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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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Poetry (Eoin Flannery)


Eoin Flannery


Poetry might seem a long way from the centre of Irish society’s priorities during the Celtic Tiger, and its aftermath, but poetry resolutely precedes and outlasts all such periodical economic and social cycles. Contrary to the sterile imaginative horizons of Ireland’s economic boom, in form and content, poetry recognises and embraces multiple futures, and it eschews the delimited mindscapes of unidirectional consumerism. The hollowed-out and dispiriting value system regnant during the Celtic Tiger is anathema to the empathy and generosity embodied by the best of poetry. There is real value to be appreciated when one is alive and open to what the American poet and critic, James Longenbach, terms, ‘the virtues of poetry’.

Poetry must itself be challenging as it confronts the challenge of registering as an effective and an affective medium in on-going public debates in Ireland. This very contention is apparent in a piece in The Irish Times by Fintan O’Toole, where he moves away from his more sustained anatomisations of the iniquities of Ireland’s erstwhile political and financial elites to focus on the role of culture in the post-Celtic Tiger era. For O’Toole ‘the boom was resolutely unpoetic,’ while ‘its hard-faced greed’ offered ‘an impossible challenge to the lyricism that is the first resort of Irish writing’ (2011).

Irish poetry did respond to the hypocrisies and the inequities of the ‘boom’ years in Ireland with frustration, irony, and black humour. We can intuit from O’Toole’s...

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