Derrynane

When I reached the summit of the mountain, and the sea with its wild shore, islands, and dashing waves broke upon my view, I knew the abode of the wonderful man O'Connell was near, and I paused to take a full view of the wildness around. Here then did the keen, deep-meaning, and nondescript eye of this never-tiring agitator seek out an abode; here were the principles, the agitations, of the ever-stirring mind nurtured and fed; and as here, wave after wave dashes against the rock, so has agitation after agitation dashed with impetuosity against the Gibraltar of England, as yet impregnable. But hush! a woman must walk softly on political pavements.

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.