CELT document E610003-001

Rare Adventures in Ireland in 1619

William Lithgow

10. part X


But now having finished the two descriptions of my first and second adventures, it rests now most necessary to relate the meritorious design, and miserable effect, of my third voyage. After I had (I say), by the great providence of God, escaped infinite dangers by seas, suffering thrice shipwreck; by land, in woods, and on mountains, often invaded; by ravenous beasts, crawling and venomous worms, daily incumbered; by home-bred robbers, and remote savages, five times stripped to the skin; excessive fatigue, unspeakable adversities, parching heats, scorching drought, intolerable distresses of hunger, imprisonments, and cold; yet all these almost incredible sufferings past, could never abate the flame of my austere affection conceived; but ambitious curiosity exposing me to a third voyage, I may say as Aeneas did in his penitential mood,

  1. O socii, (neque enim ignari sumus ante malorum)
    O passi graviora: dabit Deus his quoque finem.
  1. O socials! we're not ignorant of losses;
    O sufferings sad, God too will end these crosses.

But to observe a methodical order, I think it best to shew the unacquainted reader a reasonable satisfaction for undertaking this third, and almost invincible attempt.

First, The most special and urgent cause proceeded from a necessary good (the necessity of knowledge) in the requisite perfection of Europe's full and spacious sight, the ancient tierce, and now most Christian world, leaving formerly no part thereof unseen, as well under  p.404 the Turk as Christian, except Ireland, and the half of Spain.

Certain approved reasons. The second cause was moved from a more insatiate content, that when I had compassed all Europe, my resolution was, to travel a larger extent of ground in Afric than formerly I had done twice before, even to Aethiopia, Prester John's domininons. For the same effect, and a greater impression to my resolution, I set pen to paper, drawing from the distaff of the muses a poetical pamphlet, dedicated to themselves, to their profound Apollo, his then hopeful heir, and divers noble peers of both kingdoms.

And having, from a royal favour, obtained his Majesty's letters, and seals of safe conduct, and regal recommendation to all kings, princes, and dukes, &c. I, in all obsequious humility, bid farewel to this sequestrate and most auspicious monarchy; and arriving at Dublin in Ireland, August 22, 1619, I saluted the Right Honourable Sir Oliver St John's, late Lord Grandison, and then Lord-deputy there; to whom, for regard and singular courtesies, I was greatly obliged; so was I also to many of the English nobility and knighthood there, who, through the whole country where-ever I came, entertained me kindly, sending guides with me from place to place; yea, and sometimes safeguards also; beside in their houses great good cheer and welcome. The matchless Lord Chichester, for virtue, wisdom, and valour. But in special, a dutiful remembrance I owe to the memory of that once judicious and religous Lord Arthur, late Lord Chichester, Baron of Belfast, &c.; who, in his time, for virtue, wisdom, and valour, wore the diadem of love, and garland of true nobleness. Of whom, and for whose loss, if I should more praise, and longer lament, my ink would turn to brinish tears, and I to helpless sorrow. But leaving him who lived in goodness here, and now in glory for ever, I celebrate these lines to his eternal fame.


  1. If ever bounty shin'd in loyal breast,
    If ever judgement flow'd from generous mouth,
    If ever viceroy rul'd this kingdom best,
    If ever valour honour'd hopeful youth,
    If ever wisdom Astrea's worth possess'd,
    If ever virtue was inclin'd to ruth,
    If ever justice enormities redress'd,
    If ever patron pattern was of truth;
    Then, noble Chichester, the heavens assign,
    These gifts (thy honour'd parts) were truly thine.

And now, after a general survey of the whole kingdom (the north-west part of Canoch excepted) was accomplished, from the 1st of September till the last of February, I found the goodness of the soil more than answerable to my expectation, the defect only remaining (not speaking of our colonies) in the people, and from them, in the bosom of two graceless sisters, Ignorance and Sluggishness.

The four provinces of Ireland. This kingdom is divided into four provinces, although some make five, that is, eastern and western Maith; but they are understood to be annexed to Leinster. Their names are these, Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and Canoch; the southmost wherof is Munster, a soil (and so is Leinster in most parts) nothing inferior, if seasonably manured, to the best grounds in England. The island lieth almost in a rotundo, being every way spacious; the greatest river whereof is Shannon, whose course amounteth to a hundred and sixty miles, inclosing within it many little isles.

And this I dare avow, there are more rivers, lakes, brooks, strands, quagmires, bogs, and marshes in this country, than in all Christendom besides; for travelling there in the winter, all my daily solace was sinkdown comfort; sometimes boggy plunging deeps, touching my horse's belly; sometimes over-mired saddle, body, and all; and often and ever set a swimming, in great danger, both I and my guides, of our lives;  p.406 that for cloudy and fountain-bred perils, I was never before reduced to such a floating labyrinth. Considering that, in five months space, I quite spoiled six horses, and myself as tired as the worst of them.

And now I call to memory, (not without derision), though I conceal the particular place and prelate, it was my fortune, in the county of Dunnegal, to be jovial with a bishop at his table; where, after divers discourses, my ghostly father grew offended with me for terming of his wife mistress; which, when understood, I both called her Madam and Lady Bishop. Whereupon he grew more incensed, and I left him unsatisfied. Resolve me, reader, if it be the custom here or not? and if, amends shall repay oversight, a ghostly wife shall be still Madam Lady with me; if not, my observed manner shall be Mistress.

The ignorant and sluggish life of the common Irish. But now, to come to my intended discourse of Ireland, true it is, to make a fit comparison, the Barbarian Moor, the Moorish Spaniard, the Turk, and the Irishman, are the least industrious, and most sluggish livers under the sun; for the vulgar Irish, I protest, live more miserably in their brutish fashion, than the undaunted or untamed Arabian, the devilish idolatrous Turkoman, or the moon-worshipping Caramines; shewing thereby a greater necessity they have to live, than any pleasure they have, or can have, in their living.

Their fabrics are advanced three or four yards high, pavilion-like incircling, erected in a singular frame of smoke-torn straw, green long-pricked turf, and rain-dropping wattles. Their several rooms, of palatiate divisions, as chambers, halls, parlours, kitchens, barns, and stables, are all inclosed in one, and that one perhaps in the midst of a mire; where, when in foul weather, scarcely can they find a dry part whereupon to repose their cloud-baptized heads. Their shirts being woven of the wool or linen of their own nature, and their penurious food like to their ruvid condition.


And, lastly, these only titular Christians are so ignorant in their superstitious profession of Popery, that neither they, nor the greatest part of their priests, know or understand what the mystery of the mass is, which they daily see, and the other celebrate, nor what the name of Jesus is, either in his divine or human nature. Ask him of his religion, he replieth, What his father, his great-grandfather were, that will he be also. And hundreds of better than the common sort have demanded me, if Jerusalem and Christ's sepulchre were in Ireland, and if the Holy Land was contiguous with St Patrick's purgatory?

A foolish and superstitious error. They also, at the sight of each new moon 1, (I speak it credibly), bequeath their cattle to her protection, humbly imploring the pale lady of the night, that she will leave their bestial in as good plight as she found them; and if sick, scabbed, or sore, they solicit her maiden-faced Majesty to restore them to their health. In which absurdity they far surmount the filly Sabunks, and Garolinean Moors of Libya 2. Indeed of all things (besides their ignorance) I only lamented their heavy bondage under three kinds of masters; the landlord for his rent, the minister for his  p.408 tithes, and the Romish priest for his fees. And remark, when their own Irish rent-masters have any voyage for Dublin, or peradventure superspended at home in feasting of strangers, then must these poor ones be taxed and afflicted with the supply of the wasted provision of their prodigal houses; otherwise in supporting their superfluous charges for Dublin.

O what a slavish servitude do these silly wretches endure, the most part of whom, in all their lives, have never third-part food, nature's clothing, nor a secure shelter for the winter's cold!

The miserable sight whereof, and their sad-sounding groans, have often drawn a sorrowful remorse from my humane compassion.

As for their gentry, such as are brought up here at London, learn to become a great deal more civil than those who are brought up at home, after their own rude and accustomable manner. And this I observed, in my traversing the whole kingdom, I never saw one or other, neither could move any of that nation to pledge or present his Majesty's health; but as many other healths as you please, they will both fasten and receive from you, till they fall in the muddy hotch-potch of their dead grandfathers understanding. Indeed for entertainment of strangers, they are freely disposed; and there gentlemen of any good sort, reserve ever in their houses Spanish sack, and Irish uscova, and will be as tipsy with their wives, their priests, and their friends, as though they were naturally infeoft in the eleven royal taverns of Naples.

Two intolerable abuses in Ireland. And now, amongst many, there are two intolerable abuses of protections in that kingdom; the one of thieves and wood-carns, the other of priests and Papists. I discourse of these corruptions now as I found them then. 3


The first is prejudicial to all Christian civility, tranquil government, and a great discouragement for our colonised planters there, belonging to both soils of this island, being daily molested, and nightly incumbered, with these blood-sucking rebels.

And notwithstanding of their barbarous cruelty, ever executed at all advantages, with slaughter and murder upon the Scots and English dwellers there 4, yet they  p.410 have, and find at their own wills, simonaical protections, for lesser or longer times; ever as the confused disposers have their law-sold hands filled with the bloody bribes of slaughtered lives, highway and house robbed people. And then thereafter, their ill-got means being spent, like unto dogs, they return back to their former vomit; so juggling with their in and out goings, like to the restless ocean, that they cannot, nor ever did, become true subjects to our King, nor faithful friends to their country.The filthy corruption of Irish priests and wood-carns, thievish rebels. Unless, by extremity of justice, the one still hanged before the other, the remnant by the gallows may exemplify amendment, contrariwise, that land shall never be quiet: for these villanous wood-carns are but the hounds of their hunting priests, against what faction soever their malicious malignity is intended; partly for entertainment, partly for particular spleens, and lastly for a general disturbance of the country, for the priests greater security and stay.

The other abuse is, their libertinous masses; the redress whereof, I first to the heavens, and then to my prince bequeath; whose sabbath recusant money, whereof they brag, (as they say), in derision of our luke-warm dispensation, tendeth to none other purpose, but to obumbrate the true light of the gospel, and to feed their absurd and almost irrevocable ignorance.

And nevertheless, at their daily meetings, (experience taught me), there was never a more repining people against our prince and church as they be: for in this presumption a two-fold cause ariseth, want of zeal, and church discipline on our part, and the officious nine-penny mass on their part; yea, all and each of them, so exacted and compounded with at higher or lower rates, as the officers in this nature please.

The distribution whereof I no wise parallel to the flight concaviating veins of the earth, nor the sole supply of high-rising Atlas, neither to envelop the perpendiculars of long-reaching Caucasus; howsoever demolished  p.411 churches, impassable bridges, indigent scholars, and distressed families, be supported therewith, I am as clear of it as they, although I smart by the contrary confusion.

A bad and uncivil husbandry in Ireland. But leaving this, and observing my method, I remember I saw in the north parts of Ireland two remarkable sights; the one was their manner of tillage, ploughs drawn by horse-tails, wanting garnishing, they are only fastened with straw, or wooden ropes, to their bare rumps, marching all side for side, three or four in a rank, and as many men hanging by the ends of that untoward labour. It is as bad a husbandry, I say, as ever I found among the wildest savages alive; for Caramines, who understand not the civil form of agriculture, yet they delve, hollow, and turn over the ground, with manual and wooden instruments. But the Irish have thousands of both kingdoms daily labouring beside them; yet they cannot learn, because they will not learn, to use garnishing, so obstinate they are in their barbarous customs, unless punishment and penalties were inflicted; and yet most of them are content to pay twenty shillings a-year, before they will change their custom.

Northern Irish women giving suck to their babes behind their shoulders. The other as goodly sight I saw was women traveling or toiling at home, carrying their infants about their necks, and laying their dugs over their shoulders, would give suck to the babes behind their backs, without taking them in their arms. Such kind of breasts, methinketh, were very fit to be made money-bags for East or West Indian merchants, being more than half a yard long, and as well wrought as any tanner, in the like charge, could ever mollify such leather.

As for any other customs they have, to avoid prolixity, I spare: only, before my pen fly over seas, I would gladly shake hands with some of our churchmen  p.412 there; for better are the wounds of a friend, than the sweet smile of a flatterer; for love and truth cannot dissemble.

Many dissembling impudents intrude themselves in this high calling of God, who are not truly, neither worthily, thereunto called; the ground here arising either from a carnal or careless presumption, otherwise from needy, greedy, and lack of bodily maintenance.

An ecclesiastic corruption in unlawful preachers. Such is now the corruption of time, that I know here even mechanic men admitted in the place of pastors; yea, and rude-bred soldiers, whose education was at the musket-mouth, are become there both Libyan grave, and unlearned churchmen; nay, besides them professed, indeed professed scholars, whose warbling mouths, ingorged with spoonfuls of bruised Latin, seldom or never expressed, unless the force of quaffing spew it forth from their empty sculls; such, I say, confine their doctrine between the thatch and the churchwalls tops; and yet their smallest stipends shall amount to one, two, three, or four hundred pounds a year.

Whereupon you may demand me, how spend they or how deserve they this? I answer, Their deserts are nought, and the fruit thereof as naughtily spent; for sermons and prayers they never have any; neither have they ever preached any, nor can preach.

And although some could, as perhaps they seeming would, they shall have no auditor (as they say) but bare walls, the plants of their parishes being the roots of mere Irish. As concerning their carriage in spending such sacrilegious fees, the course is thus.

The alehouse is their church, the Irish priests their conforts; their auditors be, Fill and fetch more; their text Spanish sack, their prayers carousing, their singing of psalms whiffing of tobacco, their last blessing aqua vitae, and all their doctrine found drunkenness.


A flattering covenant betwixt ministers and mass-priests. And whensoever these parties do meet, their parting is Dane-like, from a Dutch pot, and the minister, still purse-bearer, defrayeth all charges for the priest. Arguments of religion, like Podolian Polonians, they succumb; their conference only pleading mutual forbearance; the minister afraid of the priest's wood-carns, and the priests as fearful of the minister's apprehending or denoting them; contracting thereby by Gibeonized covenant; yea, and for more submission's sake, he will give way to the priest to mumble mass in his church, where in all his life he never made prayer nor sermon.

Lo there are some of the abuses of our late weak and straggling ecclesiastics there, and the soul-sunk sorrow of godless epicures and hypocrites.

To all which, and much more, have I been an ocular testator, and sometimes a constrained consociate to their companionry; yet not so much inforced, as desirous to know the behaviour and conversation of such mercenary Jebusites.

Great God amend it, for it is great pity to behold it; and if it continue so still, as when I saw them last, O far better it were, that these ill-bestowed tithes, and church-wall rents, were distributed to the poor and needy, than to suffocate the swine-fed bellies of such idle and profane parasites.

And here another general abuse I observed, that whensoever any Irish die, the friend of the defunct (besides other fees) paying twenty shillings to the English curate, shall get the corpse of the deceased to be buried within the church, yea often even under the pulpit-foot; and for lucre, interred in God's sanctuary when dead, who, when alive, would never approach nor enter the gates of Sion, to worship the Lord, nor conform themselves to true religion.

Truly such, and the like abuses, and evil examples of lewd lives, have been the greatest hindrance of that land's conversion; for such, like wolves, have been from  p.414 time to time, but stumbling blocks before them; regarding more their own sensual and licentious ends, than the glory of God, in converting of one soul unto his church.

Ministerial offices strangely abused. Now as concerning the unconscionable carriage of the Irish clergy, ask me, and there my reply. As many of them (for the most part) as are Protestant ministers, have their wives, children, and servants invested Papists; and many of these churchmen at the hour of their death, like dogs return back to their former vomit. Witness the late Vicar of Calin (belonging to the late and last Richard Earl of Desmond, who being on his deathbed, and having two hundred pounds a year; finding himself to forsake both life and stipend, sent straight for a Romish priest, and received the Popish sacrament: confessing freely in my hearing, that he had been a Roman-catholic all his life, dissembling only with his religion, for the better maintaining of his wife and children. And being brought to the burial-place, he was interred in the church, with which he had played the ruffian all his life; being openly carried at mid-day with Jesuits, priests, and friars of his own nation, and after a contemptible manner, in derision of our profession, and laws of the kingdom.

Infinite more examples of this kind could I recite, and the like resemblances of some being alive; but I respectfully suspend, (wishing a reformation of such deformity), and so concludeth their clerical corruption there. Yet I would not have the reader to think, that I condemn all our clergy there; no, God forbid; for I know there are many sound and religious preachers of both kingdoms among them, who make conscience of their calling, and live as lanthorns to incapable ignorants, and to those straggling Stoicks I complain of condemnatory judges; for it is a grevious thing to see incapable men to juggle with the high mysteries of man's salvation.


And now after the fastidious ending of a tempestuous rain-sacking toil, I embarked at Yoghall in Munster, February 27, 1620, in a little French pink bound for St Malo in Bretagne.

Document details

The TEI Header

File description

Title statement

Title (uniform): Rare Adventures in Ireland in 1619

Author: William Lithgow

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled by: Ruth Murphy

Proof corrections by: Ruth Murphy

Edition statement

2. Second draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 5800 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of the History Department, University College Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2009

Date: 2012

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E610003-001

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description


  1. William Lithgow, The totall discourse of the rare adventures & painefull peregrinations of long nineteene years travayles from Scotland to the most famous Kingdomes in Europe, Asia and Affrica. 1606. Reprinted 1632.
  2. William Lithgow, Lithgow's nineteen years travels through the most eminent places in the habitable world: Containing an exact description of the customs, laws, religion, policies, and government of emperors, kings, and princes; also of the countries and cities, trades, rivers, and commerce in all places through which he travell'd. Also an account of the tortures he suffered under the Spanish Inquisition, by racking, and other inhumane usages, for his owning the Protestant religion. Together, with his miraculous deliverance from the cruelties of the papists, which far exceeded any of the heathen countries, herein largely described. Tenth edition. London: printed by J. Millet, for M. Wotton at the three Daggers in Fleet-street, G. Conyers in Little-Britain, and T. Passinger at the Three Bibles and Star on London-Bridge, 1692.
  3. William Lithgow, Travels and Voyages, though Europe, Asia, and Africa, for nineteen years. Containing An Account of the Religion, Government, Policy, Laws, Customs, Trade, &c. of the several countries through which the Author travelled; and a Description of Jerusalem, and many other remarkable places mentioned in Sacred and Profane History: Also A Narrative of the tortures he suffered in the Spanish Inquisition, and of his miraculous deliverance from those cruelties. By William Lithgow. The Eleventh edition. Embellished with Copperplates, and illustrated with Notes from later Travellers. Edinburgh: Printed by A. Murray and J. Cochran. For J. Meuros, Bookseller, Kilmarnock. 1770.
  4. William Lithgow, The totall discourse of the rare adventures & painefull peregrinations of long nineteene years travayles from Scotland to the most famous Kingdomes in Europe, Asia and Affrica. Glasgow, 1906.
  5. William Lithgow, Rare Adventures & Painful Peregrinations by William Lithgow, New York: Cosimo, Inc. 2005.

Other publications by William Lithgow

  1. James Maidment (ed.), The poetical remains of William Lithgow, the Scotish traveller. M.DC.XVIII.–M.DC.LX. Now first collected. By William Lithgow. Edinburgh: Thomas George Stevenson 1863.
  2. William Lithgow, A most delectable and true discourse of an admired and painefnll [sic] peregrination from Scotland, to the most famous kingdomes in Europe, Asia and Affrica: With the particular descriptions (more exactly set downe then haue beene heretofore in English) of Italy, Sycilia, Dalmatia, Ilyria, Epire, Peloponensus, Macedonia, Thessalia, and the whole continent of Greece, Creta, Rhodes, the iles Cyclades ... and the chiefest couutries [sic] of Asia Minor. From thence, to Cyprus, Phaenicia, Syria ... and the sacred city Ierusalem, &c. London 1614. -- The second impression, correctrd [sic] and enlarged by the authour William Lithgoww. 1616. -- Newly imprinted, and exactly inlarged, by the author William Lithgow; with certaine rare relations of his second, and third trauels, London 1623.
  3. William Lithgow, The pilgrimes farewell, to his natiue countrey of Scotland: wherein is contained, in way of dialogue, the ioyes and miseries of peregrination. With his Lamentado in his second trauels, his Passionado on the Rhyne, diuerse other insertings, and farewels, to noble personages, and, the heremites welcome to his third pilgrimage, &c. Worthie to be seene and read of all gallant spirits, and pompe-expecting eyes. Edinburgh 1618.
  4. William Lithgow, Scotlands welcome to her native sonne, and soveraigne lord, King Charles: wherein is also contained, the maner of his coronation, and convocation of Parliament; the whole grievances, and abuses of the common-wealth of this kingdome, with diverse other relations, never heretofore published. Worthy to be by all the nobles and gentry perused; and to be layed vp in the hearts, and chests of the whole commouns, whose interests may best claime it, either in meane, or maner, from which their priuiledges, and fortunes are drawne, as from the loadstar of true direction. Edinburgh 1633.
  5. William Lithgow, A true and experimentall discourse, upon the beginning, proceeding, and victorious event of this last siege of Breda: With the antiquity and annexing of it, to the house of Nassaw, and the many alterations it hath suffered by armes, and armies, within these threescore yeares. Together with the prudent plots, projects, and policies of warre: the assailants and defendants matchlesse man-hood, in managing martiall affaires: the misery and manner of souldiers living, their pinching want, and fatall accidents: strange weapons and instruments used by both parties in severall conflicts. Lastly, their concluded articles, with circumstances and ordering of the siege and victory. Being pleasant to peruse, and profitable to observe. Written by him who was an eye witnesse of the siege. London 1637.
  6. William Lithgow, A briefe and summarie discourse upon that lamentable and dreadfull disaster at Dunglasse. Anno 1640. the penult of August: Collected from the soundest and best instructions, that time and place could certainly affoord, the serious enquirie of the painfull and industrious author. Edinburgh 1640.
  7. William Lithgow, The Present Surveigh of London and Englands State. Containing a topographicall Description of all the Particular Forts, Redoubts, Breast-works, and Trenches newly erected round about the Citie on both sides of the River, with the severall Fortifications thereof. And a perfect Relation of some fatall accidents, and other disasters, which fell out in the City and Countrey, during the Author's abode there. Intermingled with certaine severall Observations worthie of light and memorie. London 1643. Reprinted London 1810.
  8. William Lithgow, An Experimentall and Exact Relation upon that famous and renowned Siege of Newcastle: The diverse Conflicts and Occurances fell out there during the Time of ten weeks and odde dayes: and of that mightie and marveilous Storming thereof, with power, policie, and prudent plots of warre. Together with a succinct commentarie upon the Battell of Bawden Hill, and that victorious Battell of York or Marston Moor, never to be forgotten, by him who was an eye witness to the siege of newcastle, William Lithgow. Edinburgh 1645.
  9. William Lithgow, Scotland's Teares (for the death of King James VI), Manuscript in the Library of the Perth Society of Antiquaries, La. IV. 27.53 fols 1–14. [Poem is reproduced from "The Poetical Remains of William Lithgow, the Scotish traveller. M.DC.XVIII.–M.DC.LX."] Electronically published, Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey 1992.

Secondary literature

  1. Thomas Reid, Notes on the Life of William Lithgow, Traveller, in: Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, April 10, 1911, 403–419.
  2. Boies Penrose, Urbane travelers, 1591–1635. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; London: H. Milford; Oxford: Oxford University Press 1942.
  3. Clifford Edmund Bosworth, William Lithgow of Lanark's Travels in North Africa, 1615–16, in: Journal of Semitic Studies 23/2 (1978) 199–215.
  4. Clifford Edmund Bosworth, William Lithgow of Lanark's Travels in Greece and Turkey, 1609–11, in: Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, Manchester,  65/2 (1983) 8–36.
  5. James Robert Burns, William Lithgow's Totall discourse of 1632 and late sixteenth and seventeenth century travel narratives. MPhil Thesis, University of Oxford, 1994.
  6. Clifford Edmund Bosworth, William Lithgow of Lanark's Travels in Hungary, Transylvania and Poland, 1616, in: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 375 (2004) 298–312.
  7. Clifford Edmund Bosworth, An intrepid Scot: William Lithgow of Lanark's travels in the Ottoman lands, North Africa and Central Europe, 1609-21. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006.
  8. Andrew Hadfield and John McVeagh (eds.), Strangers to that land: British perceptions of Ireland from the reformation to the famine. Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire 1994.
  9. Constantia Maxwell, The stranger in Ireland: from the reign of Elizabeth to the Great Famine (London 1954).
  10. John McVeagh (ed.), Irish Travel Writing. A Bibliography (Dublin 1996).
  11. C. J. Woods, Travellers' accounts as source material for Irish historians (Dublin 2009).

The edition used in the digital edition

Lithgow, William (1770). Travels and Voyages through Europe, Asia and Africa, for nineteen years [...]‍ xvii + 490 pages. Edinburgh: Printed by A. Murray and J. Cochran for J. Meuros, Bookseller, Kilmarnock.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  title 	 = {Travels and Voyages through Europe, Asia and Africa, for nineteen years [...]},
  author 	 = {William Lithgow},
  edition 	 = {0},
  note 	 = {xvii + 490 pages},
  publisher 	 = {Printed by A. Murray and J. Cochran for J. Meuros, Bookseller, Kilmarnock},
  address 	 = {Edinburgh},
  date 	 = {1770}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling declarations

The present text covers pages 403–415 of the volume.

Editorial declarations

Correction: Text has been proof-read twice and parsed.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text. Words and phrases in languages other than English are tagged.

Quotation: Direct speech is tagged q.

Hyphenation: Soft hyphens are silently removed. When a hyphenated word (and subsequent punctuation mark) crosses a page-break, this break is marked after the completion of the word (and punctuation mark).

Segmentation: div0=the description; div1=the section. Page-breaks are marked pb n="".

Standard values: Dates are standardized in the ISO form yyyy-mm-dd.

Interpretation: Dates are not tagged.

Profile description

Creation: by William Lithgow 1619–1620

Language usage

  • The original early seventeenth-century English has been brought in line with eighteenth-century usage. (en)
  • Some citations are in Latin. (la)
  • Some Irish words occur in anglicized spelling. (ga)

Keywords: travel; description; prose; 17c; Ireland; customs

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2012-06-06: More place-names encoded; new SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2010-07-15: Conversion script run, header updated; addition to bibliography made, new wordcount made; file parsed; new SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2009-05-29: Header created; bibliography inserted; file proofed (2); file parsed; dates, titles and personal names encoded; SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2009-05: Structural and content markup applied to file; bibliography compiled. (ed. Ruth Murphy)
  5. 2009-04: Text keyed in from the 1770 edition, and proofed (1); illegible portions compared with 1619 edition. (ed. Ruth Murphy)
  6. 2009-04: Donated a copy of the extract from the Ulster Journal of Archaeology 17, Feb–Nov 1911. (ed. Benjamin Hazard)

Index to all documents

Standardisation of values

CELT Project Contacts



For details of the markup, see the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)

page of the print edition

folio of the manuscript

numbered division

 999 line number of the print edition (in grey: interpolated)

underlining: text supplied, added, or expanded editorially

italics: foreign words; corrections (hover to view); document titles

bold: lemmata (hover for readings)

wavy underlining: scribal additions in another hand; hand shifts flagged with (hover to view)

TEI markup for which a representation has not yet been decided is shown in red: comments and suggestions are welcome.

Source document


Search CELT

  1. To these may be added a number of superstitions. I cannot tell whether the wilder sort of the Irish yield divine honour unto the moon; for when they see her first after the change, commonly they bow the knee, and say over the Lord's prayer: and so soon as they have made an end, they speak unto the moon with a loud voice, in this manner, “Leave us as whole and found as thou hast found us.” They take unto them Wolves to be their Godgibs, whome they term Chari Christ, praying for them, and wishing them well; and so they are not afraid to be hurt by them, &c.—Cambden's Britannia🢀

  2. The Irish at this day, when they go to battle, say certain prayers or charms to their swords, making a cross therewith upon the earth, and thrusting the points of their blades into the ground, thinking thereby to have the better success in fight. They also swear by their Lord's hand; and to forswear it, hold it more criminal than to swear by God Almighty.—Spenser's View of the state of Ireland🢀

  3. They account it no shame or infamy to commit robberies, which they practise every where with great cruelty. When they go to rob, they pour out their prayers to God, that they may meet with a booty. They spare neither churches nor hallowed places; but thence also they fill their hands with spoil; yea, and sometimes they set them on fire, and kill the men that there lie hidden. And the cause hereof is, the most filthy life of their priests, who of churches make profane houses, and keep harlots, who follow them whithersoever they go; but when they are cast off, seek cunning devices to do mischief by poisons. The priests, lemans, and their bastards, abide within the circuit of a church, drink until they be drunk, lie together, shed blood, and keep up their cattle there.—Cambden's Britannia🢀

  4. About the month of May 1642, when the Scottish army, under the command of Major-General Monro, had marched from Carrickfergus, taken in the Newery, beaten the Irish out of those parts, with the slaughter of many of them, Sir Phelim O'Neal caused five thousand British, whom he detained in Armagh Tyron, and other parts of the north, to be most miserably murdered in the space of three days. Near unto the deponent's house, thirty-six persons were carried to the Cure-bridge at one time, and drowned; at another time, six and fifty men, women, and children, all of them being taken out of the deponent's house; and at several other times, several other numbers, besides those that were drowned in the black water at Kinnaird, in which town, and the parish of Tinon, (whereof the deponent was rector), there was drowned, slaughtered, and died of famine, and for want of cloaths, about six hundred. The deponent might add to these many thousands more; but the diary which he this deponent wrote amongst the rebel Irish being burned, with his house, books, and all his papers, he referreth himself to the number in gross, which the Irish themselves have, upon inquiry, found out and acknowledged; which, notwithstanding, will come short of all that have been murdered in Ireland; there being above one hundred and fifty thousand Protestants now wanting of the British within the very precinct of Ulster. Deposeth 22d of August 1642. William Aldrich. Henry Brereton. Sir John Temple's History of the Irish rebellion. N.B. This happened a fewe years after the author was in Ireland. 🢀


2 Carrigside, College Road, Cork