I sailed from Aran yesterday and was overtaken by a storm which frightened me a good deal as being a bad swimmer. I examined and measured every single remain of the olden time on the (three) islands and left Mr. Wakeman to sketch them. I never met such a rich mine of pagan and primitive Christian monuments; and I would venture to assert that a philosophical antiquary would find there sufficient evidence to prove which of the two - the pagan or the Christian - built the round tower of Cill Einne. One fact astonishes me beyond measure that no military weapons are now found, or remembered ever to have been found on these islands, where there are such magnificent Cyclopean Castles. The only things found by the islanders when digging (which could at all be considered pagan) are bronze pins about six inches long. Has Mr. Petrie ever heard of any bronze hatchets being found near Dun Aengus?
I shall now finish Connamara and then
finish Aran next, and then be ready for the County of Kilkenny.
I find a church on Ara mor dedicated to St. Brecan. Is there any account of this in any of our old books. There are some notices of these islands in the (latter part of the) Annals of the Four Masters which I have not. I hope Mr. Curry will copy them for me from the original. One of them is to this effect: that two septs of the O'Flahertys fought more for the island of Aran than it was worth.
I wish you could send me a copy of Tara if (it be published.) Mr. Hardiman has a copy of St. Patrick's Irish hymn which differs a good deal from ours. I am most anxious to see how far they differ. I hope the name Books of Kilkenny will be soon ready.
Mention is made by Duald Mac Firbis of a family of the O'Tooles who removed from Leinster to Connamara.
I am anxious to discover the place. There are several of the name in this Co. but they believe that they are a branch of the O'Mailley's.
I have got no reference to the old Castle of Baile na hinse, though I am positive that it is mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters about the middle of the reign of Queen Elizabeth.