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Patrimoine/Cultural Heritage in France and Ireland

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Edited By Eamon Maher and Eugene O'Brien

This collection of essays explores the concept of patrimoine, a French word used to denote cultural heritage, traditional customs and practices – the Gaelic equivalent is dúchas – and the extent to which it impacts on France and Ireland. Borrowing from disciplines as varied as sociology, cultural theory, literature, marketing, theology, history, musicology and business, the contributors to the volume unearth interesting manifestations of how patrimoine resonates across cultural divides and bestows uniqueness and specificity on countries and societies, sometimes in a subliminal manner.

Issues covered include debt as heritage, Guinness as a cultural icon of «Irishness», faith-based tourism, the Huguenot heritage in Ireland, Irish musical inheritances since Independence, Skellig Michael and the commodification of Irish culture.

With a Foreword by His Excellency M. Stéphane Crouzat, French Ambassador to Ireland, this collection breaks new ground in assessing the close links between France and Ireland, links that will become all the more important in light of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

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Introduction: Patrimoine/Cultural Heritage in France and Ireland (Eamon Maher / Eugene O’Brien)

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Eamon Maher and Eugene O’Brien

Introduction: Patrimoine/Cultural Heritage in France and Ireland

Assessing something as all-pervasive as cultural heritage can run the risk of resorting to clichés and stereotypes, even though these very things are also an integral part of what constitutes the patrimoine of any given society. The French are rightly acclaimed for their fashion, wines, gastronomy, literature, philosophy, regional specificities, architecture, and café culture, to name but a few of the Hexagone’s most distinctive traits. Ireland, on the other hand, has its pubs, its writers, many of whom traditionally spent far too much time in the aforementioned pubs, its fighting spirit, its greenness, its historic struggle with its nearest neighbour, perfidious Albion, its beef and its Guinness. Patrimoine is what marks one country out from any other country; it is what makes it distinctive, different, sometimes appealing, at other times, unappealing. Therefore, when the organizers were considering the theme for the AFIS 2017 conference in Limerick, the former Conseiller Culturel at the French Embassy, Frédéric Rauser, suggested it could be both interesting and worthwhile to examine how cultural heritage plays out in both countries. The view beforehand was that the French are more adept at underlining their heritage, even at commodifying it, than the Irish are, but some of the essays you will read in this collection illustrate the fact that the Irish are starting to catch up in this regard, as the country begins to attract more and more tourists...

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