America's good fame

Mucrus Abbey is of itself enough for a book; but as so much has been said of it to the purpose, and as minute description of castles or abbeys is not the object of this journal, the reader will find elsewhere what could not have room in a work like this.

On my way to the cascade, I stopped at the gate of the lodge on the borders of the lake, and the keeper said I could not be allowed to enter on any conditions. "I am a stranger from New York," said I. "Come in, come in," was the response. She conducted me through, and pointed me to the best views upon the lake; and seeing a pier built out to an island, I followed, and found a delightfully fitted-up spot with caverns, sitting rooms, rustic seats, and walks. There was once an old castle built upon this rock, and caves were made by the wearing of the water in the rock on which the castle stood. Going to the dwelling upon the shore, men-servants and maid-servants came out to salute me, yet none asked me in, though welcome was given me to visit all the domain without any restriction. But America is all the theme by the laboring class of Ireland; glad was I, that, notwithstanding her abominable slavery, yet here is a little green spot, where I could rest and look my enemies in the face undaunted. The free states of my own country have ever been an asylum to the foreigner, and the reward of his labor has been given him. The ragged laborer has soon exchanged his tatters for decent apparel, the bare feet of the cabin girl have been covered, and the basket has been taken from the back of the peasant woman.

I would acknowledge with gratitude that, throughout the length and breadth of Ireland, the poor have required no letter of introduction, but the name of America. It has opened the gate of many a porter's lodge; it has shown me into many a prohibited pleasure ground, and given me many a potatoe or cup of milk in the cabin, when the aristocrat would have looked with suspicion on the letter of introduction from the best authority.

One of the servants was fitting for a voyage to Boston, and asked what she should most need to recommend her. I answered, cleanliness; that want of this could not be supplied by any qualification, however good, in New England.

Read "Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger" at your leisure

Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger

Read Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger at your leisure and help support this free Irish library.

This book cannot be recommended highly enough to those interested in Irish social history. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, travelled from her native America to assess the condition of the poor in Ireland during the mid 1840s. Her journey took her through the counties of Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, Tipperary, Cork, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Cork, Kerry, as well as parts of King's County (now Offaly) and Queen's County (now Laois).

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