ABSTRACT

Lydia Jane Leadbeater Fisher was part of a small number of privileged women who traversed Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century and left a written account. 1 The elite group included Maria Edgeworth in the 1830s, 2 Asenath Nicholson in 1844 and again from 1847 to 1849, 3 Harriet Martineau in 1852, 4 and Queen Victoria in 1849, 1853, 1861 and in 1900, shortly before her death. 5 Although they were writing from different perspectives and motives, a common question was 'how could a nation so environmentally blessed be so disadvantaged socially and economically?' 6 Fisher toured County Kerry in 1845, on the cusp of the onset of the Great Famine. Unlike many other women commentators, she was Irish, and then living in Limerick. 7