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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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2 Debt as Inheritance (Eóin Flannery)

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Eóin Flannery

2 Debt as Inheritance

Like all our financial arrangements, and like all our rules of moral conduct – in fact, like language itself – notions about debt form part of the elaborate imaginative construct that is human society.1

Patrimoine and the Celtic Tiger

Patrimoine/cultural heritage and indebtedness appear to be unlikely bed-fellows in the context of contemporary Irish culture, yet bringing these terms into a constellation can prove illuminating as we interrogate parts of the creative and critical ‘heritage’ of recent Irish socio-economic history. The economics and the politics of the heritage industry have long proven problematic and divisive, as the financialization of the past, as well as the monetization of precarious territories, have engendered suspicion and attracted ire from invested constituencies in Ireland. But quite apart from the local irruptions of conflict within and around the heritage industry, the nature of ‘heritage’ itself is ripe for critique, as, we will suggest, it has taken on mutated and debilitating forms on foot of the demise of the Celtic Tiger. While the mainstream media has resumed its role as passive commentator on the partial recrudescence of Irish economic vitality, this belies the very real ways in which legacies of indebtedness persist for large numbers of citizens in Ireland, and, arguably, obscures the reality that debt has become a cornerstone of our national heritage. In a concise elucidation of the meaning of heritage,←35 | 36→ Francesco Selicato, firstly, details, the Latin etymological roots...

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