Thoughts on Irish Hospitality

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter VII (11) | Start of Chapter

The gentleman who had invited me to visit him at Cappoquin was at the car when we arrived there, and showed me into the house, where much apparent kindness was manifested. And here let me remark that the Irish peasantry cannot be surpassed in hospitality; but in proportion as independence and rank are attained, this hospitality does not always meet the stranger with the same warmth and sincerity. It seems to say, "We know that the Irish people are proverbial for their hospitality, and I must keep up the credit of my country; but had you not come to my house, I should not have troubled myself about you." I always managed well for myself in doubtful cases, by saying that I had met with such unbounded kindness among the poor in Ireland, that I could not doubt the national reputation for hospitality was well merited; and when I was invited to partake of it, I would not insult the Irish character by any suspicion of sincerity on their part.

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.