Back Seat Driver Dick O’Brien gets a round in – of
alcoholic bloggers alcohol-related posts – and links to Slate’s tackling of the now traditional St Patrick’s Day topic of authentic Irish bars.. not that the topic isn’t fun to complain about.. as the opening line says – “Ireland, as much of the world knows it, was invented in 1991. That year, the Irish Pub Company formed with a mission to populate the world with authentic Irish bars.”Interestingly, Slate’s Austin Kelley links the phenomena to a timely, for the Irish Pub Company, convergence of factors –
The branding of Irish bars owes more to cultural stereotypes and modern global economics than to Celtic tradition. The rapid expansion of these faux pubs was partly the result of big companies creating demand in emerging markets, but they are also an outgrowth of the end of the “troubles” and of the Irish economic boom. Suddenly, Ireland was teeming with immigrants, retail chains, and money. Insofar as Irish pub culture was ever the authentic heart of an organic community, its tradition was lost to the dustbin of history just in time to be invoked, exported, and imported again.
The concept is but one of the ways in which Ireland has been re-imagined for the consumer. A few decades back, St. Patrick’s Day was a relatively quiet day in Ireland. It was a religious holiday; pubs were closed, and no one dyed anything green. A typical Dubliner might attend Mass, eat a big meal with the family, and nod off early. In the ’90s, my friends who grew up in Dublin used to go to a hotel on St. Paddy’s Day to watch the American tourists sing Irish drinking songs and celebrate excess.
Where there is celebrated excess, there is a market to exploit. In 1995, the Irish government saw potential in international “Irish” revelry. They reinvented the holiday at home to kick-start the tourist season. Now thousands of partiers head to Ireland for the “St. Patrick’s Day Season” as Guinness has called this time of year. (It used to be called “March” or, for Irish Catholics, “Lent.”) In Dublin, the festival lasts for five days and adds about £60 million to the economy.