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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Visiting Donegal , Dr . James Johnson found the “ wildest of all wilds in Ireland !
Its huge mountains . . . its perpendicular cliffs hanging over the roaring surge . . .
all bespeaks some awful catastrophe — some stupendous convulsion , by water
Samuel Johnson : A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and James
Boswell : The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson , LL . D . (
1773 ) . Edited by Allen Wendt . Boston , 1965 . Knott , Mary John . Two Months at
... Elizabeth , 53 , 205n2 boolying . See transhumance Boswell , James , 140
Bourke , Austin , 215n38 – 39 Bowden , C . T . , 115 , 118 , 120 , 122 , 137 Boyle ,
John , 6th Earl of Orrey , 164 Boyle Abby : illustration of , 35 Boyne , Battle of , 38