Grievous Ignorance

The day was unusually warm for April, the sun scorching, and my feet sore: I often found occasion to call at a cabin to rest. One woman was standing at a corner, waiting my approach, and called out, "Good morrow, ma'am; ye look wairy, come in and rest ye a bit." The simple manners of these unsophisticated peasantry are so much like the patriarchs of old, that, in spite of their untidiness, they cannot but be interesting to every lover of antiquity. "An' would ye take a sup of milk?" Telling her I never used it, "What can I get ye? I have no bread." I thanked her, and could only satisfy her by saying that I had just been eating some. She then sat down to admire my "comely dress;" a little boy came in, and she asked him who I was. "A lady, ma'am." "See how quick he answers; he knows ye are a lady, because ye're clane and proper." The ignorance of this woman was painful; she seemed to know nothing beyond her own cabin. Seeing that she wanted a pin, I gave her a couple of rows; the paper was red, and she admired it with great wonder. A son of twenty came in, and she immediately presented the paper to him. They both held it up, and endeavored to look through it, and both seemed delighted at the novel sight. I was really unhappy at seeing these innocent, kind-hearted creatures of want, dying for lack of knowledge. Yes, dead as to anything appertaining to this life, for they had no comforts for the body, and they lived neglected, and apparently knew little else but what instinct dictated.

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.