Journey to Tullamore

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter II (6) | Start of Chapter

Tuesday, July 2d.—Must leave for Tullamore. I had removed my lodgings from the first kind house where I stopped, and had found in the second all that hospitality which is so congenial to a stranger, and was becoming much attached to Dublin; but rest was not my errand to Ireland, and the kind daughters of the family accompanied me at seven in the morning to the fly-boat, where I was packed as tight as live stock could be in any but a slave ship. Here I found a company of would-be intelligent Irish and English aristocrats, who, on "both sides of the house," were professed enemies to the poor Irish, calling them a company of low, vulgar, lazy wretches, who prefer beggary to work, and filth to cleanliness. How much of this may be true I pretend not to decide, but this may be safely hazarded, that it is an established law of our nature to hate those we oppress. The American slaveholder, while he keeps his foot upon the slave, despises him for his degradation, and while he withholds a knowledge of letters, and closes the Bible against him, hates him because he is ignorant and a heathen. In eight hours we reached Tullamore, a distance of fifty miles, and the first novelty was the market-place.

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.