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Ireland Now

Tales of Change from the Global Island

William Flanagan

Publication Year: 2007

Ireland Now is an accessible guide to understanding how Ireland and the Irish people have changed during the past fifteen years. Largely as a result of the country's rapidly expanding economy, Ireland has been transformed from one of the poorest to one of the richest countries in the European Union. William Flanagan uses personal, first-hand stories from a wide range of Irish citizens, including the elderly, farmers, people in small towns and rural areas, and new immigrants, to illustrate how various segments of the population are coping with a shifting social landscape. Flanagan skillfully weaves his stories of real people together to reflect themes of promise and loss attached to economic upheaval, the struggle to maintain traditional ways in the face of new social and moral orders, the effort to adapt to a country with an enhanced place in the world economy, and the challenge of remaining at home as the meaning of home becomes forever changed. Based on years of Flanagan's personal experience and careful research in Ireland, this important book examines the nature of Irish character and the fusion of tradition and change. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in Ireland and Irish identity.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press


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pp. v-vi

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p. vii

Putting this book together has been a pleasure for me. For others, it involved a certain amount of effort—making contacts, reading drafts, opening their lives, and searching their thoughts. Readers will be able to recognize how indebted I am to many of those who appear on these pages. ...

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pp. 2-15

A man in bright green warm-ups made his way slowly along the main street of a small town in the west of Ireland. He wore a baseball cap with an Irish saying on the front of it, and he carried a polished blackthorn stick. He paused, then entered a shop that sold souvenirs and gifts. ...

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There Is No Map of Ireland

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pp. 16-35

The future caught up with Ireland just as people had become comfortable with the idea that Ireland was one spot—in a world of rapidly collapsing certainties—where things changed slowly. A person could experience time travel, going back across the years simply by crossing the Atlantic Ocean or the Irish Sea. ...

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In the Teeth of the Tiger

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pp. 36-63

In the 1990s the U.S. investment firm Morgan Stanley coined the now famous term “Celtic Tiger,” dramatizing a remarkable fact: the expanding Irish economy had been outperforming the rapidly growing Asian Tigers for years. Ireland’s astonishing economic growth has continued through the end of the decade ...

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Strangers at Home

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pp. 64-81

In Ireland today, individual biographies intersect with a national history that has taken a sharp turn, as people everywhere in the world grope toward a dimly seen future driven by globalism. People make plans, place bets, engage in acts of faith that somehow, eventually, the future will all make sense, ...

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No Traditions Without Change: Listeners Make the Music

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pp. 82-111

There’s nothing better than brown cake with a boiled egg and tea for supper. Boiled eel and potatoes are a sure cure for too much drink the night before. These are things spoken out of the past, from seasoned memory, things that are true for all time. Anyone who would challenge such revelations has not lived long enough to understand ...

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Passing on the Farms: From Family to Euro-Business

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pp. 112-161

The business of planting potatoes was a simple matter a century ago on Great Blasket Island or on any small farm in Ireland. When the time came, you did it and hoped for the best, with only survival hanging in the balance. No matter how complicated the story of the present-day Irish, the present has grown out of the soil; ...

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Parish Life: The Job of Keeping the Faith in Changing Times

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pp. 162-199

Some time ago I was waiting at a traffic light in a city in the Midwest when a news item on the radio drew my attention. It was an interview with an Irish parish priest who had written a very detailed history on the circumstances leading up to the death of Michael Collins. I was fumbling around looking for something to write down ...

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The New Irish

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pp. 200-241

At an Irish National School, Dublin schoolboys were preparing to pray. They were washing their hands, face, and feet, getting ready to face Mecca for one of their five daily prayers. In addition to the National School, in which religious instruction is Islamic rather than Catholic, the Dublin Islamic Center contains a library, ...

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Global Ireland and Places Called Home

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pp. 242-274

Ireland’s televised match with Germany was about to get underway early in the 2002 World Cup. Minutes before the game began, the streets of Kilkenny were full of people. It was more or less a normal business day, except for the undercurrent of anticipation that grew stronger as game time approached: ...


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pp. 275-278

E-ISBN-13: 9780268079642
E-ISBN-10: 0268079641
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268028862
Print-ISBN-10: 0268028869

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2007

OCLC Number: 694144456
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Ireland Now

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Ireland -- Economic conditions.
  • National characteristics, Irish.
  • Ireland -- Social life and customs -- 21st century.
  • Ireland -- Social conditions.
  • Ireland -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
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