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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... Landscape The apparent otherness of the Irish peasant ' s religious practices ,
part Roman Catholicism , part folk rituals , led a few travel writers to discover
confessional landscapes , topographies that to their eyes actually looked “ popish
Edward G . Lengel , The Irish through British Eyes , 165 . For comments on the
role of gender - related vocabulary in British descriptions of the Irish , see ibid . , 5
, 11 , 41 , and 165 . J . P . Harrington calls attention to Harriet Martineau ' s ...
See Edward G . Lengel , The Irish through British Eyes , 135 - 36 , 138 . 44 .
Ashworth , Saxon , 128 – 29 . 45 . Head , Fortnight , 151 . See also Anon . , The
Tourist ' s Illustrated Handbook for Ireland , 174 , 173 . 46 . See Anon . , Tourist ' s