Asenath Nicholson

[1] A cabin-keeper near Roscrea, who kept her pigs in the room, told me, "An' troth, ma'am, I'd take him into my bed wid me, if he'd thrive any better." Her bed was curtained and her cabin was clean.

[2] If the professed Christian, with the Bible in his hand, do not know his duty towards the stranger, then let him "tie a string" around that Bible, and go into some mountain cabin where the Bible has never been, and there take a lesson.

[3] Does this look like idleness? Many a poor widow have I seen, with some little son or daughter, spreading her manure by moonlight, over her scanty patch of ground; or before the rising of the sun, going out with her whisp about her forehead, and basket to her back, to gather her turf or potatoes.

[4] It is not to introduce America in every page that mention is so often made of it, but to show the peasantry.

[5] Whether the beggars in Galway carried cards, when they solicit alms I did not learn.

[6] Tea drinking is a mania in Ireland. This woman boiled some in a pint cup, and supped it with her potato without milk or sugar.

[7] Mr. S. formerly belonged to the Episcopal Church.

[8] Through all Ireland I had noticed, that few good readers could be found, either among children or adults; but the writing in general was good.

[9] This is well known to physiologists, that cleansing the skin, and using coarse bread, will throw off all the impurities of the blood, and when these impurities appear upon the surface, it is a favorable symptom.

[10] I have mingled in families of all classes, in different countries, and have never found one of good order, refined manners, and strict morality, that did not regard the Sabbath.

[11] As the Roman Catholics in America are mostly from Ireland, it is a desirable object to ascertain what this religion has done for them at home, and what character they manifest where it has been most cultured.

[12] I would not be unmindful of the kindness shown me by this humorous priest, neither would I make or strive to make myself witty at his expense; but I visited Ireland to see people and priest as they are, and here was too good a subject to be thrown away. It was true Irish coin, and I valued it not the less for appearing in its native dress.

[13] In my remarks on this man I have consulted no taste, no opinion, and no religion but my own; and if any think me a heretic, I can only say "what I have written, I have written."

[14] I could not but say when standing on this spot, "How long, O Lord, how long" can such dreadful sufferings—such odious filth be allowed upon a world like this! Sure some volcano, some hailstone, or some fire, some overflowing flood, some miasma, or some earthquake, must obliterate them from sight, and "that right early."

[15] This is not mentioned as a specimen of the ignorance of the peasantry as a whole, for in no place did they appear dark on the subject of Christ's death and sufferings.

[16] They certainly had windows in Cahirciveen, and whole panes of glass, which only needed a little cleaning to give comfortable light within.

[17] "Eight months in the year we drag at this, praise God," said a poor woman. I looked back to the garden of Eden, and was it for this that a help-mate was made for man? Is this the being that is destined to mould the minds of his children, to look well to the ways of his household, and make him "known as he sitteth at the gate among the elders?" Surely Ireland's Bible teachers must have added their own theology to that of Henry, Clarke, and Scott, to have produced such a version as this for the station of woman.

[18] This did not offend me, neither do I blame him. I mention it only as one manifestation of the watchful jealousy maintained by different parties to keep both their creed and character from contamination.

[19] I was told at Glengariff that the old lord furnishes his pocket with shillings to meet the little girls at the door at May morning, who first present him with an egg, a shamrock, or a bunch of wild flowers.

[20] This little act of kindness said more for their true Christian hospitality towards a stranger, than money would have done.

[21] This nurse afterwards apologised for this, by saying that she did it to save me the pain of the abuse which she feared I might receive in the house.

[22] Before leaving the Sound, the palsied man and his wife called to go to the island. "God bless you. The Testament you gave me has been a blessing to my soul." "And that it should," his wife remarked, "for he sits up in his bed to read to me every night."

[23] The individual here referred to is Mr. Joseph Sturge of Birmingham, who had not seen the letter referred to by Mr. Nangle at the time of my visit to Achill. He has since not only acknowledged the receipt of this letter, but has very kindly intrusted me with money for the relief of the Irish poor.

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.