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«Poor Green Erin»

German Travel Writers’ Narratives on Ireland from Before the 1798 Rising to After the Great Famine- Texts Edited, Translated and Annotated by Eoin Bourke

Edited By Eoin Bourke

The area of 19 th -century German travel writing on Ireland has received widespread scholarly attention over the years in treatises in both English and German, but these efforts were directed largely at fellow-scholars and formed part of an academic discourse on travel, interculturality and alterity. This book, on the other hand, is conceived of more as a reader for the general public than as an academic treatise, presents a surprisingly extensive body of comments drawn from German and Austrian sources from between 1783 and 1865 and lets them «talk for themselves». Some of these remarkably empathetic and well-founded eye-witness accounts were translated into English already in the 19 th century by people like Sarah Austin and Sir Lascelles Wraxhall, but the editor has re-translated them to remove varying degrees of antiquatedness of formulation and has added other accounts that were hitherto largely unknown to the non-German-speaking reading public.
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4 Philipp Andreas Nemnich (1806)


Philipp Andreas Nemnich (1764-1822) was a professional travel writer and en- cyclopædist from Hamburg. He travelled through England, Scotland and Ireland from the Spring of 1805 to the Spring of 1806, a short time after Robert Emmet’s abortive rebellion. He found that “since the last uprising of 1803 there is complete quiet, in Dublin as in all of Ireland” [PAN, 659]. But he is not blind to the existence of political abuses and economic mismanagement that could once more lead to unrest. As the subtitle of his book indicates, the travelogue has mainly to do with “products, factories and trade”, for which he draws copi- ously from Thomas Newenham’s A Statistical and Historical Enquiry into the Progress and Magnitude of the Population in Ireland (1805), but in his general introduction he makes some noteworthy if contradictory political statements. It is hard to tell whether his occasional ambivalences are meant as irony, but it is obvious that like almost all of the travel writers after him he is aghast at the ex- tremes of poverty that he encounters. 4.1 The Act of Union Until recently Ireland was treated by the British Government as a subjugated nation, but these circumstances came to an end with the beginning of the present century. By dint of the well-known Act of Union, Ireland is united with Great Britain since 1 Janu- ary, 1801, and shares with the mainland the same rights and privileges. The entire state is now named the United Kingdom of Great...

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