Swineford Car

Artist(s) : John Barrow (Draughtsman), S. Williams (Engraver)

Woodcut. An image of a rather basic 'car', or cart, with large wheels, from Swinford, Co. Mayo. There are two figures present: the driver, seated on the shaft, who is talking, and a gentleman (identified by his formal hat) who is listening.

Inscribed in Image

  • Signature – S. Williams
  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – Swineford Car.

Image Details

Genre Portrait
Technique Woodcuts
Subject(s) Rural life, Transportation
Geographical Location
  • Swinford - Town or city
  • Mayo - County
  • Connaught - Province
Keywords(s) Carts, Coach drivers, Harnesses, Horses, Men, Passengers
Colour Monochrome
Published / created 1836
Closely related image:
  • Mr Hitchens in pursuit of nuggets – Thomas Colville Scott, in his Journal of a visit to Connemara (1853) appears to have copied this engraving by Maclise, under the title 'Mr Hitchens in pursuit of nuggets'.

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account A Tour round Ireland [Barrow]
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy opposite p. 167
Source copy National Library of Ireland Ir 9141 b 3

Related text from travel account

However, as a last effort, I begged that it might be made known, without loss of time, throughout the village of Swineford, that a gentleman desirous of proceeding [p. 166] on important business to Castlebar, would pay no less a sum than 10s. for the hire of a horse. This I thought would be an irresistible appeal, and so it fortunately proved; for just as I was making up my mind to step into His Majesty’s mail-car, the driver of which being only the bearer of despatches, condescended to wait about half an hour on the chance of picking up a passenger for Ballina, it was announced that a horse had been procured. A car, I had been told, was in the house, which made all smooth, and I congratulated myself on the idea that I should travel the last stage in state for, let me tell you, that a gentleman travelling in a jaunting-car alone is an object of general admiration and respect. The car was announced to be ready, the baggage put on, and, having settled my bill, out I went, rejoicing at my good fortune; but picture to yourself my horror, on seeing my portmanteau perched on the bottom, not of a car but a cart, with two tall wheels, —without sides and without ends. The mail was gone, and I saw that there was nothing left for me but to proceed in this extraordinary conveyance. My portmanteau served for a seat, but so low a one, that my knees came in close contact with my chin, and being besides rather full and round, it was rather unsteady, and I found that it was as much as I could do to prevent myself from tumbling backwards on any sudden jerk, of which there were not a few in the course of the journey: the horse’s tail, too, came in such close contact with [image][p. 167] the vehicle as to prove an unwelcome visitor. The driver took his seat upon the shaft: but I must give you a sketch of a Swineford car, for no description of mine can convey a correct idea of it.
When all seemed ready I mounted the cart, with a feeling that I looked very much like one of those gentry who formerly used to take a morning’s drive to Tyburn in some such vehicle, though I was not like them, "loth to depart". But the landlady, who I have already hinted dealt largely in groceries, having numerous commissions to be performed in Castlebar, called the driver into the shop to give her directions, in which she seemed so much interested, as entirely to forget all about me. At last we got under way, and there I sat
"Aloft in awful state,"
to the evident amazement of a gentleman who happened to be at Swineford, at the inn hard by, collecting his rents. [pp. 165-167]
Swineford Car