Tourism, Landscape, and the Irish Character: British Travel Writers in Pre-Famine Ireland

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University of Wisconsin Press, Feb 24, 2012 - History - 280 pages

Picturesque but poor, abject yet sublime in its Gothic melancholy, the Ireland perceived by British visitors during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries did not fit their ideas of progress, propriety, and Protestantism. The rituals of Irish Catholicism, the lamentations of funeral wakes, the Irish language they could not comprehend, even the landscapes were all strange to tourists from England, Wales, and Scotland. Overlooking the acute despair in England’s own industrial cities, these travelers opined in their writings that the poverty, bog lands, and ill-thatched houses of rural Ireland indicated moral failures of the Irish character.

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About the author (2012)

William H. A. Williams is professor emeritus of history at Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is author of many works including Inventing Irish Tourism, The First Century, 1750–1850 and the award-winning ’Twas Only an Irishman’s Dream, and editor of Daniel O’Connell, The British Press and the Irish Famine: Killing Remarks, by Leslie A. Williams.

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