Editorial: Ireland’s Past? Essay

2614 Words11 Pages
Editorial: Ireland’s past? The popular cliché about the island of Ireland being a place that the flow of time has left beyond is endorsed by a variety of perspectives. Emigration has made such a huge impact on Irish history that the Irish diaspora and its descendants far outnumbered the inhabitants of the Ireland of Ireland itself, and many of those outside Ireland who claim Irish descent remain emotionally attached to a conception of the “old country,” whose image in their minds is strongly associated with the distant experiences of their ancestors. The Irish tourist industry, conscious of the lucrative market linked to such conceptions, has repeatedly packaged the country as characterised by a slower, almost pre-modern pace of life,…show more content…
Its recent experience of rapid economic growth (the so-called “Celtic tiger” economy), has facilitated the representation of its people as enterprising, at the cutting edge of technology and artistically creative.[5] In stereotype, Irish people have long been depicted as a people characterised by bouts of Bacchanalian hedonism, often lubricated by the consumption of alcohol, and this too may be conducive to the exciting image of a free, untethered people. The Irish Republic’s recent strong commitment to a closer European union has led some commentators to see the country as a society able to embrace a new post-national era without the historical hang-ups of more established European powers, not least its neighbour, the United Kingdom.[6] The contrast has been emphasized in recent times by the Irish economy’s catching up to and outstripping of the UK’s per capita Gross Domestic Product.[7] Finally, in recent years, with the vaunted peace process, Ireland has been seen as a society able to achieve an allegedly breathtaking transcendence of historically entrenched animosities.[8] To those of us who live outside of Ireland, the Ireland of our imaginations is in many cases a pastiche of such contradictory images. The existence of such contradictions suggests however that such stereotypes do not always have even the bare grounding in reality that lazy adherents assume they must have. Ireland is in fact, like many societies, a delicate blend of old and new.

More about Editorial: Ireland’s Past? Essay

Open Document