Ireland of Today Getting Up Close and Personal During Your Vacation
During your Irish adventure, take time to know about its culture, people and way of life. Here are some of the things you might want to know about as you go through different tourist destinations all over the country.
The economy of Ireland has become a patient who is being kept alive by life support. Years of self-delusion and excess have given its economy a crippling illness. Although the country’s exports are continuously increasing – with IT and food processing as the two areas of growth – the domestic market of the country has collapsed completely. People are unable to engage in selling, buying, and construction of houses. Because of fear, the Irish are more in favour of saving rather than spending. Because there’s little money circulating in the economy and people tend to save, there is not enough fuel to ignite sales. Travellers have become Ireland’s valuable asset now, therefore, increasing your bargaining power.
The Irish Media
No longer is the church a place where the Irish go to purge their soul and lighten their heart. Talk shows on TV and the radio has become a favourite of the Irish people. Every topic that you can possibly think of is discussed on these media; whether its love relationships over the internet, rules for double-dating, lesbian nuns. There are even beer tasting programs in which different brands of beer are gathered from all over the world and gulped down in an atmosphere of hilarity. Irish Times, Irish Examiner, and the Irish Independent are the three major daily newspapers. The Mail, the Mirror, and the Sun take the lead in the UK tabloids that have recently appeared on the market. Free sheets are given away in the morning to people who commute to work. The sheets contain brief details of the headlines and tons of advertisements.
Arts and Culture
The Irish people have an intense fondness for writing and no cellular texting, Internet gaming, of the WWW can cause a dent in that. Ireland is home to one of the largest populations fond of buying books in Europe. Although the talent of Wilde, Joyce, and Shaw is incomparable, the best-sellers of Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann, Colm Tobin, and Joe O’Connor are books of equal quality and standard, which quench the thirst of eager book readers.
The Irish are equally talented in the film arena, with modern romance such as Once, past blockbusters such as The Quiet Man. The writer-directors Jim Sheridan, Noel Pearson, and Neil Jordan are well-accomplished people of contemporary Ireland.
With its cheerful and merry nature, the country is a great place to visit; however, try not to get sick. Discussion of politics almost always leads to the poor state of Ireland’s health service. If you go to a bar, you are most likely to hear someone’s bad experience with the health sector, such as waiting for hours in the emergency room to have a doctor look at their child’s broken finger. Because of the financial crisis Ireland has undergone, the political waters have been shaken up. The centre-right part, FiannaFáil, was defeated in the elections of 2010, after being in power for the last twenty years. A coalition consisting of the centre-left Labour Party and the centre-right Fine Gael has replaced them.
The government of Ireland has lost its financial sovereignty and no more controls the finances of its country; it is helped out by the European Union and the IMF. The coalition party has gained popularity because of fulfilling all the conditions put forward by the EU and the IMF during the bail out. It truly is a humbling state for Ireland to have its finances managed by someone else, especially after striving so hard to break free from the British imperialism. People now discuss politics, with honesty and transparency as their favourite words; however, all that can be done is to wait to see whether the people in authority have learned their lesson or not.
The Irish got caught up in credit card debts by spending on boob jobs, luxurious cars such as BMWs, and vacation homes on Capri; however, they are as confused as the tourists. Among the Europeans, the Irish work the longest number of hours if they have a job. Not very enthusiastic about life, a caller on a radio show described his great life in the following words: a garage big enough to hold two cars, twice a week sex, and children who do not call me loser.
The headlines are filled with sex scandals of the bishops, priests, even the Pope! The uncovering of criminal paedophilia has shaken Ireland for over ten years. The church has lost its credibility in the eyes of the majority of the population. And as the church lost its stature, the media did not hesitate from questioning the past and future of the church. The elderly who held the church in high esteem and depended on it for their spiritual strength are striving to accept the new realities about their most revered institution. Young people, on the other hand, have stopped attending Mass.
Because of all this loss, less and less Irish men are turning to priesthood, and to fill the void, African priests are brought in. Although the people have lost their trust in the church, they still attend it for special occasions, such as marriages, funerals, and births; however, the involvement of priests and church in the personal life of the Irish has decreased considerably. If the Irish Catholic Church wants to survive and regain its stature in the eyes of its people, it must rebrand and redefine itself sooner than soon; otherwise it will go down to become a minor attraction for only the minority just like the UK’s Church of England.
The Irish people’s love affair with their sports has endured the tough and dark times of the country’s financial crisis. In fact, it has become more important and is growing more. Sports victories mean a lot to the Irish in these times of trouble as that victory is more a hope – it is a belief that their country will prosper again – rather than just a victory. The victories of golf players such and Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke lift up the spirit of the Irish for a couple of days. Hurling and football are still considered the national sports and most of the people engage in these sports. Rugby, horse racing, and soccer follow these national sports in popularity.
Considering the country’s small size and population, one does not think the nation will rise above its abilities and be extra qualified. Ireland has been gaining strength in the global arena, as can be seen by the Irish team’s qualification for Euro 2012. Every Irish pub uses a satellite dish to catch different channels from around the world to view a wide variety of games – from Tokyo’s sumo wrestling to Bhutan’s badminton. Football is the national sports and, therefore, it is not a surprise to find images of football teams decorated on the walls of many pubs.