Sunday 26 March 2017

Why don't we show the real Ireland?


WHAT A wonderful idea The Gathering is- an initiative designed at encouraging all those around the world with connections to Ireland to make a visit to our little country. They get to bask in our Irishness and we get to boost our troubled economy in the process.

The concept is really a very good one and we have so much to offer as a nation in terms of hospitality, culture, heritage... the possibilities are endless.

The fact that many of said visitors will have Irish roots and ancestry means that they will hopefully feel an affinity with the country and people once they arrive and spread the word about what a wonderful time they had.

Why is it, however that when we have so, so many amazing things to offer visitors we revert to the twee and cliché image that much of the world believes to be Ireland.

The Gathering should be an opportunity to showcase the country as it is not to ridicule ourselves for the purpose of giving tourists an unrealistic snapshot.

I was disgusted to see images of a cow being paraded through Templebar for the occasion.

There was talk of chickens in cages on the streets and all manner of animals brought out onto the city centre streets on the same weekend that the yearlong event was launched.

Why is it when the eyes of the world are on us we don't stick to our guns and show them the real Ireland?

I don't mean the doom and gloom or the financial woes. After all these people are spending thousands to holiday here but chickens and hens on the streets of Dublin are not the real Ireland of today.

There are plenty of rural retreats and amenities, working farms and museums that will properly showcase our agricultural traditions which are belittled by the over the top and phoney image created by some of the launch weekend's activities.

Almost every bit of Irishness we see on US television makes us cringe from the badly mimicked accents to the ' top o' the mornin' nonsense. It is a universal irritant when other countries misunderstand us as a nation no matter how small the core issue.

The Gathering is an opportunity for us to steer the ship in how we are portrayed and promoted all over the world, the likes of which we have never seen before. If done well it will hopefully leave a wonderful legacy for tourism in this country but if not we might as well throw in our leprechaun-patterned towels now.

Why not plant a long-lived tree? 

Andrew Collyer - Practical Gardening March 5 to 12 was National Tree Week. This is an awareness week organised by the Tree council of Ireland to promote all things trees. It has been an annual event since 1985 and should be embraced and celebrated with gusto in my opinion. Where the National tree week really becomes valuable is in schools where the education of the young in tree importance will hopefully produce a generation of responsible environmentally aware adults in the future.

Getting creative about a better quality of life 

Conor Nelligan, County Heritage Officer The Centenary Commemoration of 1916 was a tremendous success in the County of Cork, as it was across the entire nation. In response to the heightened sense of shared identity that was established in 2016, and in respect of the breadth of cultural activity and public engagement that took place, the Government has embarked on an insightful legacy project that sets out to harness the country's culture, arts and heritage over the next five years with the purpose of...

Do animals feel grief after suffering loss of someone 

Peter Wedderburn - Animal Doctor Both of my parents have passed away in the last year: they were both elderly, and had enjoyed long and fruitful lives, so there was much to be thankful for. The experience of losing them has taught me a direct personal lesson about grief. This must be one of the deepest emotions felt by humans, and I am often asked if animals experience the same feeling when they lose a close friend, whether a human owner or a fellow animal companion.

Promoted articles