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They do not use a prayer-book, but pray without one.
Many of the Scotch ministers have a hard day on Sunday, for they have to preach and pray twice over; once in English, and then immediately afterwards in Gaelic, which is the only language understood by some of the people.
IRELAND is a pretty country, and, on account of the extreme brightness of the grass, is often called the Emerald Isle. There is less corn grown than in England, but there is more pasture-land. The chief plant that is cultivated is flax, from which linen is made. This is sometimes called “ the wealth of the country.” However, the flax makes the north of Ireland rather disagreeable in the summer months. When it is cut it has to be steeped in water, and the water then smells very nasty. It is very unpleasant to walk near a stream in which flax has been steeped. People who are used to it say it is not unwholesome, and some even declare they like the smell.
Quantities of potatoes are grown in Ireland, for the poor people live chiefly upon potatoes, butter-milk, and porridge, seldom tasting meat, unless it is bacon, for there are many pigs in Ireland. When there is a bad potato year, the poor people get nearly starved; and when there is much disease among the potatoes, there is a famine. However, there has not been a very bad famine in Ireland since the year 1847, when numbers of poor people died of starvation. But though potatoes and flax are grown in such large quantities, a great deal of land is waste, and produces nothing but weeds.
There are a great many unfinished buildings, for it is not uncommon for an Irishman to begin to build a fine mansion without considering whether he has money to finish it. I heard that, some years ago, an Irish gentleman bought an estate some miles from his home, and did not go to see it. Some time afterwards he was travelling, and seeing a fine place, exclaimed, to a passer by, “ To whom does that elegant place belong?” “ To lazy " said the man, mentioning the gentleman's own name, “and he has never been to see it." Lazy --- then took . possession of the estate, and lived there for many years. The cottages in Ireland are built of clay and mud, and are not as neat and clean as English cottages. But they are much more airy, for the Irish generally have their doors open, in order that their pigs and cocks and hens may run in and out · as they please.
Peat is burnt instead of coal.
The Irish do not much care about being comfortable; sometimes, when a poor man will not leave his cottage after the landlord has given him notice to quit, the roof is taken off, but it by no means follows that the tenant leaves because there is no roof over his head.
The Irish are a rather impetuous, passionate people; they sometimes shoot a landlord, if he insists
tipon having his rent. On the other hand, it must be remembered that the landlords are sometimes inconsiderate; for very often they do not live in Ireland, and employ agents to collect the rents ; therefore, they do not know so much as they ought about their tenants, and sometimes order rents to be raised rather unfairly.
Every now and then the Irish get discontented at being under the dominion of the English, and rebel against the Queen. Lately there have been several uproars, caused by men called Fenians, who have persuaded others to join them in endeavouring to upset the English power; several have been caught and punished.
The Queen sends a gentleman to govern Ireland for her, who is called the Lord Lieutenant; and Irishmen sit in the Parliament at Westminster, so really the country is ruled by Irishmen as well as Englishmen; and the Fenians seem to be people who more desire their own advantage than the real good of their country. The chief cause of poverty and misery in Ireland is whisky. Nearly all the poor people drink too much, and even some of the rich.
I heard a story of a gentleman who had £1,000 a year; and yearly, as soon as it was paid, started off on a journey in a carriage with four horses; but before the end of the year he always returned, ragged and on foot, having spent his money on drink; and sold, first one horse and then another, to pay his way.
The Irish poor have very curious customs at
funerals. When any one dies, all his relations dress very smartly, and invite their friends to what they call “a wake;" there they drink, and sing, and howl, as they call it, for grief. Sometimes the whisky drinking produces quarrels. I heard of a wake where one of the mourners was killed in a drunken fight, 80 then there was another “wake” for him. When the body is buried, crowds of people foMow it to the tomb, howling and yelling.
The Irish are not very particular about speaking the truth; they like to flatter, and to say civil things. On the other hand, they have very good points; they are very generous and unselfish, and well-mannered, and most hospitable to strangers. All school-masters would like, I think, to teach Irish children; for they are so quick and yet thoughtful, seldom giving random answers.
Religion.—Most of the Irish are Roman Catholics; but there are some Protestants, and a good many Protestant churches.
There are more Protestants in the north than the south, because there are a good many Scotch families in the north.
Education.—There are many schools in Ireland, a university at Dublin for gentlemen, and a college at Maynooth, where priests are educated.
Principal Divisions.—Ireland is divided into four great bits : Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connaught; and these again are divided into thirtytwo counties.
The capital city is Dublin, on the river Liffey, in the county of Dublin. The Irish talk of
County Antrim or County Down, not simply Antrim or Down.
Dublin is a beautiful town, not nearly so large as London, but, in some ways, handsomer, for the squares and streets are wide, and there are few dirty alleys, and narrow crooked streets. There are many churches--some Roman Catholic and some Protestant; beautiful shops; many public houses—too many. The cabs are most of them not like English ones, but open carriages, with the seats placed sideways; they are called cars. Some of the drivers make a great noise, yelling and shouting to their horses, which they call “ encouraging” them.
There is a splendid park in Dublin, where people go and walk and make pleasure parties. There is no park anything like the size in London.
Another large city is Cork, in County Cork; there numbers of pigs are sent off for sale to other countries.
Belfast, in County Antrim, is another big town; there flax is spun into yarn.
Scenery.—In the south of Ireland there are beautiful lakes, called the Lakes of Killarney.
ONE hour and a half spent on the water will take us from Dover to the “ sunny land of France," as it is called. However, though the distance is so short between England and France, you could not for a moment fancy you were still in England. Everything is different_language of course, although