Lighthearted Burdenbearers

The company increased, till I counted more than sixty; and busy, merry work was made of it; running with heavy loads upon their heads, dripping with wet, exultingly throwing them down, and bounding away in glee. Truly, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." "And are you not cold?" "O no, ma'am, the salt say keeps us warm; the salt say, ma'am, never lets us take cold." "And how many days must you work in this way, before you get a supply?" "Aw, sometimes not fawrty, but scores of days." "And all you have for your labor is the potatoe?" "That's all, ma'am, that's all; and it's many of us that can't get the sup of milk with 'em, no, nor the salt; but we can't help it, we must be content with what the good God sends us."

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.