Mary Elizabeth Braddon in Ennis, Summer 1874

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Polycarp
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Mary Elizabeth Braddon in Ennis, Summer 1874

Post by Polycarp » Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:22 am

Victorian novelist, Miss Braddon, visited County Clare in the summer of 1874, publishing her account in "Belgravia" magazine in the issues of July and August 1874.

Here is her account of her visit to the county gaol in Ennis.

Nothing could exceed the kindness of the governor of Ennis Jail who, seeing us gazing with the traveller’s inquiring eye at that unpretentious building, asked us in and showed us the prison kept in exquisite order and cleanliness, beautified by closely-shaven grass and well-filled flower beds, roses and variegated ivy, brightest yellow and green climbing over the encircling walls, and everything so neat and pretty looking that it was only by a mental effort one could remember the purpose of the building. County Clare does not seem remarkable for crime, as most of the white-washed chambers were empty and the select circle of malefactors residing in the prison were, for the most part, the smallest of offenders. One old man, who was taking his allotted hour’s constitutional with a chosen few in the form of a circular walk in a gravelled yard, was paying the penalty for having sold whiskey without a license. It seemed a weakness dearly atoned for by that monotonous march in single file.

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