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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Indeed , writing in 1834 , Henry D . Inglis contended that if one focused on
extended tillage , husbandry , greater commerce , roads , and buildings , then
Ireland was improving . If one looked at the peasantry , however , “ I have found
nothing to ...
Graham referred to Inglis several times . 16 . Anna Maria and Samuel Carter Hall
, Hall ' s Ireland , 2 : 343 , italics added ; see also 2 : 335 , italics added . 17 .
William Makepeace Thackeray , The Irish Sketch Book : 1842 , 300 ; see also 283
See Henry D . Inglis , A Journey throughout Ireland , during the Spring , Summer ,
and Autumn of 1834 , 2 : 79 . 11 . James Johnson , A Tour of Ireland with
Meditations and Reflections , 197 . See also Caesar Otway , A Tour in Connacht