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.
Results 1-3 of 29
For example , ruins , secular and ecclesiastical , were an essential part of
picturesque tourism , and , as Dr . James Johnson exclaimed in 1844 , “ Ireland is
the field for the antiquary — the land of ruins ! there is no country . . . which
Ruins were fraught with cultural and political meaning , which differed according
to whether the viewer was in Britain or in Ireland . Commenting on ruins in Britain
, especially England , critic Anne Janowitz has suggested that “ the authority of ...
As noted earlier , it was common for travel writers in search of the picturesque to
associate monastic ruins with gloom and melancholy . Some shuddered
rhetorically at the thought of the “ superstitious ” practices that once claimed these