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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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Banville, John (Eoghan Smith)

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Eoghan Smith

Banville, John

John Banville’s writing from 1970 to the mid-1990s can be read as a kind of artistic revolt against Ireland. This primary attitude did not change during the new social and economic dispensation of the Celtic Tiger years: ‘To me, first of all,’ he said in 2004, ‘an artist must be against everything’ and that good art ‘is by its nature agnostic, is against received ideas, against the reigning pieties’. The reigning pieties, if they can be called such, of the Celtic Tiger years were peace in Northern Ireland, neoliberal globalisation, social liberalisation, and European political and monetary union. In Banville, this new cosmopolitan Ireland is barely registered in his writing. In 2005, at the peak of the boom, he stated of his work that ‘one has nothing to say about the world, or society, or morals or politics or anything else’. In the 1990s and 2000s, however, many other prominent Irish writers were less interested in exploring the present than in excavating the architectures of de Valeran Ireland, and the Celtic Tiger offered them a vantage point from which to do so. Banville’s work also turned back towards the past, sometimes exploring it from a personal point of view, sometimes from a political perspective. Works such as The Untouchable (1997), Eclipse (2000), Shroud (2002), The Sea (2005), The Infinities (2009), and Ancient Light (2012) all deal to varying degrees with historical legacies and personal secrets, of things previously unutterable, of the...

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