Saturday 10 December 2016

What could possibly go wrong?

Published 10/01/2016 | 02:30

Actress Saoirse Ronan poses at the BAFTA Los Angeles Awards Season Tea Party in Beverly Hills, California, January 9, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Actress Saoirse Ronan poses at the BAFTA Los Angeles Awards Season Tea Party in Beverly Hills, California, January 9, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

When historians look back on 2016, the year in which the Irish celebrated 100 years of the delusion of freedom, they will surely view this year as the high watermark of what you might call the Irish Project. The Irish Project is the ongoing national discourse whereby we convince each other that Ireland is indeed the centre of the universe.

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This belief, of our centrality to everything and everybody, a fervent subject of discussion among all the peoples of the world, can work in two ways. We can be the talk of the world for good things, which can be summed up in the phrase "Everybody loves the Irish", to which you can also add the subclause 'Wherever you go'. Or we can be the talk of the world for bad reasons, known as, "The whole world must be laughing at us".

There is no in-between state, whereby the rest of the world is just neutral about us, or, perish the thought, not thinking about us at all. We are either being celebrated throughout the world for our unique brilliance and craic, or we are in disgrace for our childlike profligacy.

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