Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger
Or, AN EXCURSION THROUGH IRELAND, in 1844 and 1845, for the purpose of personally investigating the condition of the poor
This book cannot be recommended highly enough to those interested in Irish social history. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, travelled from her native America to assess the condition of the poor in Ireland during the mid 1840s. Her journey took her through the counties of Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, Tipperary, Cork, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Cork, Kerry, as well as parts of King's County (now Offaly) and Queen's County (now Laois).
Refusing the luxury of hotels and first class travel, she stayed at a variety of lodging-houses, and even in the crude cabins of the very poorest. Much of her travelling was done on foot, under the harshest of conditions, where she met and conversed with many interesting characters along the way.
Being of a very religious disposition, and genuinely so, she distributed bibles and tracts as she went about her business. She was a woman of strong mind, and wasn't afraid to speak it when the occasion demanded. In many respects she was very much ahead of the times in the ideas she espoused, advocating prison reform, animal rights, and most particularly rights for women.
The conditions of the poor that she witnessed in Ireland almost defy belief today, and the author was greatly perturbed and affected by them. Nonetheless, there were also many moments of delight and humour in her wonderful account of the Ireland she experienced just prior to the worst of the Great Famine.
This digital edition has had the text carefully corrected and reset from the original. It includes proper contents navigation and a hyperlinked notes, and is available in .mobi format for Kindle, .epub format, and as a PDF. A sample of the PDF can be downloaded by clicking on the "Download a sample file" link under the seller details.
The author's sequel to this account is also available as a download: Annals of the Irish Famine in 1847, 1848, and 1849