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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Landscape Aesthetics During the eighteenth century the stimulus for travel
changed as the old didactic , sociohistorical focus of the Grand Tour was
gradually replaced by a fascination with scenery . It was no accident , then , that
the expansion ...
In fact , the British had an almost mystical attachment to the type of rural scenery
created by enclosure . Brian Short observes that even today the three linked
words “ English , ” “ rural , ” and “ community ” are “ like a chemical reaction which
In fact , Ashworth apologized to his readers for continually being sidetracked by
the scenery : “ To travel through such a country as this , and altogether to pass by
its picturesque beauties would be unjust . Besides , I feel that persons of warm ...