Arrival at the miserable town of Bantry

My company was not the most intelligent, but civil; even declining smoking for my accommodation, which was a mortal sacrifice to an Irishman; and had I not been an American, fear I should have been puffed most thoroughly. A talkative old man said he was about sailing for America with four sons, who were determined to go, and he should take the old woman along with them, though she was "ould;" but he would not have her fretting herself after him, and "so, lady, we will go together." He offered to find me a "dacent lodging," but left me when we reached Bantry, to make it out at my leisure. I went into the miserable coach-office, and saw poverty and desolation portrayed in every part of the dwelling where the family resided. The children were interesting, could read, and giving them some little books, I begged the good mother to direct me into some comfortable place, as the night was dark, and I was a stranger. She sent an intelligent boy, who soon found a genteel house, kept by three sisters and a brother, as a shop and lodging-house. The nicely fitted parlor and bed-room were inviting retreats, and here may I date the commencement of all that was marvellous—all that was romantic—all that was painfully exciting, and all that was wholly indescribable in my tour through Ireland, and I would say—

"If you have tears, prepare to shed them now."

Come, sit down with me, and weep over the sad desolations of your stricken country; and while you weep, reflect, when a righteous God shall make inquisition for blood, if you have said, "be ye warmed and be ye filled," while the garment was in your wardrobe, the bread upon your table, and the word of life upon your shelf—what shall shelter your head from the avenger of the poor?

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.