Saturday, March 18, 2006

The myth of the Irish pub.

More interestingly than what's behind Saint Patrick's Day, Slate had a fascinating article yesterday about the faux Irish pubs. As they put it, Ireland, as much of the world knows it, was invented in 1991 with the Irish Pub Company.
In 1995, the Irish government saw potential in international "Irish" revelry. They reinvented the holiday at home to kick-start the tourist season. Now thousands of partiers head to Ireland for the "St. Patrick's Day Season" as Guinness has called this time of year. (It used to be called "March" or, for Irish Catholics, "Lent.") In Dublin, the festival lasts for five days and adds about 60 million euros to the economy. Guinness describes the irrepressible spirit of Irishness with the Gaelic word for communal fun, "Craic" (pronounced crack), and recommends "importing Craic from Ireland."

The article gives some interesting details of the IPC's strategy (architecture, language) to make those faux Irish pubs so popular. Irish pubs have even made their way to... Dubai. (Wasn't I told that Muslims are not supposed to drink alcohol? Well, but I guess foreigners do!)

NOTE: in case you don't know, the word 'pub' comes from 'public places', and essentially they are places where you eat and drink alcohol. What is so special about Irish pubs is that there are also places where you typically listen to some live music, or watch some good games of Gaelic football or Hurling - and despite the fake sort of pubs exposed in the Slate article, there are still some great genuine pubs in Ireland with a real 'craic' atmosphere. Well, that is also because in numerous Irish villages, there's not a whole lot else to do... even today.

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