One Source of the Reverence paid to the Priest

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XIV (5) | Start of Chapter

The city of Cork, as a whole, has much that is interesting. The houses upon the hill side, that overlook the main city, the Dyke with rows of trees for a mile and more, and the country-seats sprinkled in vale and on mountain, show the observer that taste, as well as wealth, has had something to do in the management.

Upon Wellington-bridge I met an Irishman, who said, "I have just got out of a bad scrape—have been to the churchyard with a hearse; the horses took fright, and I was drunk, and was very near being killed." "Come with me to Father Mathew, and take the pledge." "I could not keep it," he replied, "and it would do no good." He had made his wife take it, but as for him there could be no hope. A priest then passed, when he touched his hat in a respectful manner. "What honor you pay to these men. I see no touch of the hat when others pass." "Not to the man," said he, "but to what he may have about him. He may have been to visit some dying person, and have some of the broken body of the Saviour around his person." The expression was to me so novel that I said no more.

Took dinner at Father Mathew's, and met an intelligent priest. A brother and young son of the apostle of Temperance were present. The order of the table, the nicely prepared vegetables and fruit, the social enlightened cheerfulness, with neither porter nor wine as a stimulus, certainly would have honored a Protestant clergyman's table, and made me ardently desire that they might "go and do likewise."

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.