One hundred and fifty years ago Elizabeth Smith, the Scottish-born wife of a west Wicklow landlord, was keeping a daily record of household, local, national and even international events, written primarily for her children when they grew up. The views expressed are therefore totally frank and uninhibited.
This volume represents a selection of extracts from her journal written at Baltyboys House, near Blessington, between 1840-1850 and so covers both the pre-famine years and the famine itself. However, this book is not primarily about the famine but, rather a contemporary account of everyday life in mid-nineteenth century Ireland – an area which is generally neglected by historians. Elizabeth Smith’s observations provide today’s reader with a remarkably fresh portrayal of life at that time for rich and poor alike. The perspective is that seen from the local Big House, which is unusual enough, but even more unusual is the fact that the views expressed are those of a genuinely benevolent landlord and his wife.
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