The Church of Kilbride

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter IV

The Church of KilbrideA Methodist MinisterMethodism in IrelandVisit to the RectoryTetotalism unfashionableAmerican Courtesy to Females not universal in IrelandThe Seven Churches of GlendaloughFoolish Legends connected with this localityStrange Exhibition of Party SpiritReturn to DublinLady Harburton's School

On Sabbath heard the rector of Kilbride preach a most searching sermon, from "Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men," insisting that we should always be reminded that God loves justice as well as mercy, and that he gave an awful proof of this love in the punishment of his Son. The congregation was small, but quite in accordance with everything in the parish, neat and respectable; the music was sweet, and "Old Hundred" was performed in that soul-stirring, soul-fitting manner which is so peculiar to that tune when well performed. If set tunes are performed in heaven, "Old Hundred" and "Luther's hymn" must be favorites in that "great congregation." This rector and his lady were among the first in the morning at the sabbath-school, which he opened by prayer, this being his usual custom. When introduced to him as an American, I was happy to find that his rectorship had not robbed him of that beautiful urbanity so characteristic of the native Irish, for he gave me a hearty welcome to Ireland, in true Irish mode. "I passed," said he, "three pleasant years in New York, and left it with great reluctance. I am quite attached to its customs and people in many respects, especially their hospitality to strangers and their politeness to females."

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.