The reader of these pages should be told that, if strange things are recorded, it was because strange things were seen; and if strange things were seen which no other writer has written, it was because no other writer has visited the same places, under the same circumstances. No other writer ever explored mountain and glen for four years, with the same object in view; and though I have seen but the suburbs of what might be seen, were the same ground to be retraced, with the four years' experience for an handmaid, yet what is already recorded may appear altogether incongruous, if not impossible. And now, while looking at them calmly at a distance, they appear, even to myself, more like a dream than reality, because they appear out of common course, and out of the order of even nature itself. But they are realities, and many of them fearful ones—realities which none but eye-witnesses can understand, and none but those who passed through them can feel.

No pretensions to infallibility either in judgment or description are made—the work is imperfect because the writer is so—and no doubt there are facts recorded which might better have been left out. In such a confused mass of material, of such variety and such quality, I am not so vain as to suppose that the best has always been selected or recorded in the best way.

Read "Annals of the Famine in Ireland" at your leisure

Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Read Annals of the Famine in Ireland at your leisure and help support this free Irish library.

This book still has the power to shock and sadden even though the events described are ever-receding further into the past. When you read, for example, of the poor widowed mother who was caught trying to salvage a few potatoes from her landlord's field, and what the magistrate discovered in the pot in her cabin, you cannot help but be apalled and distressed.

The text of this new edition has professionally been reset and an index added to the paperback.