Journal Volume 7 2013

The Glen of the Downs

A Guide to the County of Wicklow, Rev. G N Wright, 1822


At a distance of about three miles and a half from Bray is the entrance to the Glen of the Downs, so called from its opening into a country abounding in a species of fertile grounds usually called Downs; it is formed by two very abrupt hills of an elevation of twelve or thirteen hundred feet, clothed with wood from the lowest level of the glen to their summits. The distance between the two opposite sides of the glen is so small as only to admit a good carriage way, which runs along the margin of a little murmuring stream.


Small Glen of the DownsGlen of the Downs

Near the north entrance of the glen a small plot of ground has been reclaimed, and improved into a beautifully verdant lawn, at the remote extremity of which stands Mrs. Latouche’s Cottage, built with the best possible rustic taste: it contains a number of apartments; one on the ground-floor is appropriated to the purposes of a museum, and a second is used for a banqueting room, where Mrs. Latouche sometimes entertains her friends at luncheon. In front, the roof projecting considerably affords a covering to a rustic bench, standing on a flooring of fancy paved work, before which a little rivulet gurgles along in a most pleasing manner, and meanders through the lawn, until at last entering the surrounding groves, it is totally lost sight of. On the opposite side of the road a corresponding lawn is laid down, planted with many picturesque-formed and luxuriant trees; and on the summit of the hill, behind this little improved spot of ground, a few cottagers reside, whose chief support is derived from supplying parties from Dublin with accommodations, either in their cottages or on the green turf before them, to enjoy their cold collation. Driving through the glen, to the left, and on the summit of the hill above Mrs. Latouche’s Cottage, are seen the Banqueting-room and Octagon Temple, the situation of which cannot fail to excite the astonishment of the passengers in the glen below, for they appear ready to leave their aerial station, and mingle with the enormous masses of rock in the bottom of the vale, which themselves perhaps once occupied as elevated a situation.


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