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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... Meath , the Halls assured their readers : “ There is , indeed , no part of Ireland
where the Englishman will find himself so completely at home , for added to the
natural beauty , he will see on all sides the beneficial results of careful cultivation
The writer thought the land fertile enough : “ We passed miles of ground that
evidently wanted but little cultivation to make them profitable . ” Yet little seemed
to have been done with it . In a phrase suggesting the complex relationship
See also agricultural landscape ; enclosure ; melancholy ; open field system ;
picturesque ; sublime land use patterns : British misunderstanding of , 134 - 45 ;
Irish compared to British , 5 ; pasturage versus grain cultivation , 82 – 83 ...