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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47 It took some time for travel writers to become aware of this phenomenal
growth rate . During the latter half of the eighteenth century , many visitors
thought Ireland ' s population , still recovering from the famine of 1741 , was
stagnant at ...
It was also the product of a people locked into habits of the past , unwilling to take
responsibility for themselves and to become their own redeemers . This helps
explain why a century of Irish travel literature seems to have had only a limited ...
As mentioned earlier , agriculture had become a focal point for British patriotism
during the wars with France . As grain prices rose , and as more land was
enclosed and brought into cultivation , Britain tried to become self - sufficient with