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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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Novels of the Celtic Tiger (Derek Hand)

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Derek Hand

Novels of the Celtic Tiger

The advent of the Celtic Tiger celebrated the marketplace along with the newly minted middle classes who now happily inhabited that marketplace. Interestingly, the Celtic Tiger’s arrival, and departure, has given its name to only one literary medium: the novel. One reason for this is that, since its emergence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the novel form, more so than either poetry or drama, has always been more resolutely tied to the vagaries of the marketplace and the bourgeoisie who find themselves there.

The colonial and post-colonial model that fitted the Irish experience of failure and under-achievement for so long now no longer applied, as success became the barometer of measuring value and worth. Many novels were celebrated simply for the prizes and the awards they won, rather than for their literary merit. A diverse range of responses to the Celtic Tiger’s arrival, and its subsequent economically devastating departure, can be found in novels as varied as Kevin Power’s Bad Day in Blackrock, Deirdre Madden’s Time Present and Time Past, Rob Doyle’s Here are the Young Men, Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies and The Mark and the Void, Anne Enright’s Booker prize-winning The Gathering, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne’s Fox, Swallow, Scarecrow, Claire Kilroy’s The Devil I Know, and Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart.

One noticeable consequence was how many novelists called their reader’s attention to this shift. A note of comic bewilderment is struck in...

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