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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Introduction (Brian Lucey / Eamon Maher / Eugene O’Brien)

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Brian Lucey, Eamon Maher and Eugene O’Brien

Introduction

There has been a lot written and said about the periods of Irish history known collectively as the Celtic Tiger. Indeed, ‘history’ is probably the incorrect term as we are still living through this period, with its cycle of boom-and-bust economics. For a number of years, starting in the mid-1990s with an export-led boom, and resuming in the early noughties with a credit boom, Ireland roared ahead. Each year, national income rose, Ireland became a net importer of people as immigrants from Europe flocked to come and work in Ireland, the price of property rose and rose, and consumer spending ballooned every year. The export-led Celtic Tiger having been seemingly revived by the Credit Celtic Tiger, saw Ireland being touted as a role model for other economies, and there was a sense that Ireland, having been for so long a closed and pre-modern society and economy, had now bypassed the slow, accretive progress associated with modernity, and had transported itself into a postmodern society and model neoliberal economy. Financial services, technology, and property were the drivers of this ongoing economic phenomenon, and the standard of living across the country rose as consumer goods became an index of the increasing levels of wealth and credit flowing in the economy.

Shiny new buildings, business and retail parks, which channelled the American ‘mall’ concept, designer stores, gallerias and plazas became familiar sights and commercial experiences. Arts centres and theme...

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