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Incidents in Ireland

Sunday, 10 (Easter day).—Never was such a congregation seen before at the sacrament in Athlone. I preached at three. Abundance of Papists flocked to hear; so that the priest, seeing his command did not avail, came in person at six and drove them away before him like a flock of sheep.

Tuesday, 12.—I rode to Clara, where I was quickly informed that there was to begin in an hour’s time a famous cockfight, to which almost all the country was coming from every side. Hoping to engage some part of them in a better employ, I began preaching in the street, as soon as possible. One or two hundred stopped, and listened a while, and pulled off their hats, and forgot their diversion.

The congregation at Tullamore in the evening was larger than ever before, and deep attention sat on every face.  Toward the latter end of the sermon, there began a violent storm of hail. I desired the people to cover their heads; but the greater part of them would not; nor did anyone go away till I concluded my discourse.

Friday, 15.—I rode to Edinderry. Abundance of people were quickly gathered together. Having been disturbed in the night by Mr. Swindells, who lay with me and had a kind of apoplectic fit, I was not at all well about noon when I began to preach, in a large walk, on one side of the town; the sun shone hot upon my head, which had been aching all the day; but I forgot this before I had spoken long; and when I had finished my discourse, I left all my weariness and pain behind and rode on in perfect health to Dublin.

Saturday, 23.—I read, some hours, an extremely dull book, Sir James Ware’s Antiquities of Ireland. By the vast number of ruins which are seen in all parts, I had always suspected what he sows at large, namely, that in ancient times it was more populous, tenfold, than it is now; many that were large cities being now ruinous heaps; many shrunk into inconsiderable villages.

I visited one in the afternoon who was ill of a fever, and lay in a very close room. While I was near him, I found myself not well. After my return home, I felt my stomach out of order. But I imagined it was not worth any notice and would pass off before the morning.

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