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The Soul of Ireland: Issues of Society, Culture and Identity

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The Soul of Ireland: Issues of Society, Culture and Identity

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Thought-provoking essays on contemporary Ireland from leading public figures, North and South.



Ireland has, within a short space of time, become one of the wealthiest countries in the world with a consistently high growth rate and, for the first time in over a century, an increasing population. It is an astonishing story of hardship and failure to huge success. But what is happening to community life in Ireland and how is unprecedented affluence affecting those who have it and those whom the Celtic Tiger has left untouched? And what of the aspiration contained in the Proclamation of 1916 about cherishing all the children equally? And, with falling attendances at churches and disinterest among the young, what place will religion have in the Ireland of the next few decades? And the thousands of immigrants settling in Ireland-how are they being integrated into Irish society? And what of Irelands strong cultural identity as a nation-can the Irish language survive much longer? Will the GAA continue to play the crucial role in Irish life it has played in the past, even if its players turn professional? And in Northern Ireland can Orange and Green be reconciled and sectarianism and division ended?

Bringing together 37 leading public figures in Ireland, North and South, The Soul of Ireland addresses these and other issues. The book looks at what is happening to society in Ireland in the first decade of the new millennium as well as at the threats to its culture and identity.

The subject matter of the book covers: Losing the Sense of Community Immigration, Integration and Cultural Identity Coping with Affluence Cherishing All the Children Equally The Relevance of 1916 The Soul of Ireland in Traditional Music The Death Throes of the Irish Language Secularisation and the Loss of Religious Identity Gaelic Games and Cultural Identity The Irish Imagination and Reconciling Orange and Green

The contributors include:

  • Minister for Finance, Brian CowenTD
  • Northern Secretary of State, Peter Hain MP
  • The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Diarmuid Martin
  • Chairperson of the RTE Authority, Mary Finan
  • Life-President of Focus Ireland, Sister Stanislaus Kennedy
  • Former Vice-Chairman of the N.I. Police Authority, Denis Bradley
  • Tanaiste and Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell TD
  • The Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan
  • The Governor of Mountjoy Prison, John Lonergan
  • President of the Green Party, Trevor Sargent TD
  • Professor of History UCC, Dr. Dermot Keogh
  • Former President of the GAA, Sean Kelly
  • Chairperson National Plan Against Racism, Lucy Gaffney
  • The Democratic Unionist Partys Gregory Campbell, MP MLA
  • Writer and Broadcaster, Micheal O Muircheartaigh
  • Artist and Designer, Robert Ballagh
  • The ESRI's Prof. John Fitzgerald
  • Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, MP MLA
  • Director of the Arts Council, Mary Cloake
  • ICTU General Secretary, David Begg
  • Marian Harkin TD MEP
  • Writer and Broadcaster, John Waters
  • Senator Martin Mansergh
  • Vice-President of SVP, Prof. John Monaghan
Additional Information

Additional Information

Author No
Editor Joe Mulholland
Print Format Paperback
ISBN-10 1-905785-12-7
ISBN-13 978-1905785124
Illustrations No
Date of Publication November 2006
Number of Pages 252