Temperance Tea Party

The next evening a temperance meeting was held in a neatly decorated room, prepared by the poor fishwomen, who were tetotalers. "You must go," said Father Mathew, "as you wish to see the poor. These women, five years ago, were the greatest nuisances in Cork; but they took the pledge, and not one has broken it."

I went. The rich, too, were there; they had been invited because it was the poor who had made the feast.

The room was crowded; tea was prepared, and the meeting was opened by three cheers for the Queen; and I could not mention the unexpected kind feeling bestowed thus publicly on me, were it not a duty which I owe to a class of people whom I had ever been taught felt nothing but bitterness, and acted nothing but persecution to their opponents. But justice, not sectarianism, must be my motto; character, and not popularity, must be my watchword.[11] I was a Protestant, and they knew it. Father Mathew arose, and introduced me to the audience, telling them my object in Ireland was to visit the poor, and learn their true condition; adding a sketch of my manner of travelling and living, which I had never told him.

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.