Catherine O’Donnell’s Hostelry

Artist(s) : Thomas Colville Scott (Draughtsman)

Sketch of a cottage, with thatch held in place by stones, a rudimentary chimney and plank door. A woman and young girl, standing near the closed door, face the viewer. Another child is seated on the ground, close to a pig. Some unidentified material (hay, straw or manure) is heaped against the house.
Tim Robinson notes that the cottage, but not the figures, were copied from an illustration referring to Leitrim in Mr and Mrs S.C. Hall’s Ireland: its Scenery, Character, &c., vol. III (London, 1843).

Thomas Colville Scott, Connemara after the Famine: Journal of a Survey of the Martin Estate, 1853, edited & introduced by Tim Robinson (Dublin: Lilliput Press, 1995).

Inscribed in Image

  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – "Catherine O’Donnell’s" Hostlry

Image Details

Genre Genre painting
Technique Pencil works
Subject(s) Architecture, Rural life
Geographical Location
  • Connemara - Region
  • Galway - County
  • Connaught - Province
Keywords(s) Cabins, Children, Chimneys, Cottages, Doors & Doorways, Livestock, Peasants, People, Pigs, Women
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 6 cm x 11 cm
Published / created 1853
Closely related image:
  • Hovel near the foot of the Reek – This appears to be a copy of an engraving by Lee entitled 'Hovel at the Foot of the Reeks', in John Barrow's A Tour round Ireland (1836).

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Ireland: Journal of a visit to Connemara
Print or manuscript Manuscript
Location of image in copy p. 29
Source copy National Library of Ireland MS 49525
Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

‘Miss Catherine O’Donnell’, our Landlady, now baked a loaf for us of ½ barley ½ Indian meal, the oven being a metal pot, set in a turf fire. We soon dispatched the said loaf, with the Oysters we had gathered and tea of our own manufacture, and then returning to our respective corners of the room, we sunk into the arms of ‘Tired nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep’, which unlike the world ‘A ready visit paid’, though fortune didn’t ‘smile’, as the Poet says, at first to secure the above consummation, ‘So devoutly to be wished’ / Sleeping in a cottage in such a wild district, swarming with semi-amphibious, semi-barbarous Celts, with boltless door, and not even a spare chair to secure it with, – we, as a consequence, lay in a dreamy, watchful state, – and imagine our sensations, when almost simultaneously, at the dead hour of night, we felt ourselves suddenly seized hold of in various parts of the body at the same moment, without the power of resistance! For several minutes before awakening to actual consciousness, a sensation of uneasiness had crept over me, but not being undressed, and only encumbered with our plaids and mackintoshes, we imagined if not secure from molestation, we were at all events, ready for resistance: but the stealthiness of the bloodthirsty Irish Flea had received so great a stimulus from recent privations, that we were pounced upon and made a glorious meal of before we could turn upon our enemies, – and in vain we said, or sung: – ‘What ails these fleas they bite me so, / I never did them wrong!’/ The stipendiary Magistrate comes here periodically, and this is where he sleeps by night, and holds his court by day! It is fortunate these cannibalized companions of the Celt, do not prevent the incursions of Justice into their dominions; but I feel they will long be a barrier to fraternity with the Saxon. [pp. 27-29]
Catherine O’Donnell’s Hostelry