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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They constructed roads and pathways to waterfalls , through glens , and around
lakes . Visitors to the falls on the ... 14 The quality of the road system created by
the landlord - controlled county grand juries surprised most visitors . Touring in
Since good land was at a premium , the inhabitants built their cabins on the least
tillable plots nearest to the road with gable ends to the wind . Each cabin had a
gort or garden , their adjoining high walls forming alleys that snaked through the
The West was considered wild and uncivilized , its poor roads making access too
difficult for tourists . Nevertheless , what might be called the “ myth of the West ”
had already been born in the British imagination . Discussing John Dunton ' s ...