A Rough and Weary road

Saturday.—I left the kind Mrs. Moran, where I had stopped, and directed my footsteps to Clifden. The police officers, at my egress, detained me some time at the door of the barracks, with multiplied inquiries about America, and kind wishes for myself. As I proceeded, the wind became so strong in my face that walking was almost impossible. I was soon joined by a woman going to Clifden with a heavy burden on her back. "And why did ye lave Roundstone? The people were all waitin' to see ye on Sunday, and the hotel keeper's wife was to keep ye a few days, for she has been in America, and she'd like to discoorse ye, and she knew ye'd no good place to lodge." With her heavy burden she was soon out of sight, for she must be in Clifden for market. I sat down; the gusts were so violent in my face, that I could scarcely make my way. A man with a loaded team met me, and said, "Ye cannot walk with this storm in yer face; go into the Half-way house, and wait till I come back, and I will give ye a ride into Clifden." He had five miles to go and unload his team, and five miles more to return to the spot. I went into the Half-way house, but was glad to get again upon the street, and buffet the storm. I had travelled fifty miles in this part of the country, and never seen a tree or shrub, unless what was planted by the hand of man as an ornament, and this only once. Yet we are told that all these mountains and valleys were once covered with trees; that the bog-oak found so far beneath the surface is one proof, and the turf another.

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.