Rough take on Ireland's 40 shades of homogeneity
THE Rough Guide to Ireland is really quite smooth. Compared to what we ourselves say about our towns, it is quite polite. Complaints about the latest edition of that book are a reminder of the old quip, that the Irish are happy to laugh at themselves so long as the English don't join in.
Rough Guide author Geoff Wallis found himself under fire last week, in no fewer than 14 Irish interviews. But Wallis told me that he has spent "an incredible amount of time" in Ireland, and his co-author Paul Gray used to live here. If they really do not like places, he said, they just ignore them.
However, by making some general comments about Ireland, Wallis and Gray have seriously offended the fond self-image of Europe's Celtic Tiger. They claim that we are racist and sexist, when everyone knows that Ireland is a multicultural, feminist paradise in which citizens embrace sexual diversity.