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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Writing of a visit to her family ' s estate on the Lakes in 1786 , Mrs . Dorothea
Herbert described the mountains as “ piled in such grand Confusion that they set
the Head quite giddy to look at them - It seemed as if there had been a Battle of ...
In the 1770s Arthur Young described a location near Londonderry as “ the most
picturesque of any place I have seen . . . . the scene wants nothing but wood to
make it a perfect landscape . ” Almost forty years later John Gough complained
With a More Particular Description of the Giants Causeway in the North ; and the
Celebrated Lake of Killarney in the South of Ireland ; Taken from ... Are Described
. . . to Which Is Prefix ' d a Description of the Road from London to Holy - Head .