Visiting Lady Baltimore By Margaret...

A MEMORABLE PLACE

April 07, 2002

A MEMORABLE PLACE

Visiting Lady Baltimore

By Margaret Doyle

SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Do you know," asked the parish priest in Arva, "the place here in Ireland your Baltimore is named for?"

He cut short our reply about the fishing village on the southern coast.

"No, no, no. Your Baltimore is named for the estates of Lady Baltimore, not far from where you are standing now. Your city sent us a statue to prove it. I'll tell you what you must do."

As he warmed to his task of giving us directions, his attitude became mischievous.

"And when you get to the statue, and a lovely one it is, you'll find it in a field. And if there are cows in that field" -- now he could hardly control his laughter -- "you must open the gate to let the cows out. Then you must take a photo to send to your newspaper!"

The next morning, following the priest's directions (which ended with a "stop at the grocer's in Newton-Forbes -- they'll be glad to put you on the right road"), we found the statue sitting alongside the seldom-traveled farm track that had once led to Lady Baltimore's lodge.

This land has for centuries been called Baille Tighe Mor, the town of the big house. When pronounced in the Irish it sounded like our hometown to us.

This is not a statue of either of Lord Baltimore's wives. The lady's head is crowned with symbolic walls. She is Baltimore herself, surrounded by emblems of urban life -- an anchor, a caduceus, an anvil, a regulator and a gear cog. A tiny terrapin scoots alongside. The lady cradles a sledgehammer with her right arm. Her left hand rests on a shield.

Many Baltimoreans will recognize the statue. She was one of a set of four that stood until the late 1950s at each end of the bridge spanning the Jones Falls on St. Paul Street near Pennsylvania Station. Designed more than 100 years ago by Herman Henning, two of her sisters stand on the grounds of the Cylburn Arboretum and another on Mount Royal above North Avenue.

To visit the one in Ireland, head toward Sligo from Longford Town. Go one mile past Newton-Forbes. Turn right on the road that says Arva and Drumlish. Cross the little bridge and bear left. Continue half a mile, passing a cluster of houses on your left. Turn left. Go to the end of the road, about 2 1/2 miles. Make a final right turn and go about 100 yards to the statue, located in the town of Cloonageeher, County Longford.

Mind the thorns on the blackberry bushes as you get out of the car. And don't let out any cows.

Margaret Doyle lives in Baltimore.

MY BEST SHOT

God of the sea

By Stephen DeCubellis, Laurel

This is il Gigante -- the Giant -- a 46-foot-high statue of Neptune built in 1910. It watches over the water at the west end of Monterosso, on northern Italy's rocky west coast. This is one of five villages along the coast in which you can either hike or take a train to see great views.

READERS RECOMMEND

Landau Island, China

Betty Crovo, Timonium

"On a recent trip to China, my group went to see the world's largest sitting Buddha on the island of Landau. We stopped at a small fishing village, where I met a beautiful lady (pictured) who is one of the oldest in the village. The beaches were perfect, the landscapes pristine. The Buddha statue was an incredible sight. I came back with fabulous memories of how gentle these villagers were to us."

Round Pond, Maine

Mary Louise Faunce, Churchton

"Our family takes an annual vacation in Maine. At the harbor village of Round Pond at Muscongus Bay Lobster Co-op, you can get clams, corn and lobsters cooked to order. You bring the salad, wine and sodas, checkerboard, kids and family dog. The scenery is free, compliments of the coast that spawns hundreds of thousands of pounds of luscious lobsters each year."

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