Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXIV (13) | Start of Chapter

Tully was the next destined post, without breakfast.

Wind and rain confronted us at every step; we called at the cabins when we could not help it, and certainly they were among the miserable. It was twelve when we reached Tully. I had gone supperless to bed, and passed a sleepless night, and walked through mud and rain till twelve, and now felt the need of food. To our sad disappointment, not a loaf of bread was in the town, and the good Methodist lady where we stopped said there had been none for six weeks! Can you believe, who may read this, that in 1845, when there had been no failure of crops, an assize town with tasty-looking houses lived six weeks on nothing but potatoes! An old man kept a shop with a little flour, but so rare was the call for it that he was out of town most of the time, leaving his door locked. He returned that day, so that by two o'clock my hunger was a little calmed by a soda cake. We then visited the National School, taught by the son of the woman where we stopped, and found it under good regulations. The teacher had a salary of twelve pounds a year.

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.