An Old War Horse

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter III (14) | Start of Chapter

On Saturday I visited the estate of a gentleman who had perched his mansion on the brow of the Vale of Avoca. Here, though porters and dogs guarded the buildings, yet we were admitted into the outer porch of the temple, and had a walk among evergreens and flowers upon the margin of the vale; and we seated ourselves upon a rustic seat, to feast again upon the never fading beauties of the river and vale at our feet. A distant landscape of cultivated country was stretched beyond, and the whole looked more like a fairy land than a real spot of earth, trees, and water. We were disappointed that we were not allowed to enter the premises, and see the greatest curiosity of the whole, a mare of the age of fifty years, who carried her master to the great battles forty-six years before, in the days of the rebellion. She is said to be in good flesh; her head is white with age, her body grey; and the daughters of the man who was once her owner but is now dead, have the beast kept, and well tended on this estate, out of respect to both their father and the animal. The simple hearted cottagers who accompanied me presented a picture of patriarchal days and manners, that made me regret that artificial life and

"trade's unfeeling train

Usurped the land and dispossessed the swain."

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.