Literary Visions of Multicultural Ireland is the first full-length monograph in the market to address the impact that Celtic-Tiger immigration has exerted on the poetry, drama and fiction of contemporary Irish writers. The book opens with a lively, challenging preface by Prof. Declan Kiberd and is followed by 18 essays by leading and prestigious scholars in the field of Irish studies from both sides of the Atlantic who address, in pioneering, differing and thus enriching ways, the emerging multiethnic character of Irish literature. Key areas of discussion are: What does it mean to be ‘multicultural,’ and what are the implications of this condition for contemporary Irish writers? How has literature in Ireland responded to inward migration? Have Irish writers reflected in their work (either explicitly or implicitly) the existence of migrant communities in Ireland? If so, are elements of Irish traditional culture and community maintained or transformed? What is the social and political efficacy of these intercultural artistic visions? While these issues have received sustained academic attention in literary contexts with longer traditions of migration, they have yet to be extensively addressed in Ireland today. The collection will thus be of interest to students and academics of contemporary literature as well as the general reader willing to learn more about Ireland and Irish culture. Overall, this book will become most useful to scholars working in Irish studies, contemporary Irish literature, multiculturalism, migration, globalisation and transculturality. Writers discussed include Hugo Hamilton, Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Dermot Bolger, Chris Binchy, Michael O'Loughlin, Emer Martin, and Kate O'Riordan, amongst others.
The purpose of this introduction is to provide a preliminary exploration of the terminology, issues, and questions which will later become central to the chapters that follow. A brief overview of the essays gathered in the collection is offered in the penultimate section.
This chapter delves into the numerous, complex ways of representing multiculturalism in Ireland from the perspective of Irish poets. It starts by briefly assessing the work of an immigrant poet from Poland, Kinga Olszewska, in order to consider it alongside recent poems by Colette Bryce, Mary O'Donnell, and Michael O'Loughlin. These writers are interested in deriding and/or debunking the ideal ‘liberal’ model of Irish multiculturalism, which often permeates literary and cultural texts in their uncritical celebration of a truly integrated and unconditionally hospitable Ireland. Bryce, for instance, discloses the patronising and xenophobic attitudes behind official discourses in Ireland, in a poem which suggestively recalls the 2004 Citizenship Referendum. Bryce's blatant critique of an ideal multicultural Ireland is also recorded by O'Donnell and O'Loughlin, who, in different ways, explore multiethnicity from the viewpoint of the centre and that of the periphery.