Diverse voices

This book focuses on the drama and poetry published since 1990. It also reflects upon related forms of creative work in this period, including film and the visual and performing arts. The book discusses some of the most topical issues which have emerged in Irish theatre since 1990. It traces the significance of the home in the poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Vona Groarke. The book also focuses on the reconfigurations of identity, and the complex intersections of nationality, gender and race in contemporary Ireland. It shows how Roddy Doyle's return to the repressed gives articulation to those left behind by globalisation. The book then examines the ways in which post-Agreement Northern fiction negotiates its bitter legacies. It also examines how the activity of creating art in a time of violence brings about an anxiety regarding the artist's role, and how it calls into question the ability to re-present atrocity. The book further explores the consideration of politics and ethics in Irish drama since 1990. It talks about the swirling abundance of themes and trends in contemporary Irish fiction and autobiography. The book shows that writing in the Irish Republic and in the North has begun to accommodate an increasing diversity of voices which address themselves not only to issues preoccupying their local audiences, but also to wider geopolitical concerns.

the country a new confidence whilst challenging or eroding the old markers of Irish identity. The election of Mary Robinson as the first woman President of the Republic came to symbolise that rapid evolution in the cultural, social, political and economic spheres as Ireland went on to become arguably one of the most globalised nations in the world. As sociologist Gerard Delanty puts it, within a few years, ‘state formation has been diluted by Europeanization, diasporic emigration has been reversed with significant immigration and Catholicism has lost its capacity to

in Irish literature since 1990
The return of the repressed in Roddy Doyle’s Paula Spencer

in media accounts as ‘Little Africa’. (Luke Gibbons, Beyond the Pale).2 In a recent, brief essay, ‘Green Yodel No. 1’, Roddy Doyle stresses that Irish identity is in an exciting period of transformation because of the influx of immigrants from such places as Nigeria, Latvia and China. Instead of a reactive response to preserve Irish homogeneity, Doyle welcomes the chance for the Irish ‘to invent new stories, new art, new voices, new music. . . . New love stories, family sagas, new jealousies, rivalries, new beginning and new endings. We live in exciting times, if

in Irish literature since 1990
Open Access (free)
Writing home in recent Irish memoirs and autobiographies (John McGahern’s Memoir, Hugo Hamilton’s The Speckled People, Seamus Deane’s Reading in the Dark and John Walsh’s The Falling Angels)

Free State soldiers said they would burn it down, because they were sure they saw IRA snipers in the upstairs window.2 Hamilton adopts the kind of faux naïf voice and perspective that makes for comedy, but as with Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes (1998) this wide-eyed credulity is apt to become monotonous and the comic effects can soon wear thin. Where The Speckled People excels is in its exploration of ‘new’ Irish identities: ‘My father says we have nothing to worry about because we are the new Irish. Partly from Ireland and partly from somewhere else, half-Irish and

in Irish literature since 1990
Racism, immigration and the state

ethnicity. This conscience collective is a continual object of struggle, since real-life experiences contradict, on a daily basis, the imaginary of national myth.43 The hegemonic sense of Irish identity established during the 1920s and 1930s has been severely challenged by the rise of the Celtic Tiger. The two main pillars and regulators of Irish identity and conservatism since the foundation of the state – the Catholic Church and Fianna Fáil44 – have both been partly undermined by economic growth and various media discourses referring to clerical and political scandal.45

in The end of Irish history?
Open Access (free)
Culture, criticism, theory since 1990

reassuring. Such a society equips itself neither with the imaginative resources nor the strategies required to meet the challenges of the future.27 Anti-revisionists have argued that such narratives strip contemporary Irish identity of its subversive potential, leaving it ‘sanitised and . . . remarkably accommodating to the dominant elitist project of subservient assimilation into multinational capitalism’.28 In this account, culture is a mere ‘handmaiden’ to the Republic’s economic transformation. Debbie Ging has argued that, with the move in Irish cinema towards easy

in Irish literature since 1990
Open Access (free)
Irish drama since 1990

top of the agenda, not merely for playwrights, but for Irish society and culture as a whole. At a time of much-publicised and selective prosperity, of returned, deracinated emigrants, combined with the influx of racially ‘other’ immigrants and the more general commodification of ethnicity, Irish identity has, unsurprisingly, been in the throes of some considerable redefinition. The status of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger economy, the effects of consumerism and globalisation are the subjects of considerable debate. As Michael Böss and Eamon Maher have noted in their

in Irish literature since 1990

inherited literary tradition has ever accounted for this experience. The absence of a ‘natural’ and representative Irish identity means that questions of identity, the nation, are subordinate to an examination of the structures of power, the state.4 9780719075636_4_012.qxd 218 16/2/09 9:28 AM Page 218 Fiction and autobiography Nevertheless, to replace romanticised versions of the nation with the more detached concept of the state is only to recalibrate the lens somewhat and carry the search for a national identity into the present. The basic pattern remains the

in Irish literature since 1990

is. In the 1960s, there was a reconstruction based on transnational values, first ‘American’ and later ‘European’. Then, in the 1990s, there was another reconstruction of Irishidentity’, within global parameters. The spectacle of Riverdance, the music of the Chieftains and the ‘new’ Irish films cannot be understood as national cultural forms. They may be partly constituted locally but it is with reference to a global cultural market: they are local cultural keys turning global locks. I can only conclude by rejecting any essentialist notion of ‘Irishness’ that is

in The end of Irish history?
Open Access (free)

located in a range of important texts. IAOS annual reports and Sinn Féin-penned treatises shaped a discourse of Irish identity and development. In these ways, the co-operative movement shaped the mentalités of Irish administrators and helped to embed the idea that economic progress came from the pursuit of agrarian economic strategy, and one in which co-operative societies were utilised in pursuit of that objective. By pursuing its own conception of modernisation, the co-operative movement attempted to bring about a new type of Irish population

in Civilising rural Ireland