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AVOCA, or Ovoca, VALE OF, a
mountain glen of county Wicklow, Ireland, in the south-eastern part of
the county, formed by the junction of the small rivers Avonmore and
Avonbeg, which, rising in the central highlands of the county, form with
their united waters the Ovoca river, flowing south and south-east to the
Irish Sea at Arklow. The vale would doubtless rank only as one among the
many beautiful glens of the district, but that it has obtained a lasting
celebrity through one of the Irish Melodies of the poet Thomas
Moore, in which its praises are sung. It is through this song that the
form "Avoca" is most familiar, although the name is locally spelt
"Ovoca." The glen is narrow and densely wooded. Its beauty is somewhat
marred by the presence of lead and copper mines, and by the main line of
the Dublin & South Eastern railway, on which Ovoca station, midway in
the vale, is 42¾ m. south of Dublin. Of the two "meetings of the waters"
(the upper, of the Avonmore and Avonbeg, and the lower, of the Aughrim
with the Ovoca) the upper, near the fine seat of Castle Howard, is that
which inspired the poet. At Avondale, above the upper "meeting," by the
Avonmore, Charles Stewart Parnell was born.
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