Ridiculous Old Custom

This is the place to which the people of Kerry and Cork, on shrove-tide eve, amuse themselves by hunting out the old maids and widows, putting them into carts, on asses, and all kind of ludicrous vehicles, to send them to Skellig-rocks. The streets of Cork were alive with this class of people, pursuing such as they deemed worthy a residence there, and often is the joke carried so far, that some are conveyed miles out of town, and set down, and left to make their way back as they can.

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.