This is a work-in-progress blog serial about aspects of the 1888 book Ireland Under Coercion: The Diary of an American, by journalist William Henry Hurlbert. Previous posts and other background material are available at the project landing page. #IUCRevisited
“Before reaching Limerick we passed through so much really beautiful country that I could not help expressing my admiration of it to my only fellow traveler.”
–William Henry Hurlbert
My last post mentioned Hurlbert’s reference to French journalist Philippe Daryl, who wrote about his 1886 and 1887 travels to Ireland in a book published shortly before the American arrived in Dublin. Hurlbert referenced several other contemporary accounts in his book.
There have been numerous travel books written about Ireland, and not just by journalists. Travellers’ Accounts as Source-Material for Irish Historians, is an excellent 2009 reference by Christopher J. Woods. It details 209 accounts from Sir William Brereton in 1635 to S.P.B. Mais in 1949, including Hurlbert. Woods provides travel dates, itinerary, people encountered and content overviews.
By the 18th century, “the act of ‘writing one’s journey’ became commonplace, and by the 1750s reading and emulating printed narratives was a firmly entrenched intellectual pursuit that heralded the golden age of travel writing, waning in the 1850s with the advent of rail,” Sylvie Kleinman commented in a History Ireland review of Woods’ book. “Accounts of journeys, even if not infallible sources, can especially serve the historian as material on a wide range of issues, if only as a record of conditions or places long since altered.”
The Tourist’s Gaze, Travellers to Ireland, 1800 to 2000, edited by Glen Hooper, contains excerpts from 72 accounts, including several titles not listed in Travellers’ Accounts. Tourist’s Gaze features a portion of the March 8, 1888, passage of Hurlbert’s Ireland Under Coercion. (Elsewhere in the book, Hurlbert references his own 1878 and 1883 trips to Ireland.)
My exploration of Hurlbert’s book is part of my broader interests in 19th century Ireland, especially the 1880s Land War/Home Rule period. Among other digitized titles from that decade, representing a range of views:
- The Irish Question, by David Bennett King. Published 1882, based on travels in 1881 and 1882.
- The Eve of Home Rule: Impressions of Ireland in 1886, by Henry Spenser Wilkinson. Published 1886.
- Paddy at Home (Chez Paddy), by Baron Edmond de Mandat-Grancey. Published 1887, based on travels in 1886. Referenced by Hurlbert.
- Incidents of Coercion: A Journal of Visits to Ireland in 1882 and 1888, by George Shaw-Lefevre, Published 1888.
- Ireland’s Disease, the English in Ireland, by Paschal Grousset (pseudonym Philippe Daryl), Published 1888, based on travels in 1886 and 1887. Referenced by Hurlbert.
- The Land War in Ireland: Being a Personal Narrative of Events, by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, Published 1912, based on travels in 1886, 1887, and 1888. Author referenced by Hurlbert.
- In Castle and Cabin: or Talks in Ireland in 1887, by George Pellew, Published 1889.
- Rambles of a Physician: or, A Midsummer Dream, by Matthew Woods, Published in 1889, based on travels in 1887.
Now, on the eve of my seventh trip to Ireland in 18 years, I will take a short break from my Ireland Under Coercion, Revisited project as I do further research on this and other topics. I will update the hand-written entries of my black leather travel journal of my 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2016 trips. I also will post on the blog about my latest travels.
The #IUCRevisited project will resume by early March.
Copyright 2018 by Mark Holan