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The tide of emigration – 1897

New Zealand Tablet 6th August, 1897 (abridged)

Between the showers Photo: EO'D
Between the showers
Photo: EO’D

The correspondent of an Irish-American exchange writing from New York says: From Ireland the tide of emigration has again set toward our shores. At Ellis Island the other day there passed through the Gate of Freedom, as the exit of the little picketed lane is called, 723 Irish lassies— the best clothed, neatest and most cheerful immigrants this country has seen for years. They ranged in age from 18 to 25 and without exception, passed every requirement as to morality and cleanliness, and satisfied the commissioners that there was no danger of their becoming charges on the public for future support.

Sixty-five per cent of the entire number were what is known as “pre-paid”‘ passengers. Their tickets had been sent them from this side. Two hundred and fifty of them will go into domestic service in the metropolitan district. Nearly three hundred went to Boston, The others are scheduled for destinations in the Middle and Western States.

Last month there were to come more than 1,000 other girls from Irish villages. The cause for this invasion is the demand for Irish girls for housemaids. The Labour Employment Bureau can place more than 2,000 of proper character and fitness. The scene on Ellis Island before they were put on board the ferries was strongly suggestive of a country fair. About a thousand of their friends, brothers and sisters of some and sweethearts and friends of others had all got permission to greet them. They just swarmed over the island. Other immigrants looked on in wonder, and listened to the rare, rich brogue which filled the air. The girls had presents of blackthorns for their, brothers and lovers and bits of lace or knittings of woollen for their sisters and long before the first hundred had passed inspection each one was wearing some taken from the other.

The immigrants all had pocket money, and they who had least had friends in waiting. They had substantial wardrobes, too, some in woollen chests, and some in large tin boxes that were written all over with the names and addresses of their owners.

When they got on the mainland and saw the elevated trains, the lovely park, the tall buildings and the crowds rushing for the ferries and heard the din of traffic, these girls from the little inland villages stood in amazement and gossiped among themselves as to what kind of a place New York must be and how soon they would be swallowed up and lost in the hundreds of thousands. They were given their first lesson in the immensity of metropolitan life, and shrank off with their friends, glad not to be alone. Those whose friends had not called for them up to sundown were cared for in the Mission of the Holy Rosary. Deputy Commissioner M’Sweeney, of the Immigration Bureau, said that this season would see ten thousand Irish girls landed in this city.

All told there were fourteen hundred immigrants landed at the island the other day.

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Lisdoonvarna – 1897

New Zealand Tablet 16th July 1897 p 9

The Twin Wells on the banks of the River Aille at Lisdoonvarna c 1900 National Library of Ireland Wikimedia Commons
The Twin Wells on the banks of the River Aille at Lisdoonvarna c 1900
National Library of Ireland
Wikimedia Commons

CLARE.— Threatened Confiscation of the Famous Spa at Lisdoonvarna Public Meeting of Protest

On Sunday, May 9th an important meeting was held in Lisdoonvarna to protest against the action of the Representative Church Body of Ireland in their endeavour to grab the Lisdoonvarna sulphur springs, the use of which has been free to the public for a number of years. The people of the far-famed watering place have determined to resist by every legal means the threatened invasion of the public rights, and to fight out to the end the pretensions raised by the Representative Church Body. On the facts as disclosed the action of that body cannot be described other than as most unjustifiable.

Something like the same claim endeavoured to be sustained now was put forward thirty years ago by Captain Stackpoole, the former landlord of the district. He built a well house on the site ot the principal Spa which was walled in, the people being denied the access that up to that time they had freely enjoyed. The indignation felt by the people manifested itself in a practical manner. The gates set up by the landlord were blown up and the house damaged

A claim for compensation by Captain Stackpoole was opposed, and the judgment of the late Chief Baron Pigott was that the putting up of the gates constituted an infringement of the public rights. For the injury to the house some slight compensation was allowed, and there the matter rested until, some years after practically the same decision was delivered by Judge O’Brien

Subsequently the estate went into Chancery, and a local improvement committee having been formed, a lease of the house, grounds and wall was obtained at a rent of £15 a year. Since then the committee by the aid of voluntary subscriptions have improved and beautfied the Spa for the benefit of visitors. The house has been enlarged, modern pumps have been bought, new baths have been erected out of the funds collected by the committee. Now it appears that the Church Representative Body, who were the largest incumbrancers on the estate have bought out the other interests having claims upon the property, and as a consequence of their ownership the court lease given to the committee lapses. One of the first acts of the new landlords, regardless of the monies spent by the committee, has been to advertise the letting of the Spa, and even though the Improvement Committee made an offer to rent what is virtually the property of their own creation it has been rejected, it is said, in favour of a syndicate proposal to take over the springs and baths at £300 a year. These tacts demonstrate pretty clearly the injustice of the proceeding comteinplated by the Church Representative Body, and it is to be hoped that the people of Lisdoonvarna will succeed in defeating snch an aggressive and unwarrantable interference with public rights.

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The Clareman’s Farewell – 1897

New Zealand Tablet Vol XXI Issue 34, 31st December, 1897 p9

Poulnabrone dolmen, the Burren, County Clare Photo: Steve Ford Elliott  Wikimedia Commons
Poulnabrone dolmen, the Burren, County Clare
Photo: Steve Ford Elliott
Wikimedia Commons

To gallant Clare – my native vale,
I bid a last adieu.
Farewell you every hill and dale,
Farewell ye waters blue.

Farewell ye fields of gallant deeds,
And streams renowned in song,
Farewell ye mossy rocks and meads
My heart has loved so long.

Home of my love, my native home,
How oft I’ll sigh for thee.
When the raging billows, white with foam,
Shall part both you and me.

Then, fare thee well my lovely Clare;
Farewell to home and thee.
I ne’er shall find a spot so fair
As home and Clare to me


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The Coast of Clare – 1897

The Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare Photo: Michal Osmenda Wikimedia Commons
The Cliffs of Moher,
Co Clare
Photo: Michal Osmenda
Wikimedia Commons



Fancy being brought face to face with the great ocean representing on the map an expanse of water between the Irish and the American shores of no less than five thousand miles.  No intervening territory meets the eye the whole length of this prodigious waterway, no strip of land, no cliffs, not even a bare rock on which a sea bird might perch.  As a Clare boatman once said to a party of tourists;

“Just throw a stone from where you are now and it will fall into another world, barring it didn’t sink in the water.”


The surpassing grandeur of the great Atlantic ‘in breeze, or gale, or storm’ is in itself something to gaze upon.  There behold the mighty sea, almost along the entire shore, rolled back ‘from dusk till dawn, and from dawn till dusk again,’ in masses of foam against huge frowning, raven-coloured rocks.  The din of the conflict scarcely ever ceases, while day and night those sable cliffs valiantly repulse their fierce assailants.  


The cliffs of Moher, lining the coast of Clare for five miles, are in themselves a simple marvel. Moher, an iron-bound barrier, erected by Nature to repel the lashing fury of the ocean, is pronounced on all bands to be the finest pile of rock that guards the margin of our sea girt land. Try and imagine a serried array of boulders rising abruptly at low water mark to an altitude ranging from 600 to, it is said, 1,000 feet, and this is Moher.


These towers of the sea are not so tall as others in Ireland – for instance, in Crohahawn in Achill, or Slieveneague in Donegal.  It is to be remembered, however, that the precipitous cliffs on the Mayo coast repose in their sockets at an angle of about 45 degrees; but the Clare Peaks, sheer perpendicular elevations, stand rooted and immovable against the rage of the tempest, and are more than proof against almost perpetual winds from the west.


 Corcomroe Abbey The Burren, Co Clare Photo: Shaun Dunphy Creative Commons

Corcomroe Abbey
The Burren, Co Clare
Photo: Shaun Dunphy
Creative Commons

Some notion may be formed of the violence of western hurricanes on the coast of Clare by the fact that trees planted inwards fifty miles from the Cliffs of Moher acquire a bend towards the eastern horizon.  The power of the blasts off sea is enhanced by the indented character of the shore in this portion of Ireland.


Huge recesses of the Atlantic are frequent, and add immensely to the fascinations of the Clare Coast.  From Liscanor (sic) to Doonbeg the ocean forms a spacious bay at Corcomroe and other charming inlets of smaller size.  The fresh invigoration breezes, surcharged with ozone, that play around on all sides of the coast of Clare acknowledges no compeer anywhere.