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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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Publishing (Brian Langan)

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Brian Langan

Publishing

The Celtic Tiger years marked a period of transition for the publishing industry in Ireland. Through the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, there had been a gradual shift from a relatively traditional, indigenous focus to a more progressive and outward-looking stance that saw Irish writing as a force for change, reflecting the opening of the economy itself.

From the mid-1990s, there was a consolidation of long-established Irish publishers such as Gill & Macmillan and Mercier Press, combined with the fresh approach of relative newcomers such as Lilliput, The O’Brien Press, Poolbeg and New Island. When the economy began to take off, many of these publishers started to push out the boundaries of what Irish publishing could do. For instance, Poolbeg Press was instrumental in driving the 1990s boom in ‘commercial women’s fiction’, exemplified by writers such as Maeve Binchy, Patricia Scanlan, Sheila O’Flanagan, Marian Keyes, Cathy Kelly and Cecilia Ahern.

UK publishers had long held an interest in Irish writers, and in the 2000s three of the biggest global publishers set up publishing offices in Ireland, with Penguin Ireland and Hodder Headline Ireland (later Hachette Ireland) both established in 2002, and Transworld Ireland founded in 2008.

These ‘Anglos’, as they became known, quickly established a strong sense of competition that had, arguably, been lacking among Irish publishers. Most indigenous publishers rose to the challenge. For instance, Gill Books, having rebranded after a management buyout at Gill &...

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