Horrors of the Journey

We had proceeded a few miles, with nineteen upon the top, and one appended to the back, when a loud call from a car arrested us, with, "Can you take a few more passengers?"

"As many as you please," answered the glad driver. The clamor, the entreaties, and threats of the passengers, that it was unlawful to load any vehicle so unreasonably, and that they should make complaint, were all unavailing; the car was emptied of four solid bodies, besides a box or two for each, with baskets and lesser appendages, and all transferred to the coach. The poor affrighted girl over our heads was now ordered to alight, by the profane blustering coachman, and without ceremony was packed among us, though we already had eight where five could only have a tolerable seat. This was truly fearful as well as intolerable; a corner of a trunk was resting on my shoulder, and twenty miles I rode without having the free liberty of my head or full turning of my neck. The beautiful Vale of Avoca we entered, but my cramped position kept me from one solitary look at it; the ponderous coach was threatening at every jostle to plunge us headlong. The "Plase be so kind as to move an arm or a leg," and "Do be aisy, my good friends, you put my hat into all manner of shapes," went on, and, taken as a whole, it was the most perilous, the most uncomfortable, laughable, provoking ride that could be imagined.

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.