Arthur Young, the 18th century English agricultural journalist visited Killarney in september 1776. In describing a boat trip on the lake, he recounted that he passed
''near to the wood of Glena, which here takes on the appearance of one immense sweep hanging in the most beautiful manner imaginable. It is one deep mass of wood, composed of the richest shades perfectly dipping in the water… Glena woods having more Oak, and some Arbutus's are the finer and deeper shades; Tomys (todays Tomies wood) has a great quantity of Birch, whose foliage is not so luxuriant. These woods fill an unbroken extent of six miles in length, and from half a mile to a mile and a half in breadth, all hanging on the sides of two vast mountains and coming down with a full robe of luxuriance to the very water's edge''.
But Young also chronicled the destruction of the woodlands which was going on at that time. In describing Derrycunnihy woodlands at the head of the Upper Lake, Young wrote
''came to Derrycurrily (sic), which is a great sweep of mountain covered in a very noble manner, but part cut down, and the rest inhabited by coopers, boat builders, carpenters and turners, a sacrilegious tribe, who have turned the Dryades from their ancient habitations.''
In 1807, Isaac Weld wrote that it was
''not long since all these mountains were clothed down to the waters edge with oaks of large growth; most of these venerable trees, however, have fallen to the axe which has been busily plied year after year. The destruction of these forests is principally attributable to the manufacture of iron - a business once carried on with great spirit in various parts of the county and for which an abundant supply of charcoal was required. As fuel became scarce, the iron works declined, and at last they were totally abandoned. The woods are now cut for other purposes, as timber in this country is becoming extremely valuable, in consequence of the prodigal use that was formerly made of it.''