Walk from Ballinasloe to Loughrea

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter IX (8) | Start of Chapter

In a neat little cottage I found the cleanest accommodations. They were a snug little room on the first floor, with a nicely curtained bed, a turf fire, two candles, and some crisped potatoes, and all for the hill of four pence. I was certainly the gainer, even had I wished to have stopped with the doctor's friend; and had I been kindly received. I should not have enjoyed such secluded comforts as were mine in that silent retreat. When I was in quiet possession of all these enjoyments, I sent up a prayer that I might be cured, effectually cured, of putting myself in the power of the proud, the ignorant, yes, the ungodly world, to abuse me—to trifle with every feeling of my heart, which naturally inclines me to be credulous.

Why am I not content with the resources God has supplied me, without running to silly worms for aid which I can do without? Why not turn to the God that is within me, and there seek that honor which comes from above? Give me truth, justice, and integrity for my letters of introduction, and I will ask no more.[2] Two young men in the house divided the thirty miles to Galway into three parts, giving me stopping places each day, to see the country; and early in the morning, in a pleasant if not happy mood, I was on my way, refreshed with rest, determined that no treatment in Ireland should make me unhappy.

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.