This chapter focuses on the shifting meanings and reception of the motorway in the boom time and after. It describes the various rationalities about the motorway intersected with Irish identity and more broadly with the troubled fields of modernisation and politics. In spite of major social concerns about urban traffic congestion and national debates regarding the inefficient railway service during its development, notably to the West of Ireland, the motorway was enrolled into a state-building project. Most of the tolls collected on Irish motorways leave Ireland to boost the share price of international firms. The international firms, whose road assets, complement their very specific global portfolio in peripheral, modernising and largely neo-liberal states such as Singapore and Chile. For the motorway and the narratives revealed through the landscape and spaces with which it intersects, its place in the contemporary cultural geography of the Ireland remains open to critique and protest.
This chapter describes the idea that Dundrum Town Centre embodied a new set of urban conditions, which were expressed widely and with dramatic effects throughout Ireland during the time known as the 'Celtic Tiger'. In contrast to the general type of shopping mall built in Ireland in the two decades before Dundrum's construction, Dundrum is a dense, confined structure, almost a kilometre long. Dundrum Town Centre was produced through the assemblage of elements and processes driving the production of contemporary urban space. In the experience economy, architecture and design have become a foundational part of place-making and urban branding strategies. At Dundrum, in line with retail-led regeneration strategies found internationally, place-making is expressed through design, marketing, advertising and promotional and cultural events. In redesignating Dundrum, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council understood the scale of the change, and that any new development would rapidly improve its capacity to raise local business taxes.
Ireland is a turbulent place. This book engages readers with the contours of transformation of Irish society through a series of distinct episodes and sites where change can be confronted. The content of the book intersects with the boom and bust themes to explore the economic and social implications of the recession. The processes are as diverse as cross-border development, farming knowledges, food movements, and the evolution of traditional Irish music. The modernisation of Irish society during the Celtic Tiger and its subsequent demise was a 'spatial drama' involving transformation in the material landscape and the imaginative representation of the island. The first part of the book explores the revolving intersections of identity politics with place. It tracks the discovery of the ghost estate and the ways in which it has been implicated in debates about the Irish economic crash, complicating ideas of home and community. After a discussion on immigration, the book discusses the role of migrants in filling labour and skill shortages. The second part pays attention to questions of mobility and consumption in urban and rural contexts. The new Irish motorway network, free time, leisure and holidaying in the lives of lone parents during the Celtic Tiger, and the role of National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) are discussed. The third part explores diverse cultural practices and some longstanding representations of Ireland. An autobiographical tour of the pub session, National Geographic's representations of Irish landscape and the current Irish imagination are the key concepts of this part.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book shows well-established concepts such as belonging, mobility, space, consumption, culture and place. It focuses on immigration, a rather novel phenomenon for Irish society experienced during the second half of the boom, following the accession of new EU member states. The book presents the theme of Ireland's new migrants to query other manifestations of place, experience and identity in the context of horticultural production. It discusses the challenges of one marginal societal group and their space in contemporary Ireland. The book also shows how the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger has impacted on the everyday geographies of people living on both sides of the Irish border. It also presents a chronicle of feature articles on Ireland and its representation as an exotic other on the edge of Europe.