From Recollection of James Stanley Vickery written c 1889 in Australia.
The town of Skibbereen though not large has always been a good business place and has turned out some first rate business men. It was built on a small tidal river not far from the ancient harbour of Baltimore. It was built on low ground and its sanitary arrangements were of the very worst the very home for all kinds of disease. In 1832 the Asiatic Cholera made its appearance in Europe. It spread rapidly and soon reached Ireland. My father went to Cork on business on his return journey he stopped for a night in Bandon with the Edwards family. While there he could only talk only of the dread and then little understood plague. It was in the summer months and he had not been long home when at 11 O’C one night he had to go for the doctor my mother having all the symptoms of Cholera. He was not long returned when he also was attacked and before seven O.C. next morning was pronounced dead. Being one of the earliest of its victims the people of the town became thoroughly frightened and panic struck. The family burying ground was 12 miles away at Bantry but the frightened people insisted that the body should be buried immediately and in the nearest grave yard. Some objected, the result being a riot during which the military had to be called out. They told me that during the confusion some excited individual put a sharp *** spade through the coffin. My mother lingered some little time longer when her remains were buried beside those of my father amongst strangers. It was evidently a terrible time. The late dean MacCartney was at that time minister of the parish and was also attacked with cholera but recovered. I fear there could be no regular service at the burial of my father. The plague lingered for some years in the towns of Skibbereen and Bantry. In the year 1837 grandmother died of it in B. almost the only attendants at her funeral were her sons who took the coffin on their shoulders to the family tomb. Fortunately they had not far to carry it as the place has not far from the house in which she died. In 1846 Paul Kingston, Aunt Ellens husband died of it after a few hours illness. The old church yard where the tomb was situated was a dreary and altogether neglected spot. The tomb or underground room was built by grandfather and his brother Samuel. The family of the latter pretty well filled it. In the course of years Robin Vickery the illegitimate son of my great grandfather died. His family desired that he should be buried in the old tomb. My Uncles and their cousins objected. The roughs of the town took the part of Robins family an unseemly scrabble being the result. My Uncles determined to build one for themselves and their families. They seemed very proud of it and showed me through it when finished as if it had been a mansion.
The loss of their parents could not be understood or felt by the three little ones. I was a little over three years old my sister Mary two years and Ellen six weeks. As a matter of course there was great sympathy for us a sympathy that seemed never to die out. On a visit to Skibbereen during my childhood a poor woman selling apples in the street when she found out who I was took me to her stall and filled my pockets with apples. When a boy going to school in company with an other lad in the town of Bandon a rough and not very reputable woman recognised me in the street and to my horror through her arms around me in the street and kissed me kissed me several times. In fact this sympathy became to me at least *** somewhat painful.
Grandmother Vickery soon came to our help and carried my sisters and myself with her to Moloch. It was a heavy charge to take but she was capable of it and discharged her duties well and nobly till the, to us, the sad day of her death. Ellen was reared with the spoon, a special one on purpose with a lid and small opening easily kept sweet and clean. Every thing about this our new home was frugal, but the food was the very best to make healthy children oatmeal porridge wholemeal bread, potatoes then in their prime, milk and butter the product of healthy animals honey in abundance with the best kind of fresh fish and very little of either beef or mutton or even the staple commodity bacon. Off the wild coast grew some edible seaweeds which made a cheap pleasant and extremely wholesome food. In fact in the form of carrageen moss it has long formed a medical food of great value. Shell fish of various kinds being cheap were largely used crabs especially of large size were very common. Oysters very large and plentiful were not as much in use. Every thing was cheap and plentiful with the exception of that most needful of all money to purchase. I have known the prince of sea fish turbot bought for 2/6 which would in Billingsgate London fetch at least 20/- And yet notwithstanding this profusion the failure of one product the potato brought death and misery to thousands all round the coast. In fact the people though living close to the sea were not strictly speaking nothing like the Cornish folk on the opposite coast of England.