Helen Moorhouse: We love Gabriel and Clint is a legend, but they should stick to the acting malarkey
WE might be an island out in the middle of nowhere with a reputation for heavy drinking and terrible financial management. It's mainly freezing and damp. Our national food might look like an oil slick with bits of squirrel and a few carrots in it; our national drink is the same colour as tar -- but for some reason, for some time now, the Americans have liked to come see us.
And when they come, we, in turn, like to show them a good time. Do up the front room, get in a nice piece of ham, show them round the town.
In the simplest of terms, maybe that's what The Gathering is actually about and isn't, in fact, a scam as suggested by Gabriel Byrne in his recent Today FM interview. Of course the aim of the initiative is economic benefit, but I have a funny feeling that the Americans, the English, the Aussies, the Dutch -- all of the famous diaspora -- are well aware of that. After all, if a tourism initiative is a "shakedown", then Ireland's been dodgier than an email from a Nigerian prince in search of a sort code for some decades now.