No. 491 NAI DFA 14/26

Letter from Count Gerald O'Kelly de Gallagh to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Paris, 10 December 1930

I have the honour to enclose herewith copy of the December issue of Irish Travel which I have just received from the Irish Tourist Association.

You know the great interest I have always taken in the admirable efforts of the Irish Tourist Association to attract tourists to Ireland. This interest must be my excuse and my justification for formulating some very definite criticisms of certain parts of the current issue of Irish Travel. The main object of Irish Travel is to attract foreign tourists to Ireland. In order to cooperate in this movement the Legation distributes a considerable number of this magazine every month in France and would be prepared to distribute twice that number. But for this distribution to be of practical utility, the reading matter of the magazine must obviously be such as would be calculated to attract tourists. I regret to say that in the current issue there are at least two articles, among otherwise excellent material, which, in my judgment, far from attracting intending visitors, would actually serve to repel them. I refer to the article entitled 'The Man from the Daily Mail' on page 87 and the article entitled 'The Christmas Turkey' on page 79. The first mentioned article is self advertisement of a type so crude as to be repellent. It is as deplorable from the point of view of journalism as from that of our national credit and only invites ridicule. As for the second article - The Christmas Turkey - it is one of the worst written stories I have ever had the misfortune to read, and I confess that I would not dare to distribute a magazine containing it to any educated person. Surely if no higher standard of fiction can be secured for Irish Travel it would be far better to cut out fiction and reserve the publication in question to the subjects included in its title. How such an effort can be expected to attract tourists to Ireland is incomprehensible to me.1

I perfectly realize that we, as a department, have no authority whatever to interfere with the editorial management of Irish Travel or of any other paper, and if I write so strongly on the subject it is because I am in complete sympathy with the object of the Irish Tourist Association and feel convinced that the matter I have criticised can do nothing but injury to these objects. My one desire is to be helpful and I think that honest criticism can be helpful. It is in this spirit that I would ask you to bring this minute to the notice of Mr. O'Brien2 of the Irish Tourist Association with whom I have always cooperated on exceedingly friendly terms.

One other point. The back cover of the same number contains an advertisement entitled 'Spend your holidays at an Irish Free State Holiday Resort'. The advertisement would appear to have been inserted by the G.W. and L.M.S. railways in conjunction with the Irish Tourist Association and various Irish concerns, and is obviously primarily intended for the British public. You will note that in the centre panel, printed in red, Dún Laoghaire is termed Kingstown, with the Irish name in small letters in brackets underneath. At the end of the same paragraph appears the word Kingstown without any reference to Dún Laoghaire. Surely in each case the Irish name should figure as the correct name with the word 'Kingstown' in brackets as an explanation if necessary. This would seem all the more obvious inasmuch as in the list of resorts served by G.S.R., on the right of the page, Dún Laoghaire and Cobh appear in their Irish form without any explanation. Of course, however much the alterations I suggest may be desirable in themselves I perfectly realise that we can do nothing officially to bring them about. At the same time I feel sure that if you called Mr. O'Brien's attention to them, a suggestion from him to the advertisers would have the desired effect.3

[signed] Count G. O'Kelly de Gallagh

1 This paragraph has been marked 'B' by John V. Fahy, with the handwritten annotation 'Mr Belton, 1. please put substance of B to Industry and Commerce. [Two words indecipherable] to Mr O'Brien in a mild form, stating that our legations abroad find difficulty in distributing such poor literature, i.e. the article in question'.

2 Jack O'Brien, Secretary of the Irish Tourist Association.

3 This paragraph has been marked 'A' by John V. Fahy, with the handwritten annotation 'Mr O'Lochlainn, as to A, you might phone Mr O'Brien and mention this point to him for future correction if he can'.

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