Jonathan Swift wrote parts of Gulliver’s Travels and The Tale Of The Tub whilst staying at the country home of his cleric friend Thomas Sheridan at Quilca House, which is close to the historic Mullagh village.
Swift was reputedly inspired by a local farmer, ‘Big Doughty’, when describing the Brobdingnagian giant in his book, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World [but according to a version by V R Wyse Jackson, in Swift And His Circle, 1945, Dublin, this Doughty was the prototype for Lemuel Gulliver].
Doughty was so large that he could hide a man being sought by a process server, under his coat, and he had once rescued a widow’s cow from the pound by lifting the animal over the wall. He had given Swift a demonstration of his strength by lifting a pony across a fence into another field.
More usually known as Gulliver’s Travels, the book was published in 1726, and as it is known to have taken more than six years to write.
To Quilca, a Country House not in Good Repair
By Jonathan Swift
Let me thy Properties explain,
A rotten Cabin, dropping Rain;
Chimnies with Scorn rejecting Smoak;
Stools, Tables, Chairs, and Bed-steds broke:
Here Elements have lost their Vses,
Air ripens not, nor Earth produces:
In vain we make poor Sheelah toil,
Fire will not roast, nor Water boil.
Thro’ all the Vallies, Hills, and Plains,
The Goddess Want in Triumph reigns;
And her chief Officers of State,
Sloth, Dirt, and Theft around her wait.