Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
of tourist development, not least a succession of
Lords Lieutenant from the 1880s to the Great
War, regarded deepening links between Britain
and Ireland as a critical objective. They hoped
that increased traffi c from Britain would streng-
then personal and political affi nities between
residents of Ireland, England, Wales and Scot-
land, demonstrate the fruits of Union, and knit
their holiday grounds into a varied but inte-
grated 'domestic' tourist market. Their use of
comparison to claim Killarney's place alongside
the English Lake District, and western Ireland's
place alongside the Scottish Highlands, was
embedded within this wider political project.
advocates hoped both to mobilize positive
images of touring in countries such as Switzer-
land, Norway and Germany, and transfer them
to Ireland, drawing tourists who had long
neglected the sister isle. The continental coun-
tries had achieved success in building an impres-
sive, modern physical infrastructure for the
tourist. Ireland's modernizing sector could be
signalled to the touring public by borrowing
place-identifi ers from the international tourist
lexicon - 'fjords', 'rivieras' and 'Alpine' labels,
for instance - which anticipated the tourist's
encounter with Ireland's coasts, mountains and
valleys. Such labels conveyed the message that
Ireland's terrain was infused with the grandeur
of continental Europe, and offered a wide vari-
ety of scenery in which key 'beauty sights' on
the continent were assembled.
The Daily News enthused that 'It is no
exaggeration to say that Cork County and her
neighbour Kerry are a microcosm of all that is
beautiful and grand in natural scenery' (in How
to See the Far-famed Lakes of Killarney , 1901).
The Great Western Railway billed the route
from Kenmare to Bantry, for instance, as a path
'Over the Irish Simplon to the Irish San Remo'
( Southern Ireland , 1906, p. 70). It also point-
edly asserted that Ireland offered rivals to these
continental sites: 'If Glengariff is Ireland's San
Remo, assuredly in Parknasilla she provides a
powerful rival to Mentone and Monte Carlo'
( Southern Ireland , 1906, p. 65). The language of
'rivalry' was widely used in such evaluations, the
pre-eminent trade periodical the Irish Tourist
referring half-jokingly to Switzerland, whose sec-
tor was pronounced exemplary, as 'our friends,
the enemy' ( Irish Tourist 5 [July 1898], p. 43).
Irish tourist promoters, such as the ITA
(founded in 1895 to advance the sector), and
Lords Lieutenant, including Lords Zetland,
Houghton and Cadogan, expressed profound
ambivalence towards these 'competitors', some-
times viewing them admiringly and even envi-
ously, often claiming that they attracted relatively
undue praise while Ireland languished 'unvis-
ited', and repeatedly conjuring them in their
discussions of Ireland.
While many tourist publications endorsed
the Earl of Zetland's claim that, having travelled
'a great deal in the world', he never looked
upon more beautiful scenery than in south-west
Ireland ( Cook's Excursionist and Tourist
Places 'More Pretentious in Name':
International Comparison and
In constructing images of Ireland that refer-
enced continental European countries, tourist-
development advocates and tourist guidebooks
tended to draw regularly and repeatedly on a
specifi c set of continental sites - the Norwegian
fjords, the Swiss Alps and the German Rhine.
These sites were located in countries whose tra-
jectories of economic development were also
being systematically examined as Irish and Brit-
ish political and commercial leaders considered
Ireland's prospects for economic and cultural
modernization. Evaluating them in tandem,
tourism promoters believed that continental
countries offered examples for Ireland's tourist
sector, too. These countries were presented
within discourses that privileged them as mod-
els of how Ireland could be modernized within
the structures of the UK, rather than through
political independence. Norway - especially in
the period before 1905, when it remained
under a personal union of the crowns with
Sweden - and Switzerland, the small indepen-
dent Alpine state, were common comparators.
They were seen as predominantly rural soci-
eties that had realized economic prosperity
through parallel industrialization and tourist
development - which, to some observers,
constituted an 'alternative' path of economic
development to Britain's gritty, urban factory
system (James, 2006).
By producing images of Ireland that ref-
erenced these countries, tourist-development
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