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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In particular , the visitors looked for , and frequently missed , what were for them
signifiers of aesthetically pleasing , but also highly productive , agricultural
landscapes : trees , hedgerows , enclosed fields , and “ proper " villages . The
Want of ...
and Hugh Prince point out , “ A special aspect of English taste for the picturesque
is a decided preference for the bushy - topped , broadleaved , deciduous trees , "
as opposed to conifers . But British travelers in Ireland generally complained ...
Extolling the “ luxuriant ” hedges and the “ unusual abundance ” of trees in
County Meath , the Halls assured their readers : “ There is , indeed , no part of
Ireland where the Englishman will find himself so completely at home , for added
to the ...