Pococke’s letters from abroad

On Friday night a new book on the travel correspondence of the famous Kilkenny based cleric, the 18th-century travel writer, Rev. Dr Richard Pococke, was launched at the Headquarters of the Heritage Council, in Kilkenny city.

On Friday night a new book on the travel correspondence of the famous Kilkenny based cleric, the 18th-century travel writer, Rev. Dr Richard Pococke, was launched at the Headquarters of the Heritage Council, in Kilkenny city.

The building is the old Bishop’s Palace, for St Canice’s Cathedral, where Bishop Pococke lived from 1756-65.

The Community Room was transformed into what Pococke’s study would probably have looked like, complete with Georgian furniture, Persian rugs, a small crocodile (he brought one or two back from the East) and some fossils. This collection of fossils once rudely described by a Mrs Delany as “lumps of stone that have neither shape nor form nor colour”).

The book (Letters from Abroad, The Grand Tour Correspondence of Richard Pococke & Jeremiah Milles: Letters from the East, 1737-41) is the third in a series of three volumes of previously unpublished letters sent by Pococke to his mother and which provide us with a great insight into a man who was the subject of much rumour diring his time in Kilkenny.

These were from his intrepid voyage of the Eastern Mediterranean, where over a period of five years (1737-41) he visited Egypt, the Holy Land, Asia Minor, Turkey and Greece.

The series was edited by Dr Rachel Finnegan, Lecturer in Heritage Studies at Waterford Institute of Technology. The Guest Speaker at the launch was former Professor of Classics at Queen’s University Belfast, George Leonard Huxley. The proceedings were conducted by Dr Richard Hayes, Head of School of Humanities at Waterford Institute of Technology. The book is available in good book shops or at www.pocockepress.com.