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How authentic is Irish culture in Ireland?

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 9:18 pm
by Grania
Hi guys

I'm after some opinions from those of you that care to give me them :D I'm currently knee-deep in an essay where I am bascially trying to argue that international legislation relating to the rights of 'indigenous peoples' (by which they mostly mean tribes etc) can also be applied to other people, for example in communities in Ireland.

So, my question for you is, in your opinion how authentic is the Irish culture that is put on display, especially when you're in Ireland, and how much of it do you think is just for the tourists? Any ideas gratefully recieved. Thanks

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 11:30 pm
by Dubhy63
I believe that the Irish culture which is put on display is usually more authentic in areas where the tourists haven't infiltrated every square mile.It's quite easy for me to give Dublin and Donegal as the opposite examples and for the obvious reasons of course.

Many tourists arrive in Ireland through Dublin Airport and spend at least one or a few days in and around the city.They want to sample as much of the Irish culture as they can,but it's often over-done by many establishments.Music can be heard from every shop where souvenirs are the merchandise and over-priced food like Irish stew can be found in many of the pubs and restaurants.Luckily there's still the other side of the story,the authentic culture can still be found in Dublin,but it's getting more difficult.I love walking down Moore Street on any given day when the dealers are out with their stalls,selling fruit,vegetables,fish and flowers.It's something that has been done for generations and hasn't changed too much over the years.

Donegal differs quite a bit from Dublin in my opinion,simply because the authentic culture is easier too find.The county is more isolated when it comes to tourism,therefore the winters can be real quiet up there.Pubs and other establishments can't rely heavily on the tourists during the 'cold' season,it's the locals who have to keep them going.The advantage of this situation is that the culture is kept alive,things don't get too commercial.Even the summers and other seasons are great,because the people are so used to get things done without the extra income,they carry on doing this during these months.The atmosphere is more relaxed and I'm quite sure that the tourists appreciate this.

Dublin and Donegal are only a few examples and picked by me due to my personal experience,but there are many other locations in Ireland that can be compared. :D

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:27 am
by Ardens
You have chosen a complicated but nevertheless interesting topic, Grania. The first problem comes with the term "indigenous people" itself. If there is anything like "indigenous people", it won't be there naturally. Who belongs to an ethnic group and who doesn't is determined by people and of course there are conflicts about that. Therefore it might also be difficult to say whether the Irish are an ethnic group or whether there are ethnic groups in Ireland.
But the word "culture" can be seen seperately from terms of "indigenous people" and "ethnic groups". Especially considering the millions of Irish emmigrants who took parts of their culture with them to their new homes, it is impossible to find one place or one nationality to which elements of Irish culture are connected.
Looking at culture in the country Ireland, I would consider everything there as authentic. In my opinion, the English language, Italian food and American pop music are as authentic as the Irish language and Irish stew. Irish is certainly the way Irish people deal with all these things, the way they feel about the music, the way they eat they eat their food. Authentic Irish culture, the way Irish people live, is something that cannot be presented or sold in souvenir shops, especially because it is very varied. The items there may be attempts to symbolize aspects of Irish culture but at the same time they are created in a way that shall appeal to all the tourists from abroad and fit their image of Irishness. But being something that filmly belongs to modern Ireland, the souvenir shops are certainly part of Irish culture somehow.

I think that it would be very sad if no-one cared about Irish history because the songs, the stories and also the wonderful Irish language are big treasures that must not be forgotten. But at the same time one should respect all the other elements of modern Ireland because they are not less Irish than the old ones.

In Germany, there are things with an old tradition and things with a new tradition as well and I'm always surprised when people from abroad think that culture in Germany only consists of the Oktoberfest and beer. Of course there is much more than that but it's difficult for tourists to see these things since they are or at least seem to be part of their own culture so much. :)

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 12:15 pm
by Grania
Thanks!!! Dubhy, in particular I'm interested by your response as someone who experiences these things day-to-day. If anyone else who lives or has lived in Ireland can offer any insight that would be wonderful! But if you've just visited, that's still excellent.

Ardens, yes, it is a complicated topic...but I wanted to make things more interesting :lol: I never seem to do things the easy way!

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 12:19 pm
by Grania
Further thought, if I may ask you Dubhy, regarding what you said about the difference of Dublin...would you say that the same or similar would apply to most areas where tourists are concentrated? (just in case you wonder why I'm asking, the jargon for such areas is 'honeypot' sites, which I need to bring in, and I'd like to be as accurate as possible)

Thanks :D this is massively helpful!

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:30 pm
by Dubhy63
More 'honeypot' sites do exist in Ireland Grania,my opinion is that the situation there is quite similar to Dublin.A few examples are Galway and Killarney,popular among the tourists ,but also among people who like to get their hands on the latter's money.Sometimes I refer to this as the 'plastic' culture because it's not as solid as the authentic version.
I do also believe that visitors to Ireland should be given the chance to sample the 'real' culture,but many organized trips only visit the popular sites.Not everyone can visit Tory Island or a small village in Connemara of course,but inclusion of a real authentic site can only be positive in my opinion.The difference between a busy town with many pubs and shops and a rural village won't escape the attention of the visitors,who wouldn't like to be in a pub where the customer is king and not just a number. :D

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 9:48 am
by Grania
That's really helpful! Thanks! I hope you don't mind me quoting you in my essay :oops: :)

I do love it when I can visit the forum and honestly say I'm doing my work :lol:

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 9:26 pm
by Dubhy63
I don't mind when you quote me in your essay and don't hesitate when you need some more information. :D

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 11:02 am
by Grania
:D Thanks. Nearly done now!!!!

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 8:36 pm
by the whistleplayer
I think that a lot of tourists have a very romantic view on Irish culture. I've heard so many people talk about Celtic heritage, Celtic music, Celtic dance etc., encouraged by the Irish Tourism Board with their television adverts supported by 'mystical' music. So what do tourists expect from Irish culture? Probably that 'mysticism' that is a commercial invention for the biggest part.

I don't know if I'm making sense here, it's getting late.. :mrgreen: