Poverty Before the Famine, County Clare 1835
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Clare County Library

Parish Kilnaboy. Barony Inchiquin.


BASTARDS are never supported by the parish ; indeed, the cases of deserted children are very rare, and no instance has been known here of a woman destroying her illegitimate child.

Women with bastards very commonly apply to the petty sessions for wages. Young men in this district have never evinced a desire to marry women for the wages they might receive for the support of illegitimate children ; nor have they been induced by any of the richer classes to marry their mistresses. If a bastard behaved himself well, and became an industrious member of society, the circumstance of his unfortunate birth would be forgotten ; at the same time several of the farmers stated that they would “move heaven and earth to prevent their daughters marrying bastards.”

The magistrates can issue a distress warrant against the goods of the reputed father, but they conceive they have no power to levy an attachment against his person. The award of wages has never here induced the reputed father to marry the woman. Men sometimes marry to get rid of charges of rape.

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