German Travel Writers’ Narratives on Ireland from Before the 1798 Rising to After the Great Famine- Texts Edited, Translated and Annotated by Eoin Bourke
15 Karl von Hailbronner (1836?)
Karl von Hailbronner (1789-1864) had a country seat at Leitershofen near Augsburg. He was primarily a military man, advancing from first lieutenant to general. He was described in the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie as “one of the most erudite and intellectually outstanding men of the Bavarian army” (ADB, X, 386). He filled three volumes with his travel accounts of northern and southern Europe, Egypt, Palestine and Syria, devoting 37 pages to Ireland. As an officer of the Bavarian army he was presumably of Catholic background and therefore critical of British demonisation of that religion. Although he makes more than one factual blunder, such as declaring Glendalough to be the former capital of Ireland, and allows himself the occasional historical shortcut, his views are often incisive and compelling. In his horror at Irish conditions, he finds even the comparatively trenchant criticism of the English Government by Friedrich von Raumer too circumspect. 15.1 The honesty of the Irish In the harbour of Kingstown [Dun Laoghaire] we dropped anchor and several boats rowed up to us to bring us ashore. Coming from the reserved country of England where all business trans- actions are carried out noiselessly, I was struck by the bustle and vitality of these Irish sailors, who immediately whisked us and our belongings down into the rowboats. How my astonishment grew, however, to discover that the whole wall and the steps on the quay were swarming with half-naked people draped with less than scanty tatters, all of whom fell upon us with...
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