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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Anxious to avoid the “ savages ” of Connacht , however , he got no further west
than the salmon leap at Ballyshannon . His attitude toward the Irish , regardless
of rank , made the haughty and highly critical Twiss a very unpopular figure in ...
2 The West of Ireland , especially after the onset of the Famine , seemed to call
out to British visitors for redemption . ... or The Rambles of an Englishman in
Search of a Settlement in the West of Ireland ( 1851 ) , described his feelings as
Discovering Connemara Until the 1830s , relatively few travelers ventured into
Ireland ' s western seaboard . The West was considered wild and uncivilized , its
poor roads making access too difficult for tourists . Nevertheless , what might be ...