According to the most recent edition of the popular Rough Guide to Ireland, ‘among the romantic preconceptions visitors bring to Ireland, it is their expectations of the landscape that are most likely to be fulfilled and indeed surpassed’. The secret of Ireland's appeal is to be found in the coupling of spectacular landscapes with ‘the unhurried nature of rural living’ (9th edn. 2008, p. 6). Such observations unconsciously stem from a tradition of travel-writing which originated in the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and has been critically studied by William H.A. Williams. His book is a valuable contribution to the growing literature on imaginative constructions of national identity, which Declan Kiberd has labelled ‘inventing Ireland’.