(CNN) – With St. Patrick’s Day a global event and Irish pubs are found everywhere from Peru to Lanzaro, it may be easy to imagine that you got the idea of Ireland without visiting, especially if you are one of the 70 million people worldwide who can claim Irish heritage.
However, to get a real feel for the modern power of this small island state, you have to go and most people start their journey on the streets of Dublin.
It is a compact, walkable capital city, built on its low-rise skyline and Georgian granite landmark human scale.
You can follow the Liffey River through Phoenix Park and Kilmeinham Gaul to the west through the city center, Guinness Storehouse, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle, to the newly revived Docklands in the east.
Standing on the Butt Bridge, you’ll see old and new: the traditional Dublin presented by the neoclassical custom house, and beyond, the new Tower of Finance and the crane’s broom, showing that it’s getting bigger.
The Liffey River flows through Dublin.
Courtesy Gareth McCormack
Europe is the best
Designed by the same award-winning team as the Titanic Museum in Belfast, it tells the story of 10 million or more people who have been isolated from Ireland for centuries, from famine to economic necessity to conflict to religious persecution.
They went to Britain, the United States, Australia and beyond to build railways and cultivate border areas.
They brought their culture with them, the storytellers in their new country, and created a new Irish myth abroad. They and their descendants are the diaspora who want to attract museums like EPIC and in 2013 an Irish tourism initiative, The Gathering, was dedicated exclusively to these visitors.
The tearful farewell and long-awaited return have become part of the national identity, with the area of arrival at the airport targeting homosexual expatriates filled with billboards, hungry for Brennan’s bread and tattoo crisps.
Music and dance
Cobblestone Hall in Smithfield is the city’s top place for live traditional music.
The most well-known of Ireland’s cultural exports is, of course, the pub, but in epidemic-ravaged Ireland, many were forced to close for good.
“Believe it or not, with this being the capital of the country, there aren’t many places where you can go here every day and get involved with that part of our culture,” said Thomas Mulligan, whose father Tom was in charge of the Smithfield Pub for 30 years. Before and it turned into a live music hub today.
The revival of Irish trade music took root in the 1960s, a symbol of a new national pride in the still young nation, marking 100 years of independence this year.
From “Danny Boy” (written by an Englishman) to “The Fields of Athenaeum”, Ireland’s most famous folk songs were exiled and aspired, while the now popular standard “She Moved Through the Fair” was a lost classic only to be rediscovered in America. Became popular again in Ireland.
Similarly, Country Music is so popular in Ireland, it has its own subgenre: Country ‘N’ Irish. Riverdance was also an Irish-American global event born in Chicago.
Modernity and transformation have changed a lot here, but it has not changed the parts of Dublin life that make this city what it is and the institutions that have grown up in the history of it and still remain.
Trinity College, founded in 1592, is the oldest surviving university in Ireland. The Brian Boru harp, Ireland’s oldest and most iconic model of the country, is housed in the spectacular Long Room Library of Trinity College, containing the ninth-century Gospel manuscript “The Book of Kells”.
Richard Quest meets John Chevlin (left) disguised as James Joyce at Beaulieu’s Cafe.
Ireland prides itself on its storytelling tradition: it has given birth to four Nobel laureates – WB Yates, GB Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Henny – although all but one have reached the end of their lives on foreign shores.
Two well-known Irish writers, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, were parias and exiles in their time, provoking outrage against what was then considered public decency.
Anglo-Irish artist Francis Bacon, a trailblazing giant of contemporary art, left Ireland for England as a teenager: when an outspoken gay man was illegal on both islands, he was not easily accepted into his society. Homeland for most of his life.
But like Wilde and Joyce, he has been embraced posthumously. The entire contents of his artist’s studio were acquired by the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, where Bacon reassembled exactly as they were when creating his legendary works of art. It’s one of the city’s best-kept privacy, and above all, free access
Although Joyce has spent most of his life on mainland Europe, his greatest work, the modernist classic “Ulysses” – which is also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year – is an odyssey following Leopold Bloom, a love letter to his hometown. , A day trip around Dublin.
The opening scenes of the novel take place in a Martello Tower on the coast of the southern suburbs of Sandikov, now a James Joyce Museum and a pilgrimage site for fans who celebrate Bloomsday on June 16 every year.
The area is a popular site for bathers, where sea swimming has become increasingly popular since Kovid was infected.
Even celebrities are getting involved. Harry Styles has been spotted diving into the nearby Vico Baths this week, following in the footsteps of Matt Damon, who appeared there in 2020 when he and his family were on a coveted lockdown in the area.
Join CNN local group The Ripple Effect for an early morning swim in the 40-foot promontory.
“During the lockdown, a lot of people couldn’t meet inside the house, so a lot of people started connecting outside,” explained member Katie Clark. “It was a beautiful place to come and rediscover the sea.”
As the group name suggests, colleague Mandy Lacey says, “Irish people love to help people! It’s in our nature. I think The Ripple Effect is an Irish thing. It’s part of our history. We go through difficult times, good times, everyone.” They are there to really support each other. ”
Sea swimming is becoming increasingly popular.
Those who stayed, those who left
Earlier this year, British filmmaker Kenneth Branagh won an Oscar for his semi-autobiographical film “Belfast” about his Northern Irish childhood, forcing his family to flee to England before the 30-year conflict known as The Troubles. It ends with the sacrifice: “For those who are left. For those who are gone. And for those who are lost.”
But centuries ago, taking vacation often meant permanent exile, it is now a door that sways in both directions.
Many Irish expatriates, reassessing their priorities in the face of the epidemic, have returned home with their young families for a new life. And as always, returnees bring with them skills and knowledge acquired abroad, which can help them improve their country.
In 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote, and it is now far from being a popularly imaginary gay Catholic country. This nation of immigrants has also been enriched by internal migration in recent decades. There is a new confidence in this modern, growing multicultural Ireland.
Ireland has changed a lot since it was hailed as the “Celtic Tiger” at the turn of the century. What followed was a decade of economic growth and great optimism. Now, like other countries in the world, Ireland is exploring its post-epidemic purpose.
But, as history has shown, this small, young nation can do it first by looking at each other, then at the outside.