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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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Photography (Justin Carville)

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Justin Carville

Photography

The ubiquity of the photographic image in the visual culture of the Celtic Tiger was such that its effects on Irish society’s perception of the period has largely gone unnoticed. In its variegated forms, photography was mobilised by architects, planners, property developers and the print media to both aestheticise the physical and social transformation of urban and suburban life, and also to normalise visual consumption of unfettered property development as an expression of future prosperity. Virtual environments were constructed by architects and planners to envision property developments through post-photographic digitally generated images, that although not produced through a camera lens, took on the characteristics of the photographic image. These images adorned building hoarding that was wrapped around marquee property developments in city centres, and advertising bill-boards promoting the future promise of housing developments in suburbs and rural towns.

Through these everyday forms, photography increasingly became part of the scenography of the Celtic Tiger, which took on an intensified photographic appearance. Photography was also a major feature of broadsheet weekly property supplements which codified for readers the visual characteristics of property porn that propagated the myth of the property ladder as a symbol of social and economic mobility. The speculative and aspirational sentiments of the Celtic Tiger increasingly became crystalised through photography as people increasingly bought future property developments based on images.

While photography was embedded in a visual economy that not only constructed images of property development, but also...

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