Wednesday, 20 February 2013

INSIGHT, APHORISM & MAXIM: A Traveller's Perspective on Irish Men & English Women

People who travel do so for reasons as distinct as each individual.  Even so, the reasons for travelling can (somewhat awkwardly) be categorized.  The more stereotypical objectives include the honeymooner’s all-inclusive, or the family trip to Disneyland. And though modern travellers now spread about the globe in ways far removed and advanced from those of the past, tourists travel for the same basic reasons that they always have: fun, relaxation, and/or adventure.

An interesting case in point originates from the 18th century personal papers of the aristocratic Roche family of Ireland.  In the postscript of a letter written to his brother on 6 January 1771, Edward Roche of Trabolgan relates his disappointment with one of the great tourist cities of England.  Apparently drawn to Bath due to its reputation for sexual adventure, Edward tells his brother that in spite of all the talk there is no place worse for it (MacLysaght, 151).  This is not because English women are unresponsive, he goes on to say; it is rather that the city itself does not give prospective lovers a suitable opportunity.  In fact on the subject of English women’s natural inclination for amour, the writer makes an interesting observation.  He tells his brother that “English women have a greater propensity for it than” Irish women and follows this comment with a popular aphorism of the day concerning the similarities between the women of England and the Celtic men of Ireland. “It’s a saying here: ‘English women and Irish men’ for that sport against the world” (Maclysaght, 151).

"And you thought your Irish husband and my English wife wouldn't get along!"

MacLysaght, Edward. “Roche Papers.”  Analecta Hibernica, Survey of Documents in
             Private Keeping: First Series, No. 15 (Nov. 1944), pp. 143, 145-152. 
            The Irish Manuscripts Ltd. JSTOR. Web. 17 Feb. 2013.

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