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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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Avant-propos/ Preface

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HE Stéphane Crouzat, French Ambassador to Ireland

Avant-propos/Preface

I am delighted and honoured to preface this significant essay collection on how patrimoine, that elusive and multifaceted concept, applies to France and Ireland. It is true, as is stated in the editors’ engaging Introduction, that the term has a myriad of meanings in French, so much so that one could almost argue that it is untranslatable. The English version that is used by the editors, ‘cultural heritage’, does come close to capturing what patrimoine encompasses, and the various essays similarly treat of its many manifestations in French and Irish society.

Hence we come across discussion of subjects as diverse as: debt inheritance; the support by French publishers and Le Monde newspaper of Irish writers in French translation; religious tourism in France and Ireland; the UNESCO heritage site of Skellig Michael, the Atlantic island off the south-west coast of Ireland that was home to a monastic settlement many centuries ago; the traditional Irish butcher’s shop as an example of patrimoine; the impact of French Huguenot settlers on the built environment, the banking system and other aspects of Dublin’s heritage; Irish musical inheritances, and so on. This overview is a tour de force, another remarkable accomplishment in the long list of books brought out under the auspices of the National Centre for Franco-Irish Studies, located in Tallaght, and its ancillary organization, the Association of Franco-Irish Studies (AFIS).

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