Mr. Nangle's Protestant Missionary Settlement

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXVI (4) | Start of Chapter

I had heard much of the indefatigable Mr. Nangle, and wished to hear from his own lips the success of his mission, his sacrifices, and future prospects. I had heard that a fault-finding tourist had been that way, and carried out some evil reports; and I had heard that persecutors had risen up around him, and he sought redress by the arm of the law. Though that law gave him the victory, yet some few lips that had read the gospel whispered that "carnal weapons" were never fitted for the missionary of the cross. I had heard that the benevolent Dr. Adams had left all, and devoted himself unpaid to that arduous work, and that the faithful humble curate was a meek pattern of humility to all around him. On him I was requested to call, and was offered a note to him from Westport for that purpose. These different items made up the sum total of information I had gathered about Achill, and, putting all into the account, my impressions were more favorable than otherwise.

At an early hour I crossed the Sound, intending to walk till the public car should overtake me. I entered the colony without the car, and inquired for Mr. Lowe, the curate. He was not at home. The man of whom I inquired invited me into his house, and told his wife to put on the tea-kettle. Telling her I did not use tea, she presented me with good domestic bread, milk, and potatoes. When the dinner was finished, I was shown into the dining-hall, where dinner for the orphans was preparing. Nearly one hundred, I was told, were here fed, clothed, and taught to read and work.

It was neat and inviting, and the food wholesome and abundant. I certainly was more than pleased. I was grateful that my eyes had seen, and I could testify for myself, that here was a group of children from Ireland's poor that needed no pity. The neat white cabins, and the colony as a whole, looked to me attracting; a barren soil had been converted into a fruitful field by the hand of industry.

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.