Exploration in Bantry

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XVI

Exploration in BantryPoverty, Wretchedness, and Filth of the DwellingsGrand Poorhouse standing unoccupiedWigwam RowMy attendant, JohnEmployment a NoveltyBeautiful Bay of BantryGlengariffBad choice of a Lodging-houseA Motley AudienceNo Refuge from the StaringMorning LeveeLord Bantry's CottageHospitality at the GatehouseCall at my ill-chosen Lodgings

When about leaving Cork for Killarney I intended taking the shortest and cheapest route; but Father Mathew said, "If you wish to seek out the poor, go to Bantry; there you will see misery in all and in every form." I took his advice, went to Bantry, and there found a wild, dirty sea-port, with cabins built upon the rocks and hills, having the most antiquated and forlorn appearance of any town I had seen; the people going about not with sackcloth upon their heads, for this they could not purchase, but in rags and tatters such as no country but Ireland could hang out.

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.