OTWAY, Caesar A Tour in Connaught.


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Comprising sketches of Clonmacnoise, Joyce Country, and Achill. With illustrations engraved on wood. Dublin: Curry, 1839. 12mo. pp. xii, 442. Contemporary worn half calf on marbled boards, title in gilt on maroon morocco label in the second panel of a gilt decorated spine. Wear to extremities, occasional spotting. A  good copy. Scarce.  [L3 11B]

Rev. Caesar Otway (1780-1842) protestant clergyman, travel writer, and antiquary was born in Tipperary and educated at T.C.D. He became a Church of Ireland chaplain, and with Joseph Henderson Singer founded the ‘Christian Examiner and Church of Ireland Magazine’ in 1825 and edited it for the following six years. With George Petrie he founded the ‘Dublin Penny Journal’ in 1832 and wrote under the name of `Terence O’Toole’, beside his more frequent pseudonym ‘O.C.’

In the early summer of 1838, in order to visit the colony on Achill Island established by Edward Nangle with support from Otway himself, he travelled to the west of Ireland and on his return published this ‘Tour in Connaught’’, which contains descriptive chapters on Clonmacnoise, Aughrim, Ahasgragh,  Tuam, Cong, Louisburg and Clare Island, Croagh Patrick, Westport to Achill [Island], The Settlement, Tour to Slieve Croghan, Villages of Keem and Keel etc. In his writings Otway is vehemently anti-Catholic while fascinated by Irish folk customs and warmly sympathetic to the Irish peasantry.

He was the author of three valuable and now scarce travel books “written in a kindly and cheerful spirit, with a keen appreciation of the picturesque; and depict a condition of things now almost past away.” Caesar Otway died 16 March 1842 and was buried at St Ann’s Church. His first marriage (1803), to Frances Hastings, daughter of the dean of Achonry, James Hastings, produced three sons and two daughters. His second marriage (1837), to Elizabeth, a daughter of William Digges La Touche was childless.


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