Five O’Clock Tea at the Dargle

Allen Mustard has sent in some information on his ancestor, Thomas James Mustard (1826 – 1902), who lived at Dargle Gate Lodge, Cookstown Enniskerry, taking payments for entering into the Dargle Glen. He had served in the RIC, and his son was born in the married quarters of the Barracks at Enniskerry.

Thomas James Mustard

The Dargle Glen was a very popular tourist destination at this time. One visitor was the poet Alice Furlong, who wrote two poems after visiting the Dargle. The first, In the Dargle, begins

By leaning fern and mossy stone
The river singeth all alone
A musical sweet monotone.

Within its lucent canopies;
The sunbeam broodeth dreamy-wise
Like to a smile in girlhood’s eyes.

Athwart the amber and the snow
Of quiet pools ‘twixt flow and flow,
The quiet birds flit to and fro.

The poem continues on a rather depressing note.

A second poem, much happier in tone is Five O’Clock Tea at the Dargle, which mentions Mustard and describes the jaunting car ride to Wicklow and Enniskerry, and is reproduced below. If you have any more information on the tea rooms at the Dargle, or anything about the Mustard family in the area, Allen would be delighted to hear from you.

Harp, long disused and out of tune!
Assist us to remember
This sunny, breezy afternoon,
This second of September,
Nineteen-nought-one, when two fair dames.
An old man and a younger,
First having satisfied the claims
Of Nature’s noontide hunger,
We issue from the postern-gate
Of sylvan Villa Nova,
Sweet haunt of song, yet rhyming mate
it hath not, save Jehovah!
We speed on nimble jaunting-car
Through sunshine and no showers
Towards where the Sugar-loaf afar
O’er Wicklow valleys towers;
Past Linden when the sun is high,
Past Leopardstown, Stillorgan -
For city smoke the bright blue sky,
The birds for barrel-organ.

By quiet rural roads we glide
Past Stepaside, Kilgobbin,
‘Twixt hedges tall and thick that hide
The home of many a robin.
In purest air, no dust, no glare,
We four, sedately merry,
Whirl through the Scalp, that tiny Alp.
And skirt fair Enniskerry.
Alighting soon, we leave the road
For forest-shaded byway;
Our car will find again its load
By driving round the highway,
While we pursue our grassy way
Through glorious maze of greenery.

Oh! could I worthy tribute pay

To such enchanting scenery!
A mighty fissure’s rugged sides
Are oft austere, unsightly -
Rich verdure here all harshness hides,
Wild flowers from clefts gleam brightly.
Far down in leafy depths below,
Winds noisily the Dargle,
In whose pure wave the linnets lave,
Their throats the thrushes gargle.
And can it be yon slender stream
Has scooped this magic valley ?

But, though ’twere sweet to gaze and dream,
We must no longer dally.
Nature for some refreshment calls:
Lo ! yonder stands old Mustard
Beside his whitewashed cottage walls
With roses thickly clustered.
Between the porch and hedge is spread
A white-naped wooden table,
Whereon is served no common bread
But fairy feast of fable:
Hot scones, delicious jam, hot tea,
And dainty pats of yellow -
Could cream more like to nectar be ?

Could butter taste more mellow ?

We home return another way,
Like to the Eastern Magi,
While I of our grand Dargle “tay”
This monument
exegi.
Would that my strain were half as sweet
As is my theme so bonnie!
With love I lay it at the feet
Of my grandnephew, Johnnie.

Download PDF of poem

Source

Matthew Russell, Poets I have Known: VIII: Alice Furlong, The Irish Monthly, Vol. 36, No. 421 (Jul., 1908), pp. 389-398