An Interesting Trio

His volubility never ceased, till a beggar woman, with an enormous sack of potatoes under a ragged cloak, joined us, and we formed a trio of no common interest. She was a woman of more than sixty, yet the bloom had not left her cheeks, and when I said, " You look young and strong;" "I am aged, ma'am, and my breath is getting cowld," was the answer. Pity, I thought, that such a breath as yours had not been drawn in some more fortunate isle, where

" Beauty's gems and woman's worth are better known."

She would and did keep our company, though twice she stopped to rest. A well dressed woman joined us, with her shoes and stockings in her hand; her feet, like mine, were crippled, and we entered the large town of Loughrea as night was falling. Here the beggar and tidy woman left us, and through the narrow muddy streets we wended our way, to the extremity of the town, which is a mile and a-half in extent, if my guide and weary feet may be believed.

Ireland’s Welome to the Stranger is one of the best accounts of Irish social conditions, customs, quirks and habits that you could wish for. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, was an American widow who travelled extensively in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine and meticulously observed the Irish peasantry at work and play, as well as noting their living conditions and diet. The book is also available from Kindle.