When I picked up a copy of this book in a local library, I was intrigued by its thickness and also the date of publication in 1901. I assumed after reading the first few pages that this had been written by a 'woman of means' and somebody with an independent streak. After all, very few (if any women) would have wandered casually about Ireland in circa 1901 visiting the highways, byways and aristocratic homes of such a 'closed' community unless they had a bit of 'spark' about them. The research around some of the issues were excellent. Irish legend (i.e. Finola) was well documented as were the details on some connected ancient established families i.e. Jordans (de Exeter branch from Devon and Somerset, originally brave noblemen of the Crusades and descended from the Baskerville, Roper, Muttlebury, Hastings and Hele lines). Such knowledge as this, now lost in the past, becomes vital to devoted historians who read this casually scripted work as something intrinsically important to the fabric of the Celtic and Norman links with Britain.
I realised after looking the author up - it could only have been an American! The fresh vision of an educated outsider coming from a land where the detached culture is 'new' to visiting a land where the culture is as old as the soil but needs a fresh injection of fact and background, gives this book more colour. Wiggins descriptions are vibrant, tinged with some humour and at times a mixture of awe and fascination. Also seen from the eyes of a traveller in 1901 where the occupation of travelling was not as convenient as it is today.