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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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6 Faith-based Tourism in Ireland and France (Déborah Vandewoude)

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Déborah Vandewoude

6 Faith-based Tourism in Ireland and France

Tourists’ motives and motivation for undertaking travel have been widely studied by scientists and researchers, especially anthropologists, sociologists and geographers.1 Tourism, recreation and leisure studies identify travel needs and goals, monitor and predict patterns and trends at international, regional and local levels. State agencies, local authorities and the booming tourism industry try to make the most of these interdisciplinary analyses to grasp development and business opportunities,2 by working out strategic plans3 to respond to tourists’ demands and to maximize economic and social benefits. Faith-based tourism, however, has not yet received so much attention in our growing secular societies where spirituality is sometimes looked down on, stereotyped or viewed as old-fashioned.

Of course, religion is recognized as having been the driving factor of early tourism with groups of faithful travelling to holy sites such as Rome or Jerusalem, which quickly became important religious centres, and hence an important part of the cultural landscape and the local economy. Religious-oriented journeys began with the first pilgrimages and major shrines continue to attract millions of visitors today. For many professionals, religious tourism is the new name given to pilgrimages, for it creates cash flows, employment, business prospects and boosts local economies just as sun holidays, business or wellness tourism do. Yet, this definition is not universally accepted. Some authors argue religion and tourism cannot←121 | 122→ be synonymous, for they are two contrasting concepts and are really...

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