In May 1844, the American educator and reformer Asenath Nicholson set out from New York on a fifteen-month visit to Ireland, determined to ‘investigate the condition of the Irish poor’. Nicholson travelled on foot through much of the island, reading the Bible to the local people and sharing their hospitality. She describes a rural society that, despite great poverty, received the American visitor with generosity and kindness. Nicholson’s rich and lively account of her travels is a unique glimpse of Ireland before the Great Hunger of 1845-52.
MAUREEN MURPHY is Professor of English at Hofstra University in New York. She is past President of the American Conference for Irish Studies, and has written extensively about Irish culture, folklore, literature and language. She edited Asenath Nicholson’s Annals of the Famine in Ireland (1851, reissued by Lilliput 1998).
ACCLAIM FOR ASENATH NICHOLSON’S ANNALS OF THE FAMINE IN IRELAND
‘Among the most pungent of first-hand accounts of the Famine … this welcome reissue, meticulously edited by Maureen Murphy, includes abundant and illuminating annotations.’ – Patricia Craig, Times Literary Supplement
‘Her narrative is extraordinarily vivid, with a style and a vocabulary surprisingly modern … a document of historical importance.’ – Richard Roche, Irish Times
‘Nicholson’s personality must have been as forceful as it was compassionate, and her experiences make for compelling reading. … this is a rich and fascinating example of famine literature, and Murphy has done a great service by making it more accessible to a contemporary audience.’ – Mary Donoghue McCain, New Hibernia Review
‘Vivid and wrenching’ – Connie Hendren Fitz, Irish Literary Supplement ‘An extraordinary testament’ – John S. Doyle, Sunday Tribune