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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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Design and the Celtic Tiger (John O’Connor)

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John O’Connor

Design and the Celtic Tiger

We have always had a tenuous relationship with the visual in Ireland. Words we understand and even respect: for example, we delight in the wit of Swift and Wilde, the bold modernism of Joyce and Beckett, the poetry of Yeats and Heaney, the drama of Friel. The Irish are rightly renowned for the unique contribution they have made to the English language. Clearly, visual culture does not enjoy anything like the same popularity or standing as literature in Ireland. And then, at the bottom of the visual heap, we have design. Variously referred to as decorative art or commercial art, the concept of design as a process never gained any real traction in Ireland until recently. Even haute couture fashion designers like Sybil Connolly were celebrated for their fame and connections and revered as having harnessed the mysterious and elusive power of creativity rather than accepted as serious entrepreneurs and business people.

Marketing practice was professionalised in the latter half of the twentieth century and its role has been accepted by the Irish business community since then, but the central role of design in strategic development was not accorded the same regard. Since the demise of the state-sponsored Kilkenny Design Workshops in 1988, major national brands viewed design as a subset of advertising. When they bothered with design at all, the major Dublin advertising agencies enjoyed the jaunt across the pond to retain London-based design consultancies. Significant...

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