German Travel Writers’ Narratives on Ireland from Before the 1798 Rising to After the Great Famine- Texts Edited, Translated and Annotated by Eoin Bourke
9 Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1828)
Of all German travel writers who are quoted in these chapters, Prince Hermann Ludwig Heinrich von Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871) was arguably the most colourful. By the time he set foot in Ireland on 11 August 1828, he had earned the reputation of a notorious philanderer, which brought with it numerous duels, and a flamboyant and attention-seeking dandy. To send love messages to the society ladies of Berlin, he employed Germany’s fastest sprinter, Ernst Mensen. He made himself conspicuous by such acts as riding along the fashionable boulevard Unter den Linden to the Café Kranzler in a carriage drawn by four stags, earning him the double-meaning nickname “Graf Hirsch” (Duke Stag), or in Dresden by leaping over the parapet of the Elbe Bridge on horseback and plunging together with his steed eight metres into the water below. The purpose of his journey to Great Britain in 1826 was to find a rich dowager with the purpose of marrying her in order to solve the acute financial problems accruing from his improvident lifestyle and the lavish design of his famous gardens at Muskau, Upper Lusatia. To make himself an eligible bachelor he had divorced his wife Lucie von Hardenberg shortly before setting off on his journey. This was done on her suggestion, on the understanding that she should be kept by him and be able to continue living in the castle at Muskau along with the hypothetical new wife. Apart from the fact that he had caused a stir in high society...
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