Cold Comfort

A lunch was before me at my return into the house; the long table was in the dining-room, around which are seated, when O'Connell is at home, a goodly number of his children; and sometimes thirty-six grandchildren have been seated together there, with priest and guests, partaking the bounties of this hospitable board.

While enjoying my bread and cheese, the threatening clouds began to drop rain: it was now twenty minutes past four. I had a wild mountainous walk of five miles before me, and the wind was howling tremendously among the bleak mountains. I said to the housekeeper, "I dread the walk, my feet are blistered, and should the storm increase upon the mountain, as there is no place to lodge, what shall I do.?" "It will be bad for you," was the reply of this fixture in female form, as she showed me out of the house. I said, "Should you ever visit New York, I will do as much for you, if you will call on me." My fate was now fixed; I was out and the door was shut, and never did the bolting of the prison gate of a condemned culprit, grate more harshly upon the ear, as the turnkey "shut him in," than did the closing of this door of the "Agitator," when its last echo died on my ear. It was then the "Repeal" of this union of wind and rain was the pitiful cry of my heart. The rain and wind were in my face, and the wild mountain before me. When I could face the storm no longer, I turned my back, and endeavored to walk in that way. A poor woman and her basket were sheltered under the wall, and she cried out, "And why, ma'am, are ye out in this stawrm? and sure why didn't ye lodge at Derrynane?" "Because they did not ask me," I replied. "And sure they wouldn't turn a stranger out on the wild mountains in such a stawrm as this?" "And sure they did," was all I could say.

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.