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France and Ireland in the Public Imagination


Edited By Benjamin Keatinge and Mary Pierse

This engaging collection of essays considers the cultural complexities of the Franco-Irish relationship in song and story, image and cuisine, novels, paintings and poetry. It casts a fresh eye on public perceptions of the historic bonds between Ireland and France, revealing a rich variety of contact and influence. Controversy is not shirked, whether on the subject of Irish economic decline or reflecting on prominent, contentious personalities such as Ian Paisley and Michel Houellebecq. Contrasting ideas of the popular and the intellectual emerge in a study of Brendan Kennelly; recent Irish tribunals are analysed in the light of French cultural theory; and familiar renditions of Franco-Irish links are re-evaluated against the evidence of newspaper and journal accounts.
Drawing on the disciplines of history, art, economics and literature, and dipping into the good wines of France and Ireland, the book paints a fascinating picture of the relationship between the two countries over three dramatic centuries.
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Exporting a ‘Sense of Place’: Establishment of Regional Gastronomic Identity Beyond National Borders


Within their particular gastronomic DNA, many countries carry elements of their past and present beverage cultures, ones that are uniquely identified with a nation. In Ireland, significant examples would include Guinness, Irish whiskey and the Irish pub. The German nation has strong associations with beer and beer gardens; Scotland has established connections with whisky, haggis, shortbread and salmon.1 But of all modern cultures, it is that of France which is most typically portrayed as having the strongest gastronomic identity: it is based around the very French concept of ‘terroir’, and it is wine that most readily springs to mind when the beverage culture of France is discussed.

This essay will reflect upon novel ways in which the French oenological ‘sense of place’ might be exported beyond its national boundaries. Story and themed interactions are the suggested and innovative methodologies for achieving positive relationships between a geographically delimited wine product and an external market. It will be argued that, through such strategies, consumer perception can be enhanced, thus permitting realization of an emotional bond between consumer and the product and its defined region. Essential to creation of this form of ‘tourism without travel’2 is the successful reification of regional gastronomic identity beyond its natural ← 241 | 242 → borders, a process significantly assisted by the themed locations that act as ‘cultural ambassadors’ for the wine.3

Wine as ‘story’

Wine means different things to different audiences. Some are interested purely in the drink itself, as a...

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