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Cultural Perspectives on Globalisation and Ireland


Edited By Eamon Maher

In the space of a few short decades, Ireland has become one of the most globalised societies in the Western world. The full ramifications of this transformation for traditional Irish communities, religious practice, economic activity, as well as literature and the arts, are as yet unknown. What is known is that Ireland’s largely unthinking embrace of globalisation has at times had negative consequences. Unlike some other European countries, Ireland has eagerly and sometimes recklessly grasped the opportunities for material advancement afforded by the global project.
This collection of essays, largely the fruit of two workshops organised under the auspices of the Humanities Institute of Ireland at University College Dublin and the National Centre for Franco-Irish Studies in the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, explores how globalisation has taken such a firm hold on Irish society and provides a cultural perspective on the phenomenon. The book is divided into two sections. The first examines various manifestations of globalisation in Irish society whereas the second focuses on literary representations of globalisation. The contributors, acknowledged experts in the areas of cultural theory, religion, sociology and literature, offer a panoply of viewpoints of Ireland’s interaction with globalisation.


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Foreword Fintan O’Toole vii


Foreword Fintan O’Toole A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, far away, the Communist Party in each part of the Soviet empire was given a ‘brotherly working-class party’ from a benighted capitalist country to look after. The special protégé of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Lithuania’s Communist Party was Ireland, so the gen- eral secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland, Michael O’Riordan, was a regular guest at the official seaside town of Palanga. On almost every visit, he gave an interview to the state newspaper. He would stress the similari- ties of Lithuania and Ireland, with their comparable area and population size. But, recalled the Lithuanian writer Simonas Daukantas, his recurring theme was, ‘How much Ireland could learn from Lithuania’s non-capitalist way of development’ and that ‘Lithuania shows what would be Ireland’s achievements if the country went socialist’.1 By 2005, there were 70,000 Lithuanian immigrants working in Ireland. Lithuanian students were being told ‘How much Lithuania could learn from Ireland’s free market way of development’ and that ‘Ireland shows what would be Lithuania’s achievements if the country went capitalist’. The Lithuanians were urged to create a Baltic Tiger in conscious emulation of the Celtic Tiger. And by the end of 2008, the Lithuanian government was running job fairs in Dublin, offering the migrants a way out of the imploded Irish dream.2 1 S. Daukantas, review of Lee Komito, The Information Revolution and Ireland: Prospects and Challenges (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2004). In Information Research,...

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