IELTS Academic Reading Sample 77 – A leap into history


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40, which are based on Reading Passage below.

A leap into history

A. Between the Inishowen peninsula, north-west of Derry, and the Glens of Antrim, in the east beyond the Sperrin Mountains, are found some of Western Europe’s most captivating and alluring landscape.

B. The Roe Valley Park, some 15 miles east of Derry is a prime example. The Park, like so many Celtic places, is steeped in history and legend. As the Roe trickles down through heather bogs in the Sperrin Mountains to the South, it is a river by the time it cuts through what was once called the ‘garden of the soul’ – in Celtic ‘Gortenanima’.

C. The castle of O’Cahan once stood here and a number of houses which made up the town of Limavady. The town takes its name from the legend of a dog leaping into the river Roe carrying a message, or perhaps chasing a stag. This is a wonderful place, where the water traces its way through rock and woodland; at times, lingering in brooding pools of dark cool water under the shade of summer trees, and, at others, forming weirs and leads for water mills now long gone.

D. The Roe, like all rivers, is witness to history and change. To Mullagh Hill, on the west bank of the River Roe just outside the present-day town of Limavady, St Columba came in 575 AD for the Convention of Drumceatt. The world is probably unaware that it knows something of Limavady; but the town is, in fact, renowned for Jane Ross’s song Danny Boy, written to a tune once played by a tramp in the street. Limavady town itself and many of the surrounding villages have Celtic roots but no one knows for sure just how old the original settlement of Limavady is.

E. Some 30 miles along the coast road from Limavady, one comes upon the forlorn, but the imposing ruin of Dunluce Castle, which stands on a soft basalt outcrop, in defiance of the turbulent Atlantic lashing it on all sides. The jagged-toothed ruins sit proudly on their rock top commanding the coastline to east and west. The only connection to the mainland is by a narrow bridge. Until the kitchen court fell into the sea in 1639 killing several servants, the castle was fully inhabited. In the next hundred years so, the
structure gradually fell into its present dramatic state of disrepair, stripped of its roofs by wind and weather, and robbed by a man of its carved stonework. Ruined and forlorn its aspect may be yet, in the haunting Celtic twilight of the long summer evenings, it is redolent of another age, another dream.

F. A mile or so to the east of the castle lies Port na Spanish, where the Neapolitan Galleas, Girona, from the Spanish Armada went down one dark October night in 1588 on its way to Scotland. Of the1500-odd men on board, nine survived.

G. Even further to the east is the Giant’s Causeway stunning coastline with strangely symmetrical columns of dark basalt – a beautiful geological wonder. Someone once said of the Causeway that it was worth seeing, but not worth going to see. That was in the days of horses and carriages when travelling was difficult. But it is certainly well worth a visit. The last lingering moments of the twilight hours are the best time to savour the full power of the coastline’s magic; the time when the place comes into its own. The tourists are gone and if you are very lucky you will be alone. A fine circular walk will take you down to the Grand Causeway, past amphitheatres of stone columns and formations. It is not frightening, but there is a power in the place – tangible, yet inexplicable. The
blackness of some nights conjures up feelings of eeriness and unease. The visitor realizes his place in the scheme of the magnificent spectacle. Once experienced, it is impossible to forget the grandeur of the landscape.

H. Beyond the Causeway, connecting the mainland with an outcrop of rock jutting out of the turbulent Atlantic, is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. When first constructed, the bridge was a simple rope handrail with widely spaced slats which was used mainly by salmon fishermen needing to travel from the island to the mainland. In time, the single handrail was replaced with a more sturdy caged bridge however, it is still not a crossing for the faint-hearted. The Bridge swings above a chasm of rushing, foaming water that seems to drag the unwary down, and away. Many visitors who make the walk one way are unable to return resulting in them being taken off the island by boat.

Questions 28-32

Look at the following list of places (Questions 28-32) from paragraphs A-E of reading passage 3 and their locations on the map.

Match each place with its location on the map

28. The Sperrin Mountains

29. Dunluce Castle

30. Inishowen

31. The Glens of Antrim

Questions 33-38

Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 3?

YES, if the statement agrees with the information in the passage

NO, if the statement contradicts the information in the passage

NOT GIVEN, if there is no information about the statement in the passage

33. After 1639 the castle of Dunluce was not completely uninhabited.

34. For the author, Dunluce Castle evokes another period of history.

35. There were more than 1500 men on the Girona when it went down.

36. The writer believes that the Giant’s Causeway is worth going to visit.

37. The author recommends twilight as the best time to visit the Giant’s Causeway.

38. The more sturdy cage added to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge has helped to increase the number of visitors to the area.

Questions 39 and 40

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

39. The writer feels that the Giant’s Causeway is

A. an unsettling place

B. a relaxing place

C. a boring place

D. an exciting place

40. Which of the following would be a good title for the passage?

A. The Roe Valley Park

B. The Giant’s Causeway

C. Going East to West

D. A leap into history


Questions 28-32

28. E

29. C

30. A

31. D

32. B

Questions 33-38

33. Not given.

34. YES. It says in the passage, ‘Ruined and forlorn its aspect may­be yet, in the haunting Celtic twilight of the long summer evenings, it is redolent of another age, another dream.’

35. YES. It says in the passage, ‘Girona, from the Spanish Armada went down one dark October night in 1588 on its way to Scotland, of the 1500-odd men on board, nine survived.’

36. YES. It says in the passage, ‘But it is certainly well worth a visit.’

37. YES. It says in the passage, ‘The last lingering moments of the twilight hours are the best lime.’


Questions 39-40

39. A

40. D.