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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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Riverdance (Harry White)


Harry White


‘Refulgent, majestic, ready to fall’: Richard Ellmann’s supremely perceptive reading of Oscar Wilde on the unwitting edge of catastrophe also summons for me the rueful and ruinous aftermath of the Celtic Tiger. The vertiginous descent into economic chaos, abject financial loss and a proverbially national depression that suddenly ensued upon 15 years of unbounded success seemed all the more shocking on account of its brutal swiftness. The strings seemed suddenly false, and the cosmopolitanism (in humiliating retrospect) ill-founded and ersatz.

But even from the ashes of this sorry remembrance, the Phoenix-like ascent of Riverdance appears yet as the anthem of a new age, destined though this was to ignominious collapse. Anyone who remembers those seven minutes during the interval of the European Song Contest on April 30, 1994, will scarcely dispute that Riverdance, even in its brief incipience, took the nation’s breath away, and astonished all of Europe by virtue of its heraldic brilliance and revelatory power. Here was a reconstructed identity for Ireland that was immediately persuasive. The surpassing intelligence of this reconfiguration, this newly imagined and immaculately executed artwork, was its emblematic virtuosity of expression. Riverdance privileged the combinative genius of its own technique, its own faultless exactitudes. It represented Irish music and dance from the high altitude of its formidable (but effortlessly achieved) demands and deliverances. Its unfolding sequence of choral and choreographical episodes gave no quarter to the invitatory commonplaces of popular culture: it sought no participation...

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