Irish Holidays

Thursday, May day.—Here the ancient custom of dressing poles with flowers, and placing them before the doors of the rich, is kept up. Horses and carriages are ornamented with them, and the children of the peasantry call at the doors of the gentry to receive presents.[19] The holidays of the Irish peasantry present to the stranger the character and condition of this people in the broadest outlines. You see how the liberty, which on such an occasion is allowed the greatest latitude that it ever can take, is chastened by a cringing servility, which says, "l am your humble slave." You see the effort at tidiness and show, which give you the extent of the scanty wardrobe acquired by the ill-paid labor of the master. You see the quick perception of generosity and meanness, as the gift is put into the scale with the donor's wealth and station. You see the full mark of enjoyment which the Irish heart is capable of reaching above all others, both in sunshine and storm; and you see that God has stamped his image as legibly, as nobly, yes, as invitingly, on the peasant as on the lord.

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.