34Hardy, Philip Dixon. The Holy Wells of Ireland: Containing an Authentic Account of Those Various Places of Pilgrimage and Penance Which Are Still Annually Visited by Thousands of the Roman Catholic Peasantry. With a Minute Description of the Patterns and Stations Periodically Held in Various Districts of Ireland. Dublin: Hardy, & Walker, 1840. iii.
This book may be read in its entirety here.
Hardy's book is very much an artifact of the racist, anti-Catholic views commonly held in Protestant communities of nineteenth-century Ireland, which often looked upon the rural poor of Ireland as almost a sub-human species. See this illustration from the book. The author supplements his own observations with those of other with similar views about the excesses of the "patterns." On p. 89 he quotes from Crofton Croker, Researches in the South of Ireland, (1824) "Scene at River Lee." "The tents are generally so crowded that the dancers have scarcely room for their performance: from twenty [94] to thirty men and women are often huddled together in each, and the circulation of porter and whiskey amongst the various groups is soon evident in its effects. All become actors, - none spectators, - rebellious songs, in the Irish language, are loudly vociferated, and received with yells of applause - towards evening the tumult increases, and intoxication becomes almost universal. Cudgels are brandished, the shrieks of women and the piercing cry of children thrill painfully upon the ear in the riot and uproar of the scene: indeed the distraction and tumult of a patron cannot be described. At midnight the assembly became somewhat less noisy and confused, but the chapels were still crowded: on the shore people lay 'heads and points' so closely that it was impossible to move without trampling on them; the washing and bathing in the well still continued, and the dancing, drinking, roaring, and singing were, in some degree, kept up throughout the night."