I did enjoy it Barry, immensely, and thank you for sharing. It is anecdotes
like these that make our histories richer. I'm glad you pointed out that
these certainly aren't the 'poorest of the poor' - they had horses and carts
and the time to spend away from long days of toil.
(It's all I can do to remember to take a flannel, never mind my own bed and
Wendy in snowy Canada.
----- Original Message -----
From: "barry bradfield" <barrybradfield(a)eircom.net>
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 3:06 PM
Subject: FER-GOLD Summer holidays 1830's Ireland
I came across this article in a book called "Journey throughout
during the spring summer and autumn of 1834" by Henry Inglis. It was a
small revelation to me about the times in Ireland almost 200 years ago. I
had seen items such as "bathing house" and "tea room" etc on the old
Ordinance Survey maps of 1830 on many of the beaches from Mayo through
Sligo to Donegal. I had assumed they were places the Gentry and Upper
Classes went to. I was very surprised and this is the relevant section.
I will pick it up after Inglis has left Sligo and he is now beyond "the
pretty village of Colooney"
"Beyond this village I found a fertile and tolerably well cultivated
country _ a considerable part of it, however, under pasture _ and no
greater part of it bog- land than might probably be wanted for
consumption. I was surprised to meet, every few hundred yards on this
road, carts heavily laden with country people, many of them of the lowest
orders. and with different articles of furniture piled upon or attached to
the carts; and I learned with some astonishment, that all these
individuals were on their way to sea-bathing. This is a universal practice
over these parts of Ireland. A few weeks passed at the sea-side is looked
upon to be absolutely necessary for the preservation of health; and
persons of all classes migrate thither, with their families. In my way to
Boyle, I met upwards of twenty carts laden with women, children and boys.
One may ask how the people afford this annual expense; but the expense is
extremely small. There are numerous cabins and cottages, at the lo!
wer end of Sligo, on the bay, in which a room is hired at 1s.6d. per week.
This is almost the whole of the expense; for all carry with them, -
besides their beds and an iron pot,-a quantity of meal,some sacks of
potatoes, and even turf, if there be room for it."
We all have stories about poverty and bad landlords etc built into our
collective memories. While Henry Inglis called these people "of the lowest
order" I think he is wrong. These will be the small farmers of 10-20 acres
with a horse and cart etc. They will not be the "poor labourer " living or
subsisting on 1 or 2 acres.
These will be the people who went to Canada or US in the period before the
famine. They had enough to sell (horse etc) to finance the trip and look
for a better place and a better life.
I bet few of you ever thought their Irish Ancestors in the 1820/30/40
would be lying on a beach, building sand castles, swimming and buying
cheap drink. (apparently poteen whiskey was available at 2s.6p cheaper
than Parliament Whiskey on the beaches of Sligo)
For Fermanagh it was Bundoran and all around Ballyshannon.
So whether you are waiting at an airport for you trip to the Costa's in
Spain or stuck in traffic on the 4th of July heading south remember great
great great grandmother probably has experienced the delays with busy
I enjoyed it I hope you do.
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