By the end of the eighteenth century, it would appear, anyone with even a modicum of literary and intellectual aspiration had undertaken foreign travel. From Britain, young men in particular fanned out all over the globe, exploring, explaining, cataloguing and returning to write up their accounts of lands visited, and cultures assessed and assimilated. In the eighteenth century, Europe was the principal destination for these travellers, who found all that they required to complete their educations on the continental mainland. Throughout the nineteenth century, tourist opportunities and experiences altered drastically, as communications improved, and more distant lands came increasingly into reach. A growing number of travel narratives emerged as a result, many relating to exotic locales such as Africa and Asia, and all of which fed a growing appetite at home for tales of valour and excitement. Yet there was one less likely destination that nevertheless attracted large numbers of visitors from 1760 onwards: Ireland. There were no obvious aesthetic, cultural, or antiquarian attractions comparable to Italy or France, both of which attracted numerous travellers in this period, hungry for intellectual stimulation. In the nineteenth century, in particular the latter half, other non-European destinations came into focus, with North America emerging as a new traveller destination that offered aesthetic and indeed athletic challenges unavailable in Ireland.


Eighteenth Century Intellectual Stimulation Foreign Travel Distant Land Traveller Destination 
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© Glenn Hooper 2005

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  • Glenn Hooper

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