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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In 1822 Father Patrick Lyons described such farmers in his parish of Kilmore ...
agricultural exports to Britain to notice that , as Oliver MacDonagh maintains , out
of 700 , 000 farming families , three - quarters lived on twenty acres or less .
37 Small farmers sold the better - quality tubers , such as the “ Reds ” and the “
Cuppers , ” and lived off the knobby , ill - tasting , but highly productive and
nutritious “ Lumper , ” which thrived even in poor soil with minimal manure . The
These middling Catholic farmers defined status by marriage alliances and family
ties , access to land , and ownership of ... However , since the middle - class
Catholic farmer usually did not invest in his wardrobe or his house , many travel ...