Tourism, Landscape, and the Irish Character: British Travel Writers in Pre-Famine Ireland
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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Worse from the Protestant standpoint , by the 1820s and 1830s new Catholic
churches and cathedrals were beginning to rise in the cities and larger towns . In
1835 an anonymous and probably Evangelical writer became distressed when ...
Caesar Otway was displeased with the new Roman Catholic cathedral he found
in Tuam , County Galway . ... 15 Catholicism on the Continent , with its sumptuous
churches and elaborate services , fascinated many British tourists , even when ...
Finola O ' Kane calls attention to the connection between Gothic sensibilities and
anti - Catholicism , which had particular ... Protestant attitudes toward peasant
religious practices did not go unnoticed among the struggling Catholic clergy .