Lord Rosse's Telescope, and Lord Rosse

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter IX (4) | Start of Chapter

In the morning I took my breakfast, was kindly invited to come when Mr. S. should be at home, and went out, and called at the lodge-house, where was a godly-woman, poor in this world, but rich in faith. A pleasant hour was passed with her, for with such, lessons are to be learned which the rich cannot teach. The rain had deluged the country the preceding night; and many a poor cabin was swept away with the miserable furniture, and the affrighted inmates had fled, with their children in their arms, naked as they were, from their beds of straw.

The lawn containing the telescope of Lord Rosse was open, and passing the gate, the old lady who presided in the lodge asked me to go through the grounds, which were free to all. Much did I regret that clouds obscured the sky the whole time that I was in Birr, so that not one gaze could I have through that magnificent instrument. The pipe is fifty-two feet in length, and six and a half in diameter. The earl is mentioned as a man of great philanthropy, and much beloved by the gentry and poor.

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.