Home Sweet Home

From the memoirs of Jeremiah Curtin, an American who travelled to west Donegal around 1890:

‘The morning after my arrival in Carrick, I went to Teelin point to see the people and get an idea of their knowledge regarding myths. I had, as usual, to listen to tales of repression. The proprietor of the hotel in Carrick ‘claimed the ocean’ and allowed no-one to fish near the coast where the fish were. He forced them to starve or go out in the sea where there was danger and almost no catch. He kept men to guard the coast and drive the inhabitants away. I found later that these statements were true.’

Two men were permanently employed watching the bay, ensuring that no one except the landlord and his agents could fish near the shore.

Curtin then described a visit to a local home where he found a 200lb pig. He congratulated the woman of the house on her wealth in owning such a fine animal.

‘That’s the rent’, she replied.

Things aren’t quite that bad nowadays, but west Donegal is still remote. Internet access can’t be taken for granted here, which is why this post is a day late.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.