A Door of Access

The next day was devoted by the citizens of Killarney to St. Patrick. At twelve the temperance band awakened me, by playing very sweetly the air of St. Patrick's Day, reminding me of New York, when the Irish emigrants there celebrate the day, rekindle old associations of their beloved Emerald Isle, sing the songs of their native land, and live over again the bye-gone days of the country so dear to them. Early the chapel bells called to mass, and from every mountain and glen the people poured in, with the green shamrock in their hats, the children with some kind of ribbon upon the left arm, which they called the "crass." Sabbath was called Palm Sunday, when a sprig of palm was carried to the chapel to be blessed, and worn home in the hat; this was changed by some on Monday for the shamrock. The multitude huddled to mass three times a day, and passed the afternoon and evening looking upon each other, but not in quarrelling or drinking. To avoid the staring without, and the thronged house within, I again visited the park, and under a shady oak should have enjoyed a sweet sleep, with my muff for a pillow, had not the gate-woman found and invited me in. Another treat of reading she enjoyed, but declined taking any books, lest the bishop should punish her. Reading to these people what they can understand, and what they should practise, is the best mode of access, and the surest way to do good. Having few or no books of their own, and many not being able to read at all, a story of practical piety, a clear and pungent explanation of the most essential doctrines connected with the life and atonement of Christ, are listened to with the deepest interest. And not unfrequently will the sower find, if he watch the growth, that the seed has sprung up, promising a fruitful harvest.

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.


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