AN essence of Irish Culture. Eoin McNamara St Patrick’s Day Presentation 2010 Foundation for Science and Liberal Arts Domus Dorpatensis Tartu, Estonia. Céad Míle Fáilte. Tá fáilte romhat agus lá Fhéile Pádraig shona daoibh ! Welcome and happy St Patrick’s Day to you all!.
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AN essence of Irish Culture Eoin McNamara St Patrick’s Day Presentation 2010 Foundation for Science and Liberal Arts DomusDorpatensis Tartu, Estonia
CéadMíleFáilte TáfáilteromhatagusláFhéilePádraigshonadaoibh! Welcome and happy St Patrick’s Day to you all!
What makes Ireland Different? • Language (but then again!)? • Sense of humour? • Customs (Sport, Music, Dance etc.)? • Years of economic underdevelopment in the western context? • A fondness for a few drinks now and again? • The Roman Catholic religion? • A slightly unique accent when speaking English? • Not being British ??
Language: An interesting place to start • Irish language: first official language of the state. • No! Irish is not Irish dialect of English language! • Official name: Gaelige. • The term Gaelic refers to the family of languages. Which also includes Scots Gaelic, Welch, Cornish, Manx and maybe more....... • Around 350,000 fluent speakers in the world. • An official language of the EU since 2007.
An Gaeltachtin Irish culture • Almost a ritual to be sent there for the summer when a 14-18 year old! • Irish taught in school for 14 years (4-18 year olds) • Many Gaeltacht regions set in the most scenic places in Ireland. • Native speaking population in serious decline since the 1920s • Landscape might be beautiful but land largely infertile • Regions generally the hardest hit by emigration • Young people went and much of the language ‘s heritage went with them!
Emigration: the Irish diaspora • Historic legacy of emigration. • Mass emigration started in the early 1800s. • West of Ireland being the region that lost the most. • Irish went where Irish had always gone: Boston, New York, Chicago, Melbourne, Sydney, Liverpool, London, Glasgow etc. • Many sad tales of emigration. • Coffin ships, “no dogs, no cats, no Irish”, vicious poverty experienced by some, youth emigration and the brain-drain etc. • Conservatism dominated the Irish social landscape-perhaps stunting economic innovation.
Positives of Irish emigration • Irish proved apt politicians. This was seen principally in the governance of Australia and the United States in the 1900s. • U.S. Presidents such as Reagan and Kennedy and key policy- makers like Robert McNamara. • Even Joe Biden and Barrack Obama! • Keeping the culture alive. Irish dancing, music sports and languages were practiced widely by Irish clubs and societies abroad. More so than at home. • Culture of foreign money coming back (Sterling, Dollars). • Irish diasporas helped bring a high level of attention to a small country. • A traditionally strong relationship with the United States. • Strong American involvement in the Northern Ireland Peace Process. • Foreign direct investment by U.S. firms Intel, Microsoft, Ebay...
The Eurovision • Winners in 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996. • Generally Irish people are proud of this (lots don’t admit it! ) • First entered in 1965, Tallinn in 2002 has since been the only staging that Ireland has not been present at since then! • Almost all winners sang ballads. • 2000s possible reason for current lack of success, change in performance trends and entry to new states, phone-in voting-all possible!
Sport • A very sporting nation. • Gaelic football, Hurling, Soccer, Rugby all highly popular, both in terms of playing numbers and spectator numbers. • The Gaelic Athletic Association founded in 1886 in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. • Gaelic Football and Hurling strongly linked to Irish culture, nationalism and identity. • FIFA World Cup Finals 1990 (quarter-finals), 1994 (second round), 2002 (second round).
The 1990s • From poorest of the rich to the richest in the western world. • How did this happen? • Catch-up theory. • Foreign industrialists got good answers from Irish policy makers. • European politician: Why? • Irish politician: Why not? • Lowest levels of corporation tax in then EU 15. • High level of R&D support given to indigenous and foreign firms. Enterprise Ireland, IDA etc. • English speaking and highly skilled workforce. • Irish Education system always strong • Currently, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin (ranked inside world 100) University College Cork (just outside top 200). • Skilled graduates could now stay at home!
Change for the good • More confident Irish society. • “As a nation we had arrived”- George Lee • In general a great sense of national hope. Arguably for the first time in our history • In 2007 UN HDI index showed Ireland 4th • Human Rights, freedom of speech and media, democracy. Ireland ranked amongst an elite group of states (with Norway, Canada etc.)
Where did it all go wrong? • Some economic experts have said that emphasis was taken away from innovation and FDI in the economy around 2002-ish! • Chance at developing indigenous industry not fully taken! • Instead the Irish kept the economy growing artificially through the construction industry. • “property bubble” • Banking system: sell, sell, sell culture. • 2009 Government bank bail-out, NAMA etc. • Unemployment rising, now 12-14 % • Emigration back on the agenda.
Challenges for contemporary Ireland • Re-adjusting to life after unprecedented economic growth in the 1990s and 2000s. • One generation does not know what it is like to live in an economic downturn (my generation) • Solving the banking crisis. • Reforming the political system. • Repairing our relationship with Europe. • Adjusting to a more multi-cultural Ireland for the first time in our history....... • While at the same time retaining our culture.....
Go raibhmílemaithagat Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much!