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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Caesar Otway , an Anglo - Irish Evangelical editor and polemicist who was also a
talented travel writer . In his first travel book , Sketches in Ireland ( 1827 ) , he
described a visit to the ancient and popular pilgrimage site of Lough Derg in ...
Similar descriptions appeared at least as late as the 1872 edition of Walker ' s
Irish Hand - book , which referred to Otway ' s earlier account . 27 Otway
encountered and described other confessional landscapes . In A Tour in
Connaught ( 1839 ) ...
Caesar Otway described Clear Island as a “ congeries of rocks and cliffs ; to look
at it , it might be said to be incurably barren , and yet to see it studded as it was
with human habitations , and teeming with people , you might imagine that they ...