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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Poverty and the Irish Economy Dr . James Johnson , investigating Lord Sligo ' s
town of Westport in Mayo in the 1840s ... Johnson was unaware that this
extensive infrastructure along the quays had been built for an economic era that
As the economic historian Cormac Ó Gráda explains , the decline of rural work
was not replaced by opportunities in the towns . The census of 1841 revealed
little growth in Irish towns after 1820 . According to T . W . Freeman , only 20 .
all this in the generality of Irish scenery . ” 32 By including the village , the
farmhouses , and the church spire within his mental picture of a proper rural
countryside , Woods revealed the social and economic values implicit in the
favorite British ...