A Third Funeral

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XVIII (10) | Start of Chapter

I next walked through the gate leading to Lord Kenmare's domain, a happy appendage to the lakes, ornamented with walks and seats, and two rustic thatched cottages, made of small round sticks of wood with the bark on, and put together like patch-work, in diamonds, wheels, and stars; the floors are laid in small pebbles, in wheels, and the whole together is in perfect taste. The sun was shining upon the sloping green lawn, and the lakes below were sparkling in its light. I was just seated in one of the cottages, gathering around me the dancing fairies of the imagination, when a wail for the dead fell on my ear. Surely this morning thus far was devoted to the ghosts of the departed. I hastened from the enchanted seat, and found that the procession was moving to the burying-place upon the hill, the oldest in all Killarney. The undying propensity of all ages to look, and if possible to accompany a funeral procession, led me on, and I waded through, and climbed over walls, to follow the dead, but did not succeed in time, the death-cry having ceased before I could reach 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.