Is Fergal Tobin's The Best of Decades an Accurate Description of the 1960s in Ireland?
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“The Best of Decades”: Is this an accurate description of the 1960s in Ireland?
“The Best of Decades” is a somewhat accurate description of the 1960’s in Ireland. Significant social change took place in the areas of politics, the media, education and culture in Ireland during this period. A new generation emerged who had limited tolerance for the conditions suffered by those heretofore. Ireland had been engulfed in an economic depression during the previous decade. Emigration and poverty were widespread setting a tone of misery and exasperation. (1) But this new decade brought with it the idea of freedom: freedom to challenge previous ideals and to break through the boundaries that had previously been set. 1960’s Ireland was characterised by this atmosphere of optimism and prosperity. (2) However what was perceived by many to be the “golden era” was undermined by several bleak issues. Irish society was still very much subservient to the Catholic Church during this period, while the late 1960’s also marked the beginnings of “The Troubles” as we know them today, a period of major civil unrest in Northern Ireland which lasted for many years following and claimed the lives of many innocent people. (3)
A notable feature of Irish society in the 1960’s was economic expansion. There was a prevalent perception that Ireland had become isolated from European economic growth and that this had to be reversed. The advancement of industrial and economic growth in