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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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1. Inside Out: Time and Place in Global Ireland Michael Cronin 11


1. Inside Out: Time and Place in Global Ireland Michael Cronin The piper, it is said, calls the tune but in Ireland he is often expected, in addition, to explain it. The great piper and folklore collector Séamus Ennis was no exception and he frequently prefaced his tunes with an account of their origin. One such tune was Cornphípopa na Sióg or the Fairies Hornpipe and Ennis’s story went as follows. A man returning home from a wedding loses his way and ‘if that happens to any of you, you have but to take off your coat and turn it inside-out and put it on again and you’ll find your way home alright’.1 The wedding reveller does this and he ends up three fields away from his own house. At the bottom of the long field in which he finds himself there is a fairy host dancing to music played by a piper. Listening to the music he falls asleep and when he awakes next morning and goes home to tell people what he saw, no one believes him. It was only when they hear him play the tune he picked up from the fairies on the pipes that they decide he was not making it up. Thus, ever afterwards the tune is known as the ‘Fairies Hornpipe’. In a twinkling, the wedding guest is transported to the vicinity of his house. The vignette from Irish folklore anticipates the phenomenon of space-time compression in modernity where successive...

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