I wonder about the veracity of that statement . At a time when rural communities had little wealth, any cash usually was reserved for rent payment and then some basic necessities. Most survived principally on barter, only the wealthy “strong farmers” or merchants could afford the cash costs involved in educating one of their sons in the priesthood. (Hence the middleclass outlook of the clergy.) The popular tradition – exemplified by an t-Athair Peadar O’Laoghaire in Mo Sceal Fein - of poverty-stricken peasant farmers struggling from dawn to dusk trying to earn the fees to keep their son in Maynooth may have been true in a very occasional case – for them it would be a heroic struggle to earn the annual fees of £25 for tuition and a similar amount for board & lodging over a sustained period of about 7 years. Although Maynooth College as the national seminary was endowed by the State, all students had to pay their own expenses and it was not until post-1845 that grants became available, so Catholic priests of the pre-Famine era inevitably came from comfortable landowning backgrounds.