Leaves for Ireland Today.
This evening Charles O’Flynn will leave over the Rock Island for his old home in Ireland to visit his father and other members of his family and old friends for six weeks or two months. He will reach New York Friday and will sail on a Cunnard line steamer Saturday. His object in going at this time is to be present at the ordination of his brother Patrick, who will soon come to the United States, take a special course at the Washington university, and, in due time, assume active priestly duties under Bishop
Conaty, of Los Angeles, California. Mr. O’Flynn may visit London and Paris before his return, though he had not yet made definite arrangements to do so. The Democrat wishes him a safe journey and a most enjoyable stay among the dear friends and the blissful scenes of his childhood days. He is a hard, tireless worker and he well deserves the vacation and the trip he proposes to take.
-- Emmetsburg Democrat; Emmetsburg, Palo Alto, Iowa;
Wednesday, June 1, 1904
WRITES OF EMERALD ISLE
Charles Flynn Writes a Most Interesting Letter Concerning his Visit to Ireland.
HIS RETURN TRIP DELIGHTFUL.
But Crew Was Made up of Mostly Foreigners, Which is Not So Agreeable to an Iowan.
Editor Democrat: I returned from Ireland Thursday morning after an absence of six weeks. I found the return trip most agreeable. The weather was bright and pleasant and the ocean was smooth. Not more than a dozen on board were sea sick on the voyage However, the trip was in some respects more agreeable going than it was returning. In going the passengers were mostly Americans or people who had become accustomed to our habits and customs In returning the passengers were largely foreigners and as such were not so companionable. Nor were they as well cared for by the ship’s crew, though I will say as a whole the officers and the people who work on the boat are as civil as one could expect. They are punctual and sympathetic and everything goes like clock work.
I wish to speak at length of many things in Ireland that came under my observation and which may prove interesting to your readers.
Conditions, of course, have changed greatly since I left my native land 25 years ago. The people have more advantages and more privileges. The world has been moving onward and England could not keep the people under her flag entirely out of the procession. The readers of the Democrat are aware of the new land bill that was recently enacted. Some have already made purchases under this measure, though as a rule, private ownership has not yet made much headway. This will come in the course of time. But the land holders are stiffening in their demands and will be benefited by the people’s delay. The average farm in the county of Cork, where my people live, comprises from 30 to 60 acres. A farmer with 60 acres keeps perhaps 20 cows. He sells his calves when they are from six to eight months old, at good prices, and he sends his milk to the creamery twice every day. He also raises considerable grain and hay and plenty of potatoes. The land is well tilled and everything is saved. Hay is now stored in barns on many farms. The only wonder is how people have saved their fodder so well heretofore because of the frequent rains. Some hay had been made when I left Ireland and I ate some new potatoes the day I was at Hollyhead, but they were very small. Grain will be ready to harvest about September 1st.
The past six weeks have been the finest that Ireland has had for a year. There was very little rain while I was there and people were feeling encouraged. They credited me with bringing them warmth and enthusiasm.
I found the climate delightful. I perspired only once while on my visit, which shows how mild the temperature is.
One thing I noticed in particular and that is the irregularity of the people in doing their daily work and their chores and in going to meals. They have their own time and, while many of them toil hard, they are not obliged to do everything at the right time as is the case in this country. Besides, they do not always work to the best advantage. There is a great deal in knowing how to make time and effort count. This is where the American excels. I reminded my old neighbors and friends of this fact and they felt thankful to me for my suggestions. I understand that this is true of working people in most countries of Europe. They do not do their work with anything like the ease that the Yankee does. You should not forget that we are all called “Yanks” on the other side of the water. Imagine what I would have said had some one called me a Yankee before I left Emmetsburg.
However, you will see a great deal of American farm machinery in Ireland. I noticed McCormick, Deering, Plano, and other familiar farm implements at various places, but of course they are not in use to such a general extent as they are in this country, for as a rule the Irish farmer I far behind the Palo Alto tiller of the soil. American implements sell there at about the same figures that they do here.
I did not notice any clothing stores in Ireland. Every small town has several tailors who will take your measure and make you a suit. N this account clothes are not any cheaper there than they are here, because in this country they are made in large quantities and largely by the aid of machinery. The same is true of boots and shoes, though I noticed American ready made shoes in several stores. The Irish shoe makers and tailors do not give you as good a fit as our American tradesmen, for the reason that they are not so closely in tough with the world of change and fashion as is the Yankee.
Laborers are scarce in Ireland because of the great emigration to this and other countries during the past thirty years. Hence wages are pretty good, comparatively speaking and living is cheap because personal needs are not so many as on this side of the Atlantic.
I felt an interest in the creameries in the section I visited. They are operated and conducted very much on the same plan that they are here but there seems to be half a dozen people working in each plant. This is more evidence of the ease, readiness and cheapness with which Americans do their work.
The Emerald Isle has splendid macadamized roads. They were made to last and are very substantial. I had the use of a speedy horse and turnout while there and I traveled a great deal through the country viewing old familiar scenes and visiting relatives and friends. Throughout the world the Irish people are noted for their friendship and their hospitality, but nowhere have I observed them so genial and open hearted as in their own country My stay was one continued round of pleasure.
Ireland is covered with villages, which are from two to four miles apart. Every village has its own post office, a few business houses, a church and school. Of course the great majority of the churches are Catholic. The schools are mostly in the villages. Male teachers have charge of the boys and the girls are taught by ladies. In many places there are excellent Catholic schools taught by the religious orders, but they are not so numerous as one would think in a country whose people are almost exclusively of one faith. The ordinary schools are national schools and are supported by public taxation. The discipline in these schools is good and the rules exacting. Ireland has made great progress in educational affairs during the past thirty years. A couple of centuries ago, history tells us, it was a crime punishable by death for a school master to follow his calling in that country because of the English penal code.
But Ireland has some advantages not possessed by us. It has the postal telegraph system. You can send a message from a postoffice in the island and have it delivered to a farmer or any one else living within a radius of three miles of the office for the small sum of twelve cents. In our own country the Western Union Telegraph company does what the government ought to do and the expense of such service costs from $1.75 to $2.50 and $3.00, depending on the distance it is to be sent after it is received. The Irish farmers also have had free rural mail delivery for many years- a blessing the Iowa farmer is just beginning to enjoy.
Cork, like Dublin, is a large, thirfty, neat, up-to-date city. Most of the business buildings are modern and the streets are well paved and clean. One can see as good a display in the window of a business house at Cork as he can in Chicago or New York thought it would not be so large. The business people are exceedingly courteous, though they quickly detect you, if you are an American, and you need not be surprised if some of them charge you American prices. In the hotels and restaurants, you pay practically the same prices for meals that you do here, though the cooking will not please you quite so well as will ordinary American victuals. Mutton is much more plentiful than beafsteak.
Cork is a place of 80,000 people, but it has poor newspapers. The editors are able, but the publisher has not the taste for news that the American has. There is more real news in the Emmetsburg Democrat than in the Cork Examiner and its advertisements are neater and better arranged. One don’t understand how to appreciate local journalistic enterprise until he has traveled a distance from home.
Everywhere you find people interested in our great country. One English gentleman whom I met ridiculed our divorce laws. I told him that id did not approve of them. He informed me that there are no divorce laws in Ireland. Release from the marriage bond in that country must be by a special act of parliament. Though I was perhaps more opposed to divorce than he was, it is not a pleasure to have American laws and customs criticised in a foreign land. I got even with him by telling him that our country did not have to be policed to maintain order. I told him that in my home city of nearly 3,000 people we had only one day policeman, or marshal, and one night watch, and that they were very seldom called into service. He seemed astonished at this. I also made other comparisons that did not add to his peace of mind.
After I had spent ten days with my father, who is 85, an and uncle, who is 96, both of whom are strong and hearty, and with my brothers and sister, I took the train to Dublin. I enjoyed the trip. The scenery was beautiful and I saw some fine fields and pastures. In four hours and forty minutes I reached the capital and as I alighted I ran across a gentleman whom I had met on the Lucania. Greetings and a brief chat were of course enjoyed. I took the belt line for the North Wall pier. I passed by Glasnevin, that ancient Irish cemetery. It contain the resting place of many patriots whose names will live in history for centuries to come. The place is a most interesting one to visit, but as my time was limited, I could not tarry long. By a little strategy, I was enabled to take passage on a transport for Hollyhead, Wales. Dublin has a good harbor. In it can be found two kinds of water, fresh and salt. The fresh is from the Liffey river and the salt from the Irish sea which is almost about three miles distant. In going out you can see the Hills of Howth on the north and the Wicklow mountains on the west. It took us four hours and forty minutes to get to Hollyhead. It was a pleasant trip and the sea was mild and beautiful. As soon as you have lost sight of Ireland you can see the hills near Hollyhead. When we reached there, I went to the Royal hotel owned by the London & Northwestern Railway company. It is an immense structure and is conducted by the company. About 70 people are employed in it. Miss Elizabeth Jones, sister to Peter E. Jones, of Emmetsburg, has charge of it. I had a letter of introduction and Miss Jones was quickly notified by the porter than an American gentleman was in the hall and wished to see her. It is needless to say that I was a welcome caller, because I was from Emmetsburg where her brother is engaged in business. She is a cultured, benevolent lady and spared no effort to make my brief stay agreeable I shall never forget my pleasant trip to Hollyhead and the hospitable entertainment I received.
The next day I returned to Dublin and spent five hours in the capital. I visited many places of business as well as historic interest. It is a pretty city of 260,000 people. The streets are wide and clean. There are some very fine public buildings and edifices in Dublin, among which might be mentioned the Four Courts, Trinity college, St. Patrick’s cathedral, founded in 1190 and the church of St Savior. In the latter named edifice I saw the sacrifice of the mass offered up on three different altars at the same time.
The city has splendid electric street cars that are run on the American plan. In the business houses you can see American bacon, hams, flour, etc. Dublin has the finest horse I ever saw. I thought New York took the cake in this particular, but when I reached the city on the Liffey I changed my mind. I visited Castle Yard and was courteously received, because of being a “Yankee”. Nelson monument to be seen on the streets of Dublin, which is 134 feet high, is interesting to all travelers, but those of O’Connell and Grattan were more pleasing to me. I had to hurry back to Milford, and was unable to see other places I had planned on visiting. Besides, one soon becomes weary of sight seeing and yearns to return to the familiar scenes of home. Such was my experience.
Several days later I made adieu to the faces and scenes I may never behold again and was soon on my way to Queenstown to set sail for fair Columbia. I felt lonesome, of course, when leaving those whose love and affection I had cherished so tenderly from childhood, but an American little realizes the pride with which his heart swells as he starts back over the depths of the mighty Atlantic or the land over which floats the glorious stars and stripes.
Charles Flynn returned from
Thursday morning. He had a most delightful trip, but is pleased to be home
again He brought with him some beautiful views of
, Queenstown, and the lakes of Killarney, and many other souvenirs that he
will long treasure. He favored the Democrat with a handsome paper weight
showing St. Patrick’s street in
. He also brought us a copy of the Cunard Daily Bulletin, which is printed
regularly on the vessel on which he came It contains all the important
messages received on board by the means of wireless telegraphy, and other
information. It sells for five cents per copy. This is an advantage that
was not enjoyed by people who crossed the ocean two or three years ago.
Elsewhere in this issue appears a second letter from Mr. Flynn describing
his trip and the interesting things that came under his observation.
-- Emmetsburg Democrat; Emmetsburg, Palo Alto,
Iowa; July 20, 1904