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7 observations about Ireland from a German tourist... in 1591

Have things changed?

IN THE YEAR 1591, German traveller Ludolf von Münchhausen visited Ireland. He wrote about his experiences in his diary.

The diary is available translated on UCC’s CELT database of Irish texts.

Among other things, here’s what Ludolf observed:

1. It is wet

The country consists of many mountains and valleys, but also of bogs and is very wet under the feet.

Source: effwun

2. Irish people are lazy

They delight in idleness, they are no good for work; rather than cultivate their fields they stay at home and rest around their fires, barely dressed.

3. Irish women are attractive, but dirty

The Irish women carry ample linen cloths around their heads, they would be very pretty if they were clean and dressed differently.

4. Irish people hate foreigners; love divorce

The Irish love each other dearly, but hate foreigners. They divorce their wives easily.

Source: Photocall Ireland

5. Irish people get their bottoms out easily

I have wondered about their boorishness and coarseness; the nobleman in the house had taken off his pants and socks, stood against the fire and lifted his shirt and everybody could see his behind.

6. Irish people are lazy (again)

The people are dirty, uncouth and lazy. They have brains enough for roguery, but are ignorant of arts and the more subtle craftsmanship.

7. Irish people like banter and drinking

Through my interpreter they asked me many foolish questions during the meal. Then we all drank from a mug.

Source: marios_h

You can read the full text of the diary here.

What do you think? Did Ludolf get it right?

via Gillian Kenny

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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