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CHAPTER XXXIV.

VOYAGE FROM LIVERPOOL TO BANGOR.

BANGOR is distant from Liverpool about 64 miles, and the voyage is usually performed in from six to seven hours. During the summer months steam-vessels ply daily between these two ports, taking in or landing passengers at the Menai Bridge, Garth Ferry, and Beaumaris.

Leaving Bangor the scene is very pleasing. To the right is seen the city of Bangor, sheltered nearly on all sides by the mountains of Caernarvonshire; and a little beyond, Port Penhryn, with its numerous vessels, and Penhryn Castle. To the left Baron Hill and the castle and town of Beaumaris are visible. A few miles from Beaumaris the vessel passes a lighthouse which has been very recently erected, called Black Point Lighthouse: it was near this spot that the melancholy wreck of the Rothsay Castle steamer occurred, on the night of the 17th of August, 1831, upon which occasion upwards of 100 lives were lost.

Immediately beyond this lighthouse is

PRIESTHOLME OR PUFFIN ISLAND. *

On all sides, except that towards Anglesey, it presents to the view steep and inaccessible rocks, inhabited only by various species of sea-fowl. Its interior affords feed for a few sheep. Near the middle of the island there is an old square tower, (supposed to have once been an appurtenant to the monastery of Penmon,) around which there is a considerable quantity of rubbish and stones, the remains of other buildings. There is a telegraphic communication established between Liverpool and Holyhead via Orme's Head and this island. The man who has the care of the telegraph on Puffin Island lives there with his family; but with this single exception it is uninhabited. On the island is an upright stone with the following inscription :

of Priestholme,

* All the places mentioned in this chapter, with the have been described in the earlier parts of this book.

Bare. Stout belonging to the

Sally died in the small pox Novr

ye

3d 1767. N.B. The ship was cast

away here.

It is called by the Welsh Yns Seiriol, Seiriol's Island.* This people have a tradition respecting Priestholme, that when what are now the Lavan Sands formed a habitable part of Caernarvonshire, their ancestors had a communication from hence across the channel by means of a bridge; and they even yet pretend to shew the remains of an ancient causeway, which they say was made from this place to the foot of Penmaen Bach, for the convenience of the devotees who made pilgrimages to the island. It is at present the property of Sir Richard B. Williams.

Puffinst in their habits and manners greatly resemble the Penguins of the tropical climates. Their legs are placed so far back that they walk with their heads in nearly an upright position. They are birds of passage, and usually arrive in the beginning of April, and remain until about the 11th

* Seiriol was the son of Owen Danwyn, the son of Eineon Urdd, who chose this as a place of retreat from the world. He is believed to have built a chapel here about the year 630, and some have supposed the present tower to be the remains of that building. This however cannot have been the case, as it is comparatively a modern erection.

+ Alea arctica of Linnæus.

PRIESTHOLME OR PUFFIN ISLAND.

319

of August. On their arrival they immediately take possession of the burrows in the crevices of the rocks, or on the sloping ground of the island; and those that come last, if they find all the holes occupied, form for themselves new ones. They have nearly expelled the rabbits by seizing on their burrows. They usually put together a few sticks and grass, and on this the female lays a single white egg, which is generally hatched in the beginning of July. The males and females are said to sit alternately, relieving each other at intervals for the purpose of procuring food. Both during incubation, and while attending on their young, they may without much difficulty be seized in their holes; but it is necessary to be somewhat careful in trusting the naked hand near their beaks, for they have the power of inflicting a most severe bite. The noise they make when with their young is a singular kind of humming, much resembling that produced by the large wheels used for spinning worsted. On being seized, they emit the noise with greater violence, and from its being interrupted by their struggling to escape, it sounds not much unlike the efforts of a dumb man to speak. The young ones are entirely covered with a long blackish down, and in shape are altogether so different from the parent birds, that no one would at first sight suppose them to be of the same species. Puffins do not breed till they are three years old; and they are said to change their bills annually. Their usual food is sprats and sea-weeds, which render the flesh of the old birds excessively rank. The young ones however are pickled for sale by the renters of the island, and form an article of traffic peculiar to this neighbourhood. The oil is extracted from them by a peculiar process, and the bones are taken out, after which the skin is closed round the flesh, and they are immersed in vinegar impregnated with spices.

On the Caernarvonshire coast, and opposite to Priest

holme, are Penmaen Mawr and Penmaen Bach, and on leaving Priestholme the extreme north-east point of Anglesey, called Linas Point, is visible.

The course of the vessel now lies close to the promontory of Great Orme's Head, (along part of the coast of which is a fine echo, which is sometimes elucidated by a man on board playing on a bugle,) and from thence in almost a direct line to the Rock Lighthouse, at the entrance of the river Mersey, passing at a distance the coasts of Denbighshire and Flintshire, and the mouth of the river Dee. This voyage in fine weather will be found throughout to be very agreeable and interesting.

CHAPTER XXXV.

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE WELSH-EISTEDD

VODAU AND MUSIC.

With respect to the habits of life and manners of the Welsh people, it is to be observed, that in those mountainous and secluded parts of Wales, such as the interior of Caernarvonshire, Merionethshire, and Denbighshire, they differ very essentially from what will be observed near any frequented road. The people in those parts seem to have an innocence and simplicity of character, unknown in the populous districts of our own country. Among these it is that we are to search for those original traits, and that native hospitality, so much the boast of the Welsh writers.

A rustic bashfulness and reserve seem to be general features in the character of the Welsh people; and strangers, unaccustomed to their manners, have often mistaken these for indications of sullenness. It is usual to say of them that they are very irascible. This may be the case ; but oftentimes, the natural rapidity of their expression in a language not understood has been construed into passion, without any other more certain grounds for so doing.

It has been repeatedly asserted of the Welsh people, that they are naturally inquisitive and curious respecting strangers, and this is certainly true, but it is a circumstance by no means peculiar to that country. In all wild and unfrequented parts of the world it is the same, and it is in such parts of Wales that this disposition is chiefly observable.

Y

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