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Recalling the Celtic Tiger


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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Gastro-tourism (John Mulcahy)


John Mulcahy


Some commentators would assert that the Irish were so busy travelling to other parts of the world two and three times a year (remember New York for weekend shopping, visiting Santa Claus in Finland, Leaving Cert holidays to Magaluf, or skiing anywhere in Europe?), there was no time, or appetite, to indulge in gastro-tourism at home. And what is ’gastro-tourism’ anyway? I would suggest that it involves travelling somewhere to experience a specific gastronomic treat. That treat might be, for example, a destination restaurant (usually Michelin-starred or maybe one of the top 50 in the world), a particular product like beer in Prague or pizza in Naples, a gastronomic destination like Lima (Peru), Lyon (France), or Barcelona (Spain), or simply just a desire to indulge in an ethnic cuisine nearby. In this context, I’d be reasonably certain that very few of the 4 or 5 million visitors, on average, that travelled annually to Ireland during the Celtic Tiger did so for a gastronomic treat. But all those visitors did have to eat a few times a day, which usually translates into 30–35% of visitor spend averaging out at about €2 billion annually.

So, I would argue that gastronomic activity depended on tourism activity. It’s not generally acknowledged that the number of visitors to Ireland tripled during the Celtic Tiger, from just under 2 million in 1986 to over 7.5 million in 2007. With more visitors came increased demand, but changes...

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