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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Where a village ' s lands spread into the mountains , the community engaged in "
booleying , ” a vestigial form of ... As grazing on better land displaced peasants ,
the ever - growing population of poor small farmers was driven to seek a living ...
British visitors read into Ireland ' s unenclosed lands a disturbing sense of
disorder and disorganization , even of chaos . ... On the inland road between
Newtown Limavady and Coleraine , he encountered land that was “ mountainous
While some low - lying red bogs had been successfully drained , even those
efforts seldom paid for themselves : “ The truth is , there is a great deal of
nonsense written about the waste lands of Ireland . ” Much of the West , Otway
wrote , was ...