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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187 , italics added ; Blake Family of Renvyle House , Letters from the Irish
Highlands of Connemara , 161 , italics added . 2 . Thomas ... Spencer T . Hall ,
Life and Death in Ireland as Witnessed in 1849 , 87 , italics original . See also
21 . James Johnson , A Tour of Ireland with Meditations and Reflections , 327 ,
italics original . 22 . Ritchie , Ireland , 2 : 154 . See also Hall ' s Ireland , 2 : 335 ,
italics added . 23 . Anon . , “ The Irish Tourist , ” Fraser ' s Magazine , 771 . See
See also Caesar Otway , A Tour in Connacht , Comprising Sketches of
Clonmacnoise , Joyce Country and Achill , 272 , italics original . 12 . Until his
death in 1834 , “ Humanity Dick ” Martin , an absentee landlord , was more famed
for his ...