Trotter: Walks through Ireland

Pdf Trotter, John Bernard. Walks through Ireland in the years 1812, 1814, and 1817. London: Sir Richard Phillips & Co., 1819.
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John Bernard Trotter (1775-1818) was born in Co. Down. The son of a Protestant clergyman, he was educated first at Downpatrick Grammar School and then at Trinity College Dublin, where he graduated in 1795. He travelled to London where he befriended the Whig statesman Charles James Fox. While he was initially intended for the bar in Ireland he travelled with Fox to Paris in 1802 where he acted as the latter’s private secretary. Fox died soon after however, and Trotter returned to Ireland. From then on he lived a chequered existence, setting up a Harp Society in Dublin. He eventually fell into destitution.

Starting in 1812 he began to write a series of letters based on his walking tours of Ireland. His letters include descriptions of Wexford, Wicklow, and Meath, as well as large portions of Munster and Connaught. Trotter’s tours are of particular interest given his method of travel. Walking allowed him to observe the villages and landscape on a more intimate level than travelling by either horse or carriage. It also allowed for a greater level of interaction with local people who often shared with him what little provisions they could afford. First published a year after Trotter’s death, it includes a biographical memoir of the author who died at the age of forty three in Co. Cork.

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