Kilkenny Beggars

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter V (6) | Start of Chapter

Being obliged to leave that day, I can say little of Kilkenny, only that the streets were narrow, and the beggars as saucy as elsewhere, demanding a penny after a positive refusal. The coachman and waiters were more rapacious than any I had seen; one positively demanded payment for opening the lid of the coach-boot, and dropping in a small carpet-bag. Six beggars accosted me at once, passing five other persons who were on the car, till my patience was exchanged for disgust. What a disgraceful state of things, that a body of people should become public nuisances, when there has been no famine nor pestilence in the land, and where the rich soil might well reward the husbandman, if the government were suited to its condition.

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.