© 2016 Tyrrellspass Development Association
Caesar Otway in his Tours of Connaught (May 18, 1839) says:
‘Immediately in front was the pretty hill and dale country of Tyrrell’s-pass (sic), which is ornamented with much natural oak wood, and improved by hedge-row planting – presenting in the variety of its surface, and in the number of its gentlemen’s residences, a country not unlike some parts of Shropshire. Northward you could see that beautiful oval expanse of water, Lough Ennel, with the narrow Brusna flowing forth and sweeping its tortuous way towards Kilbeggan… I would not desire or expect to meet a much prettier village in England than Tyrrells’-pass – woodcrowned hills – dry gravel roads – neat whitewashed cottages – comfortable and well-dressed gentlemen’s demesnes – a very pretty new church and steeple – these all meet the eye in and about Tyrrell’s-pass; but all these interested me not so much as the old castle that stands a little way westward of the village, and which, placed at the extremity of a line of gravel hills, that rise out of large bogs which skirt it on either side, guards the only passable road leading towards Athlone.’
In A Chorographical Description of Co Westmeath (ca 1786) (first published in ‘Collectanae de Rebus Hibernicus’ Vol 1 by Major Charles Vallancey), Sir Henry Piers described Westmeath as ‘the garden of Ireland’ and as being ‘seated on the summit or ridge of Ireland’ and that its inhabitants live more scattered in small villages’. He laments the havoc that was wrecked on its woods by iron-works and at the time he visited he said it was ‘well stored with copses or underwoods, the poor remains of our ancient forests’.
Its principal commodities are corn of all kinds, hides, tallow, flax, hemp, cheese, butter wool, wool-felts, honey, wax, etc.’