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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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U2 (Eugene O’Brien)

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Eugene O’Brien

U2

I can remember being in Dublin in 2003 at a book launch in the Irish Film Centre. Getting there early, and wandering around Temple Bar, I was struck by two things. One was the variety of ethnic food that was now on offer in Dublin and which was very popular. The other was that from what seemed like every bar in the area, U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was blaring. One of the most popular tracks was ‘Vertigo’, and this could well be seen as symbolic of the Celtic Tiger. Vertigo suggests a condition of dizziness and lack of balance. Such dizziness is often caused by looking down from a great height. The driving rhythm and the lyrics were redolent of the time, ‘a feeling’s so much stronger than a thought’ and the location could well describe the dizzy heights of the Celtic Tiger:

Hello, hello (hola!)

I’m at a place called Vertigo (dónde está!)

It’s everything I wish I didn’t know

Except you give me something I can feel, feel!

The use of Spanish conveyed the global feel of the new Ireland, and the notion of a cultural dizziness at the sudden transformation from the poor relation of the European Community to now being the poster boy of economic development and growth was captured by seeing Celtic Tiger Ireland as a ‘place called Vertigo’. It is a place which...

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