Garrulous fellow-traveller

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XI (10) | Start of Chapter

We now reached the handsome town of Abbeyleix, as the caravan was about leaving for Dublin. A garrulous old Protestant of more than eighty, who said he built the second house in Abbeyleix, 48 years before, the daughter and granddaughter of the old gentleman, an elderly Catholic man, a young Irish girl, and a live turkey made up the passengers, including myself. When I had answered the knowing old gentleman all questions about America, from the sitting of congress to the cultivation of pigs, geese, and turkeys, he told me in turn the wonders of his nation, some of which were quite incredible, if not ridiculous. His daughter, who was a married woman, and well dressed, seemed to enjoy the unceasing volubility of her father; and when I remonstrated, she added, "O! he must be gratified," and I then said I must leave the caravan. He was well dressed, had read much, and apparently belonged to the higher class of society, so called. What surely am I to meet next in travelling through Ireland? All sorts of characters, in all sorts of condition, were meeting me at almost every turn.

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.