Misfortune in Clifden

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXV

Misfortune in ClifdenReverse of FortuneAn Aged PilgrimEager ListenersVisit to a Dying ManGlorious SunsetAn officious PolicemanLady ClareArrival in GalwayObtrusiveness of the WomenA Sermon on BaptismJourney to WestportIntroduction to Mr. PoundonA devoted Presbyterian MinisterSketch of a Christian Missionary, such as Ireland needsCroagh PatrickHazardous Ascent to the MountainGrand Prospect from the SummitReturn to WestportDoubts RemovedFilial AffectionA Poor Protestant

Saturday morning, while across the street speaking to a blind man, my purse was robbed of three half crowns and a few pennies, by a little servant girl, who had seen me take out some, and run out in haste, leaving my purse and bag upon my bed. Clifden was an unfortunate spot for me. A pair of new gloves had been taken the day previous, my spectacles and breast-pin lost, and now my money. Went out and visited schools, found one in miserable plight, crowded, dirty, and noisy, and the teacher in keeping with the whole. A second was a well ordered one, the teacher a man of sense as well as learning. A family who opened a boarding school, invited me to pass a few days in their house, and I found them with the remains of a ruined fortune, struggling to educate their own children by teaching others. A class of people quite plentiful throughout Ireland are those who once were in higher life, and are now struggling to keep their hold of the crazy boat. But those are generally found to be the better sort of society; having been schooled in affliction, they have felt the uncertainty of all earthly calculations, and by intercourse with the enlightened class of the community, they have acquired knowledge and habits which make them interesting, and often useful acquaintances. Their pride at the same time has been so wounded, that, if not humbled effectually, they are more condescending and more communicative to such as are below them.

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.