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.
Representations of Irish political leaders in the ‘Haughey’ plays of Carr, Barry and Breen
The stuff of tragedy? Representations
of Irishpolitical leaders in the
‘Haughey’ plays of Carr,
Barry and Breen
Plays which deal directly with political life are rare in the Irish canon.
Mostly, the emphasis is on family relations, with the direct political context placed in the background, if not almost entirely effaced. But there
are those exceptional occasions when contemporary playwrights have
felt the need to address the state of the nation more directly by placing
politicians squarely on
-operation held over an emergent independent political culture exists. Basil Chubb's influential work on Irish government identified ‘the British influence [as] the most important in determining the pattern of much of Irishpolitical thought and practice’ and classified Irish agriculture as ‘wholly geared to British needs’. 5 Garret Fitzgerald, Irish Taoiseach in the 1980s, articulated a similar view when he described the effect of British policy upon Irish development throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as ‘a form of exploitation of the Irish small farm
Civilising Rural Ireland examines how modern Ireland emerged out of the social and economic transformation prompted by the rural co-operative movement. The movement emerged in response to systemic economic problems that arose throughout the nineteenth century and coincided with a wide-ranging project of cultural nationalism. Within a short space of time the co-operative movement established a swathe of creameries, agricultural societies and credit societies, leading to a radical reorganisation of rural Ireland and helping to create a distinctive Irish political economy. The work of overlooked co-operative experts is critically examined for the first time and reinserted into the process of state development. The interventions of these organisers, intellectuals and farmers built up key institutions that shaped everyday life across rural communities. The movement weathered war and revolution, to become an indispensable part of an Irish state infrastructure after independence in 1922. The strained relationship and economic rivalry that developed between Irish and British co-operators is also explored in order to illuminate the changing relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom from an economic perspective. Civilising Rural Ireland will appeal to a wide audience interested in modern Irish history and readers are introduced to an eclectic range of personalities who shared an interest in co-operation and whose actions possessed important consequences for the way Ireland developed. The creative use of local and national sources, many of which are examined for the first time, mean the book offers a new perspective on an important period in the making of modern Ireland.
example of the co-operative movement is seldom more than a footnote. The dominant historical narrative suggests that the valorisation of technical and economic expertise only became wedded to national identity in the mid- to late twentieth century. 18 The idea that economic nation-building in Ireland was due to a policy shift towards a more liberal, open economy in the late 1950s is now a standard trope of Irishpolitical and historical discourse. However, this narrative downplays other developmental paradigms that existed before that date and instead signalled a story
Question’. 2 A focus upon the co-operative movement repositions social and economic anxieties at the heart of early twentieth century Irishpolitical discourse, thus emphasising a central, yet overlooked, component of the ‘Irish Question’. The Irish nation-state did not emerge fully formed out of the tense political negotiations that led to the acceptance, and collapse, of a Home Rule settlement for the country nor did it owe its character and institutions mainly to the violent experiences of war and revolution. Instead, critical ideas about the nation emanated from the
not feel welcome. Unionist resistance to a united Ireland is partly
sectarian but is increasingly based upon a self-understanding of past,
present and future victimhood.
The creation of the Northern Ireland Assembly also sought to persuade those who favour the unification of Ireland to be less impetuous
in their demands for radical political change. The Social Democratic and
Labour Party, which aims to play the postnationalist card in Northern
Irishpolitics, has seen its fortunes degenerate as the more vociferous
nationalist politics of Sinn Féin emerge as the
from naturalistic plays by Hughes like Digging for Fire
(1991) or Shiver (2003), or Jimmy Murphy’s The Muesli Belt (2000);
the non-naturalistic, issues-based performance pieces by Donal O’Kelly
such as Farawayan (1998) or The Cambria (2005); plays that take Irishpolitics as a theme or that reflect upon Northern Ireland, like Gary
Mitchell’s In a Little World of Our Own (1997) and Loyal Women
(2003), or the docudrama Bloody Sunday (2005) scripted by British
journalist Richard Norton-Taylor; to plays that fit within the experiential aesthetic of ‘in-yer-face’ drama
interchangeable or resolutely confined
and political issues are constructed on ideological grounds that have
little to do with questions of nation or history, such as aestheticism,
feminism or liberal humanism.8 For Davey, postnationalism seems to
be characterised primarily by its avoidance of national politics. Richard
Kearney, on the other hand, is more willing to invest postnationalism
with active, not only reactive, meanings and clearly views the political
definition as the most important when he emphasises, in his Postnationalist Ireland: Politics, Culture, Philosophy
gathered sufficiently to break the deadlock. An IRA ceasefire was
declared in 1994 (following the Downing Street declaration – see below) and
the Loyalist paramilitaries followed suit. Apart from the bombing of Canary
Wharf in London in 1996, the ceasefire held. Only the INLA and the ‘Real IRA’
– an extreme breakaway group – continued the campaign of violence.
Up to 1970 Northern Irelandpolitics was completely dominated by the Ulster
Unionist party which won most of the seats in Stormont and at Westminster.
They were opposed by Nationalist parties