Scarcity of Female Beauty in Galway

Friday.—Early I prepared for a walk of eighteen miles to Galway. The road was muddy, and there was quite an appearance of rain. The kind people did all they could do for my comfort, and asked me two-pence a night for my lodging. This was the stated price to all. I was soon joined by a man and his wife, with a car, riding alternately, which made the journey slow, and they kindly relieved me of my basket; and I walked nine miles with tolerable ease. I was resting upon a stone when the post-car arrived, and offered to take me to Galway for a shilling. I paid it, light as was my purse, and reached the town at two o'clock, with half-a-crown.

This ancient sea-port is celebrated in history for many a wonderful tale. It is not an inviting city for a stranger, on a muddy day; the suburbs are wretched in the extreme, and not in all Ireland, Bantry excepted, can there be found more that is forbidding to the eyes of strangers. The fishwomen, which are abundant there, are coarse and ugly in their looks, and none in all Connaught could exceed them in staring; and follow me they would, from street to street, from shop to shop.

I found a comfortable lodging-house in some respects, and in some it was uncomfortable; but knowing that slender purses must not put on airs, I went to the post-office to ascertain whether a letter were in waiting, but found none. Sixpence a night for lodging was the price, and find my own potatoes. I had five sixpences, and with these I must make my way back to Kilkenny. I had no fear, for I knew all would be right, and so I perambulated the town, and saw what I could see, enjoyed what I could enjoy, and then went home for the night.

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.