A tolerant Catholic

Returning to the kind woman, she went in pursuit of lodgings, and inquiring at five, the sixth took me in for sixpence a night. The woman was poor, her house was tidy, and I stopped with her, found she managed discreetly with her little all, and was extremely anxious about her young children, that they might be well educated. "I send them," said she, "to a Protestant school, because it is the best one. God be praised, my parents never larnt me to read, and my children shall not be bred in such ignorance." Darkness was over her mind, but it was darkness that was felt. I read to her a tract, and some of the most touching passages of Christ's life, which filled her with admiration; thinking me a Catholic, she added, "You know none can be saved out of our church, but yet I have lived with so many good Protestants that I could not see why they are not as good Christians as we, and why can they not be saved if they do right?" Telling her all that fear God and work righteousness will be saved, and that I had determined to take Christ for example, and his word for a guide, and obey neither priest nor minister no further than they obeyed God, "Ye are right, ye are right," was the answer. She was in her own way truly religious, and watchful over her temper, and a better pattern than many who are much in advance in a knowledge of the world and books. Her husband is a drunkard, had gone to Dublin in pursuit of work, spent his money, and was torturing her with entreaties for more. Father Mathew has much to do yet to redeem Ireland from the curse of whiskey, for in high life it retains a deadly grasp.

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.