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The delicate handling and muted colours of this composition are typical features of the small, highly finished landscapes for which Ibbetson was renowned. Kegs of smuggled liquor are being unloaded from the ferry boat moored in the rocky inlet. The illicit goods appear to be eagerly awaited by a crowd of lively figures conversing and carousing in the foreground.
The title of the picture is traditional and there is no record that Ibbetson visited Ireland. It was painted after the artist's return to Yorkshire, the county of his birth, after many years touring Great Britain in search of picturesque scenery.

August 2004