This is a typical section of the path which circuits the two drumlins on Black Island. In the 18th, 19th and early 20th century this path, and others like it all over Dartrey, were used by walkers, horse riders and even horse-drawn carriages to enjoy this glorious piece of Irish countryside with its pattern of fish-filled lakes, islands and drumlins covered “with the most beautiful delicious woods”. The Rhododendrons they planted beside the paths would be blooming at various times between February and August (depending on variety). And beyond the flowers, walkers would have glimpses of the lakes through the (mainly broadleaf) trees. Today the dense dark unrelenting crop of conifers which the foresters (Coillte) currently plant leave little open ground for beasts to feed or man to take a distant view.
Happily the views of the Dartrey Heritage Association Link
, the Georgian Society Link
and others are now being heard by Coillte. The hope is that plans for future commercial tree planting on Dartrey and the maintenance of the estate will be adjusted to allow for both local and distant human interests, so that once again people will be encouraged to access and enjoy this historic jewel in the Cootehill environment. See H6117 : Inner Lough island and the history of the Dartrey estate H6015 H6116 H6016 H6017
Here is part of a description of Dartrey in the 18th century:
“A thousand acres of lake, three hundred of which flows within a few yards of the house, with hills on each side covered with the most beautiful delicious woods, bring all fairyland to one’s imagination. On the other side of the lake (Inner Lough) is a large island (Black Island), wonderfully shaded on all its sides but with a bald pate (of open ground) on the top, giving a very pleasing and uncommon effect. Beyond that are woods that lose themselves in the clouds. People who are not used to lakes cannot conceive into what delightful forms they throw themcelves, and how much the little islands, here and there interspersed, which contain one or two trees, add to their beauty”.
From the diary of Rev J Burrows for 22 July 1773