{Library}Reflections on a Centenary - Maria Edgeworth 1849- 1949
The following piece was wrote by a native of the town, May Joyce, in 1949 upon the Centenary of Maria Edgeworth's death. It was written shortly after the old Manor came into the possession of the Sister's of Mercy, and before any restoration work was done.
Already, a Secondary School has been started there, in the cut-stone Out-Offices,to comply with the wishes of the donor,Bernard Noonan, a Longford-Irish-American,to whom the nuns are indebted for the bequest,and in this building I was entertained the other day,when Rev. Mother invited me to look over the Manor before the restoration begins. When I arrived off the Dublin train, the morning sun was still shining, and the birds sang greetings from the hedgerows, as I walked the old familiar road to the town. The station sign-board had set me musing on the ancient name of the district. Meathus Truim -fertile ridge - surely, even if it had been chosen, a more suitable name could not be found in any land for a place where such talent flowered, or for the home which cradled the saintly Abbe Edgeworth, one of the noblest characters in the History of mankind. Here too, poor Goldsmith was happy, when he found a sympathetic tutor in the Rev. Patrick Hughes,and who can say for certain that it may not have been the Sweet Auburn of his fondest dreams! But it is to the old unconquered Church " that we owe the preservation of this melodious Irish name, for it was never changed in the Parish Records of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. Edgeworthstown is, indeed,a pleasant land-mark in the very middle of Ireland, with the fragrant countryside all around it, rich in pastoral and meadow lands, which never sadden the visitor. There is nothing deserted about it, even the searching Four Masters found noting to record against it, but it 1s my sorrow to relate that the scholarly John O'Donovan tells us in one of his letters that he was over-charged and altogether badly treated there, in 1830. However, I blame the rogues in the Civil Service, in Dublin, in the first instance, for not granting him an adequate allowance for comfortable lodgings and transport, when he was compiling such a monumental Work, in the everlasting service of his country, and to balance the scales I can quote that Maria relates in 1792 when Captain Fox came recruiting for the Yeos, John Langan, the Edgeworth's steward returned from his quest with a solitary volunteer - a poor fellow, she admits, who was not right in his head.
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