Household Manure

Thursday.—Going out to call at the hotel, I turned into a bye-path, and seeing a row of cabins, went to one, supposing I could take a nearer route than the public road, by inquiring the way. Putting in my head, I saw misery doubly distilled. I at first was met by two yearling calves, and there being no window in the cabin, I could not well see into the interior, and concluded that it was nothing less or more than a cowhouse. But perseverance showed me it was the abode of six full-grown mortals, master, mistress, and four daughters, sitting upon stools before a peat fire. On the left was a pile of manure, which the cow and calves had been providing from the preceding November. This manure each morning is pressed down, and a little dry straw or leaves put over, thus forming a solid mass, which being kept warm both by pressure and a fire, the owners affirm, makes it much richer. On the right was a board extending from the corner of the fire-place, of sufficient length for a bed; and over this board, upon the ground, was straw spread for the whole family's sleeping-place. The furniture was a pot to boil potatoes, an old basket, a few stools, and an old cupboard with plates, and—

"Broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show."

To my first inquiry, "can you tell me the way to the hotel?" I received no answer, all looking with amazement at the first and only bonnet that had ever looked in, and said good morning to them. Again I asked the way; the old man rose and said, "come and I'll show ye," and led me to a path among the rocks. "An' may be ye're a stranger, an' I'll not put ye out of the way." Here was old patriarchal law, though I was told they could neither read nor write. This hotel, which the natives say is "dacent and proper," is quite commodious, and, being the only one in the glen, commands all the visitors from various parts of the world. My Saturday night's entertainment was a just rebuke for turning a deaf ear to the counsel of my friend John, when he said, "ye couldn't do better, ye'll find every convainience."

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.