Journey to Westport

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXV (10) | Start of Chapter

Monday, May 21th.—I took the car to Westport, a distance of fifty miles. Stopped while the horses were changing, and asked for a penny's worth of bread and a potatoe. The bread was brought, but was quite sour; they had no potatoes. Asked for a little milk, a girl went to the cow, and with unwashed hands milked a few spoonfuls into a tea-cup, and presented it fresh from the mint. I refused the filthy-looking beverage, took a halfpenny's worth of the sour bread, and asked for my bill. "Sixpence," was the answer. A York shilling for a cent's worth of bread! "A good profit," I said. They paid back three-pence. I found in most hotels in Galway and Kerry, what I had not met so much elsewhere, a disposition to take the most they could get, however extravagant the sum.

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.