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Bernadette Quinn

This chapter highlights the importance of the ordinary, as a site for enquiring into how people make sense of their world through the routine trajectories that they make and re-make in everyday spaces. It also highlights the spatiality of everyday leisure practices to unravel some of the connections that link these to the occasional leisure practice of holidaying. The chapter presents the lived realities of a particular group of women: lone parents of dependent children living on low incomes in Dublin. In spatial terms, the routine mobilities of the women studied had a lot in common, with most being both limited and highly routinised. The value that many of the women placed on holidaying was accentuated by a general understanding. The understanding was that they were being marginalised and excluded from what had become, during the 1990s and 2000s, a widespread social practice in Ireland.

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Geographies of the post-boom era

Denis Linehan and Caroline Crowley

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.

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Health and wellness or conspicuous consumption?

The spa in Celtic Tiger Ireland

Ronan Foley

This chapter begins with a short discussion of the history and development of the modern spa with a focus on Ireland and how that history in part reflects wider narratives of boom and bust. It describes the micro-geographies of spa sites alongside wider discussions on classification and regulation to show how wellness and tourism geographies overlap in such spaces. The chapter looks at the modern spa through the lens of therapeutic landscapes and critically discusses the different practices identifiable at the sites, both of health/wellness but also of conspicuous consumption. In looking at the rise and uncertain future of the modern Irish spa, one could consider it a revealing representation of the excesses that characterised the Celtic Tiger era. The chapter concludes by showing how applying a critical therapeutic landscapes approach can enable us to see spas as sites where complex and contested social relations are acting out in place.

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Growth amidst decline

Ireland’s grassroots food growing movement

Aisling Murtagh

A rise in food growing outside the farm has occurred in tandem with Ireland's economic decline as ordinary citizens seek to grow food in alternative spaces such as allotments and community, school and home gardens. This change in Irish society appears to be more than just a reaction to the collapse of the Celtic Tiger. This chapter describes the rise of Ireland's grassroots food growing movement and a typology of food growing projects. The broader dynamics of these initiatives is finally considered in order to explore if they are simply the reactionary space of a minority or whether they might become a more sustained resistance. The food growing movement, which is both urban and rural, is driven by individual leaders, groups of citizens, or individuals with involvement in food and non-food activities, such as food producers, community activists and other professionals.

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Ghost estates

Spaces and spectres of Ireland after NAMA

Cian O’Callaghan

This chapter provides a short synopsis of the ghost estate issue, detailing the factors that contributed to the phenomenon. It describes the way in which the estates have been invoked as symbolic spaces within the national narrative of collapse, and the State's response in the form of the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA). The presence of ghost estates in the Irish landscape exemplifies the problems associated with the Celtic Tiger property boom. From the early 1990s, Ireland experienced a significant transformation of its demographic profile, coupling natural population growth with a reversal in migration trends. As a result of the property and banking crises, these estates went from being half-built in the sense that they were not yet completed to being half-built in the sense that they would never be completed.

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Flocking north

Renegotiating the Irish border

Sara McDowell

The changing economic fortunes of both the Republic of Ireland (the South) and Northern Ireland (the North) since 2007 have had a significant effect on the everyday geographies of people living on both sides of the Irish border. This chapter explores the ways in which socio-economic change can influence how people conceptualise and negotiate a political border that has become increasingly permeable. It begins with a brief discussion of the meaning and significance of national boundaries before moving on to document the ebb and flow of movement across the Irish border since its creation in 1920. The chapter reviews the economic tipping point and its impact on cross-border mobility. It discusses some of the issues surrounding the everyday geographies of trans-border communities. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the permeability of the border and its ramifications for the relationship between the two parts of the island of Ireland.

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Ancestors in the field

Irish farming knowledges

Caroline Crowley

This chapter explores the ways in which different forms of farming knowledges are produced, disseminated and influence farmers' willingness or ability to make changes to their farming systems. It proposes two concepts from Morgan and Murdoch: a simple classification of forms of knowledge, and the idea of networks to help understand relations among possessors of knowledge and the process of disseminating knowledge. Many farmers have exhibited a strong buy-in to the productivist discourse since the 1960s. It concurs with farmers' understandings of their role as producers of food commodities using conventional methods. The main external, expert sources of information used by farmers are Teagasc (a semi-state agency), and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF). Teagasc provides advisory, training and research services to farmers, the agriculture and food industry and the wider rural community.

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Unfolding Irish landscapes

Tim Robinson, culture and environment

Edited by: Derek Gladwin and Christine Cusick

Unfolding Irish landscapes offers a comprehensive and sustained study of the work of cartographer, landscape writer and visual artist Tim Robinson. The visual texts and multi-genre essays included in this book, from leading international scholars in Irish Studies, geography, ecology, environmental humanities, literature and visual culture, explore Robinson’s writing, map-making and art. Robinson’s work continues to garner significant attention not only in Ireland, but also in the United Kingdom, Europe and North America, particularly with the recent celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his monumental Stones of Aran: pilgrimage. Robert Macfarlane has described Robinson’s work in Ireland as ‘one of the most sustained, intensive and imaginative studies of a landscape that has ever been carried out’. It is difficult to separate Robinson the figure from his work and the places he surveys in Ireland – they are intertextual and interconnected. This volume explores some of these characteristics for both general and expert readers alike. As individual studies, the essays in this collection demonstrate disciplinary expertise. As parts of a cohesive project, they form a collective overview of the imaginative sensibility and artistic dexterity of Robinson’s cultural and geographical achievements in Ireland. By navigating Robinson’s method of ambulation through his prose and visual creations, this book examines topics ranging from the politics of cartography and map-making as visual art forms to the cultural and environmental dimensions of writing about landscapes.

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Tim Robinson and Chris Arthur

In defence of the Irish essay

Karen Babine

Karen Babine argues that the genre of ‘creative nonfiction’, or the Montaignaian essay, is largely missing in the Irish context. Babine maintains that Robinson and Arthur represent two exceptions of creative nonfiction writers who are still thriving, and who both operate almost exclusively in the nonfiction genre (though each has published small exceptions in fiction and poetry).

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Thirteen ways of looking at a landscape

The poetic in the work of Tim Robinson

Moya Cannon

Moya Cannon offers a reading of ‘Orion the Hunter’, a work of short fiction dedicated to Robinson’s late friend John Moriarty. Rather than formulate an argument about Robinson, Cannon’s own poetic sensibilities push her exploration, by way of ‘Orion’, into the ways in which Robinson developed as a cartographer, writer and cultural figure in Ireland.