Toby Bernard, Mizen Journal 2004

Extract from letter ‘Very Bad Mutton and Beef, you Can’t Conceive of the Wretchedness of it’, of Godwin Swift (Customs Man), 16th May 1757 from Crookhaven, West Cork, Ireland.

‘Now with regard to the place and provisions: you are to know that you see nothing here but mountains of rock (not cliffs) and yet those rocks are more dear to poor people or strangers as the lands within 2 miles of Dublin.  There is here undoubtedly great plenty of fish, yet the people are so lazy they’d rather live on salt mackerel and potatoes then give themselves the trouble to take fresh fish.  There is no garden stuff here, very bad mutton and lamb, and no beef, not a tree or even a shrub within 8 miles of the place….

30th June 1757  ‘…nothing but rocky mountains around us for 20 miles, where not even a slide car can go the road, nor any other cattle than little horses bred and used to this country….you can’t conceive the wretchedness of it.  We have neither bread to eat nor malt liquor wine or cider to drink, nor meat except a little mutton and bad lamb.  Our liquor a bad toddy, our victuals potatoes and fish and lie in a cottage..

May be related:


According to legend the Hulls and Coughlas were intermittently involved in smugling
1700 Thomas Dyer Tide Waiter Referred to in Dives Downes visitation
October 1707 Complaint by William Lowdnes to Rev Com Ireland 6 East India Company Ships arrived and broke bulk to prejudice of Customs Revenue British History Online
1788 James McCarthy and Isaac Baker Revenue Officials Deed witnesses, O’Driscoll/McCarthy Middle Men Ther is also a Baker family at the time tithe Proctors to the absentee rector, mortal enemies of newly appointed Daniel Coughlan in 1810s
c1820s Michael Tisdall Customs in England Rockhouse, Clifton, father Rev. Fitzgerald Tisdall, Rector Kiloe, Founder Crookhave Yeomanry Corps murdered Priest’s Leap, 1809
1759 Goodwin Swift

Daniel Coughlan, Crookhaven, Involved in relief 1822, Scathing on absentee tithe holders Rev. Francis Langford, Co. Limerick and his proctor William Switzer and Dr. Traill of Co. Antrim, rector of Schull and his proctor Joseph Baker.  He advised Dublin Castle that much of the local recent troubles was due to the severe tyranny and oppression of such petty tyrants.  Brother of famous Royal Navy Captain Coughlan who was raising money in 1822 in London for relief.