquisite beauty. The miniature paintings on many of these manuscripts are characteristic of Irish art, and which, like the race itself, has an Eastern origin, was never influenced by the art of any other country or school; and although it may be rude in style and without showing any knowledge of perspective, the work is highly fantastic in the scheme of decoration and design. The parchments were usually thick, horny and dirty, but sometimes polished: and were the skins of goats, sheep, and calves. The red ink was mixed with a thick varnish which preserved it from fading, and the other colours were sometimes applied in a thin and fluid state, or sometimes they had a thick body containing a binding material. The penmanship was either in the round hand or in the running hand form, and their pens were made from the quills of swans, geese, crows, and other birds.
There is a tradition that during part of the seventeenth century Julia MacQuillin known as the Black Nun of Bunnamairge lived in the Friary for a number of years. Robert Stewart, of Ballycastle, about the year 1810 wrote the following description of the Nun to the Rev. Dr. Drummond :-" She lived in the most austere manner, and in the constant exercise of devotion. Independent of a just notion of revealed religion, she appears to have possessed a wonderful knowledge of future events, and to have been enlightened by a ray of intellect more than human. Her predictions often bore the appearance of improbability, and were by many, considered as the wanderings of an enthusiastic mind. Some of them, however, have been verified. Rigid in her idea of religious duty, she regarded every deviation from it as unpardonable. Tradition says the nun had a sister whom she had occasion to blame for some impropriety of conduct, and though the offender had shown ample contrition, the recluse would not he satisfied. It happened, however, that the penitent had occasion, one wintry night, to beg shelter from her sister, who could not, from Christian motives, deny her request, but determined, rather than abide under the same roof, to pay her accustomed devotions in the open air. After remaining some hours at prayer, the devout woman looked towards the cell, and saw a most brilliant light. Struck with amazement, knowing that neither fire nor taper had burned there for many months, she approached the bed, on which her sister lay, but only in time to hear her sigh out her last breath in praises to her Redeemer. The light had vanished; the recluse considered it as the sign of Heaven's forgiveness to her sister, and learned thenceforward to be more indulgent to human frailty." It was her dying request to be buried near to the entrance to the chapel so that all those entering for worship should tread on her grave as a token of her humility and contriteness of spirit. A stone cross pierced with a circular hole is supposed to mark her grave which is close to the foundation of the west gable of the chapel.
She predicted that without any sign of warning the mountain of Knocklayd would burst, the surrounding country become flooded and everything destroyed for a distance of seven miles around the mountain. She also stated that two standing stones about five miles apart, the one at Carnduff and the other at Barnish would become united and this prophecy was fulfilled on their removal during the erection of the old harbour where they were placed alongside each other in one of the piers. Another of her predictions was that the first intimation the people of Ballycastle would receive that Ireland had become an independent nation was the arrival of a ship into the bay with her sails on fire which has yet to be fulfilled.
There is a tradition that the Friars before leaving the Friary concealed a number of valuable articles belonging to the Friary at the most distant point to where the light of a candle reaches when placed in the east window of the chapel.
The following headstones in the graveyard have on each, a coat of arms carved -Daniel Millar, 1788, crest and arms; Arthur Ker, 1738, arms and motto, but no crest; James Hunter, 1888, crest, arms and motto; Alexander McDonnell, 1764, full arms, including supporters and crest. He was a stone carver and this monument is from his chisel. He placed the arms belonging to the Antrim peerage on the stone instead of the arms borne by the clan. There are at least two headstones from his chisel which can he identified and they are both in Ramoan old graveyard. They are excellent examples of his skill as a sculptor and are as follows -Francis Boyd, of Chatham Hall, who died on 3rd January, 1788 aged 66 years; and Archibald McCambridge, who died on September 15th, 1784, aged 47 years. The last headstone to be noticed is that of Daniel McKay, 1716, with full arms and crest without motto placed on the back of the stone.
Where Dubh ni Valone, with prophetic eye,
Glimpsed on thy visions, dark futurity!
At Bona Margy's roofless mouldering pile
The pensive muse shall sadly pause awhile
'Mid gloomy vaults and monumental stones
The frail memento of their heroes' bones;
She stoops, the changeful retrospect to trace
That shrouds the mighty Dalriadan race.
While fancy's eye, from many a heaving mound,
Sees deathless warriors from oblivion bound -
Sees Sourlebuoy, on Aura’s blood-drenched height,
Recoil, and rally with resistless might.
Lift high the brand his foes had feared to feel,
And hurl, onimpotent, the storm of steel!"
The crumbling walls of this ancient religious edifice surrounded by many neglected graves recall to one's thoughts the following expressive lines on the shortness of life itself by a writer who understood its real meaning ,and its solemnity " I shall pass through this world" he writes, "but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." In some of the Continental countries during the early ages it was the usual custom for the founders to select sites for the dwellings of the oldest Monastic Orders on some elevated position or on some of the mountains where mostly undisturbed by the mundane affairs of the world the monks could devote their whole attention to preparation for the future life in Heaven itself. But in Ireland there was no such trend in the ideas of the founders, as churches were erected to suit the distribution of the population at the time, and more secluded places were selected for Monastic houses. This old Friary and religious fane. although now ruined and neglected and around which are entwined the faint memories of some local historic events, should be kept in repair as the memento of a place hallowed by the sacred association of the religious worship of former generations from whom some of the people in the locality are probably descended.
" By the shore, a plot of ground
Clasps a ruin'd chapel round,
Buttress'd with a grassy mound;
Where Day and Night and Day go by
And bring no touch of human sound.
Washing of the lonely seas,
Shaking of the guardian trees
Piping of the salted breeze;
Day and Night and Day go by
To the endless tune of these."