Arrival at Killarney

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XVIII (2) | Start of Chapter

This town has nothing interesting but a suspension bridge, with two richly ornamented pillars, and a handsome pier. The next morning, though urged to stay, I bade adieu, started for the fairy land of Killarney, and rode through a wild tract of twenty miles, till the "Upper Lakes" of the far-famed Killarney met my sight. Nothing here appeared peculiarly striking; the day was chill, the company dull, and I was making up my mind, that if I had visited this spot for novelty or beauty, I might better have stayed in Glengariff. I stepped in to inquire for lodgings, and was quite happy when safely out upon the street; and inquiring for Mrs. Casey, to whom I had been recommended at Cork, I found a comfortable home during my stay in that place.

Ross Island was the first in the morning to which I resorted; and, reaching the gate of a beautiful thatched cottage, saw the proprietor in the garden, who invited me through the gate, and accompanied me about the several walks. Though in the month of March, it was blooming with greens and flowers. The different openings upon the lakes were made with a most happy skill, and the parts which were left wild were selected with judgment. The gardeners of Ireland display much taste in adjusting their rough stones, their rustic seats and summer-houses; and in fitting up a pleasure-ground, they seem to possess a correct judgment in knowing what to cultivate, and what to leave wild. This spot possesses beauties which to an admirer of nature cannot fail to please.

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.