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Irish Culture – Here’s a challenge for you

Back in early October, I wrote about what it might mean to say that one was interested in Irish culture. I still don’t have any definitive answers to that. Are you interested in Irish Culture if you’re interested in Culture in Ireland?

For example, literature and reading is a large aspect of Irish culture, but I’m currently reading a book written by an economist and a journalist from the US (SuperFreakonomics) and my most recent visit to the National Concert Hall to see an Irish orchestra, Orchestra of St Cecilia, perform works by a German composer, Beethoven, under the baton of an English maestro, Sir Neville Marriner.

The Irish Cultural Challenge

Let me put a scenario to you. You’re in a room with 25 business people from another country. They’re interested in Ireland, its people and its culture, but they come from a country so completely different to Ireland that they need a little help with coming to grips with what we’re like here.

You have an hour to give them some sort of sense about what we’re all about.

Hard Ground for Planting Seeds

They have no idea about the Celtic Tiger or “Ireland Inc” or our emerging smart economy – much as we’d like to think that they know all about those things. All they know about Ireland is Riverdance, Roy Keane, U2 and Westlife. The only thing that their online national papers throws up in a search for “Ireland” are stories about what Stephen Ireland might be doing in their beloved Premier League.

People from this country don’t travel to Ireland as tourists, much. In a vain attempt to improve that, we have a half-hearted outsourced representation from Tourism Ireland in their country. We’re told that the IDA is working hard to attract businesses from that country to set up in Ireland, yet the IDA actually only have one person in that region covering that, and 16 other countries.

Basically, we don’t rate on their “radar” – yet, we think we do.

How do you portray Ireland to this group of people? I obviously don’t have the complete answer myself, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think should be covered. Post your comments below.

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