Hovel near the foot of the Reek

Artist(s) : John Barrow (Draughtsman), James Lee (Engraver)

Woodcut of a very poor dwelling near the foot of Croagh Patrick. Three figures are seen near the door, accompanied by a pig. One is a woman, the other two appear to be children; one of them is seated on the ground with back turned to the viewer. There is a stack of hay (?) against the right wall of the hovel, and a pool or pond nearby. The thatch is held in place by stones on ropes, and the rudimentary chimney at the near gable end is somewhat awry. The construction is part stone. No window is visible.

Inscribed in Image

  • Signature – Lee
  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – Hovel near the foot of the Reek.

Image Details

Genre Genre painting
Technique Woodcuts
Subject(s) Architecture, Rural life
Geographical Location
  • Croagh Patrick - Mountain - Here 'the Reek' refers to Croagh Patrick.
  • Mayo - County
  • Connaught - Province
Keywords(s) Buildings, Cabins, Children, Cottages, Doors & Doorways, Livestock, People, Pigs, Women
Colour Monochrome
Published / created 1836
Closely related image:
  • Catherine O’Donnell’s Hostelry – Thomas Colville Scott, in his Journal of a visit to Connemara (1853), appears to have copied this engraving by Lee under the title 'Catherine O'Donnell's Hostelry'.

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account A Tour round Ireland [Barrow]
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy p. 180
Source copy National Library of Ireland Ir 9141 b 3

Related text from travel account

I had here [the quay near Westport] the pleasure of making an acquaintance with Captain Shallard, chief officer of the Coast-guard Service. In taking a drive in his car to the foot of the Reek (as Croagh Patrick is familiarly called), we passed some of the most miserable hovels that I have yet seen, even in the flats of Mayo,—so bad that, without having convinced myself of the fact, I should scarcely have supposed them to be the habitations of human beings, but rather as sheds for the cattle, the more certainly so, had I seen the head of a cow, or some other four-footed beast, peeping out of the doorway, which I understand is no uncommon occurrence. Many of these cabins are built of stones, loosely heaped together, with no window; and the only place for the light to come in at, and the smoke to go out, is [p. 180] through a small hole in the miserably-thatched and sometimes sodded roof, at all times pervious to the rain, and through the doorway. No picture drawn by the pencil—none by the pen—can possibly convey an idea of the sad reality. The inmates, as may be supposed, are wretchedly clad in rags and tatters, and the children almost in a state of nudity. [pp. 179-180]
Hovel near the foot of the Reek