A hearse, containing a coffin, is proceeding from right to left, followed by a long procession of mourners on foot and on horseback. It is drawn by a single horse led by a man. In the foreground, on the right, a silhouetted male figure, with a dog and walking-stick, is walking in the oppositie drection and removing his hat out of respect. There are two women in the carriage, one draped in black and in prayer, and the other with outstretched arms, mouth open in anguish. Behind them are several other women, possibly Irish keeners. To the left, in the background, is a small cabin or cottage, where a family stands watching. Four black plumes are set at the corners of the hearse's canopy; a winged figure with a scythe, balancing on one foot, adorns the centre. Several of the mourners are barefoot. The man who is leading the horse is holding its bridle in one hand and his boots in the other.
Inscribed in Image
|Subject(s)||Manners and customs, Rural life, Transportation|
|Keywords(s)||Cabins, Children, Cottages, Crowds, Dogs, Hats, Hearses, Horses, Men, Passengers, Peasants, People, Women|
|Published / created||1836|
|Travel Account||A Tour round Ireland [Barrow]|
|Print or manuscript|
|Location of image in copy||opp. p. 346|
|Source copy||National Library of Ireland Ir 9141 b 3|
Related text from travel account
|Soon after passing Kilmacthomas we met a great concourse of people, who seemed to have assembled to witness a sort of cross-country race, something resembling a steeple-chace [sic]; and on proceeding a few yards farther, I observed in the distance another large assemblage occupying the whole road as they approached towards us. The latter turned out to be a funeral procession. How different the pursuits!
This was probabaly the funeral of some wealthy farmer. It was the most numerously attended, and from the number of horsemen who brought up the rear, of which we had a full view as they descended a height, the most respectable of any I have seen in Ireland: there was an appearance too of state about it. The coffin was under a canopy displayed to view, and huddled up at each end of it sat two old women, whom I suppose to have been [p. 347] keeners*. They had the best of it, as it happened to be raining, as usual.
*Keener --- According to Dr. O Brien, the keen is a "cry for the dead, according to certain loud and mournful notes and verses, wherein the pedigree, land, property, generosity, and good actions of the deceased person and his ancestors are diligently and harmoniously recounted, in order to excite pity and compassion in the hearers, and to make them sensible of their great loss in the death of the person whom they lament." These women may be called professional, and are hired for the purpose. I did not, however, hear any of the "howl" or lamentation as they passed us. [pp. 346-347]