Connaught Laborers

We next saw a caravan of Connaught laborers, on their way to England to get work. One horse was drawing nine of these men, with a woman sitting among this score of legs, on the bottom of the cart; and the coachman assured us that the "owner of her" was the one between whose feet she was sitting. He further informed me, that the practice of these people is to go out to gather the English harvest, which arrives before the Irish, and at the same time wife and children go out to beg. The cabin-door is fastened, and they agree to meet there on a certain time, bringing home the avails of the labor, and they go in together at the unfastening of the cabin.

Stopping at a village, a woman presented a basket of oranges, and a troop of beggars fell upon me as suddenly as though dropped from the clouds, demanding the pennies I had received in change for the orange. And so clamorous were they, that I felt myself in danger, and distributed all I had, which did not supply the whole. One was so rude in pulling me, that I should certainly have called for the police, if the coachman had not relieved me by applying his whip, and leaving her behind.

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.