Sports of Children gone

The next day, a ride of eight miles took me to the house of Mr. Griffith; and here was a family made up of that kindness which the husband and father possessed. He occupied a spot among the honest poor indeed. We went over the bleak waste, to visit a romantic pile of cliff, upon the sea-coast, and on our way the laughing sport of children suddenly broke upon the ear, the first I had heard since the famine; it was from behind a little hillock, and the sound was mournfully pleasant. We hurried on to greet the joyous ones; and, unperceived, saw two little ragged girls, not wasted entirely by hunger, who had come out of a little dark cluster of stone cabins, and forgetting their sufferings, were playing as other children play. We saluted them, and told them to "play on, we are glad to see your sports." We spoke of the allusion of the prophet, when boys and girls are again "to be seen playing in the streets of Jerusalem," as a token of its happiness—a happiness which, until the famine of Ireland, I never valued enough, but now it is one of the brightest sunbeams that shine across my path. We at last reached one of the most fearful, sublime, and dangerous broken piles of rocks imaginable, tumbled together, and standing almost perpendicularly over the ocean. Deep and frightful caverns yawned between them, and how they came tumbled in this mass never has been made out; they appeared as if shaken together by some sudden crash, and stopped while in their wildest confusion, each seizing hold of its contiguous one to save it from falling. I was glad, quite glad to get away, for had my foot stumbled or slipped, some dark deep gulf might have placed me beyond help or hope. Ossian might have made his bed among these caves, when he says—

"As two dark streams from high, rocks meet and mix."

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.