So you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. What! I watched Mario Rosenstock the other night and I laughed at his characters, particularly Michael Flatley.He showed the stereotypical image that is perceived of us in some areas of the world; where they think of a fairy tale land full of leprechauns, rainbows and sayings like the above. I wonder did these sayings ever have real meaning or were they made up to attract our long lost cousins.

In fairness, they would have to be at least ten generations gone from the country to still believe in Finnegan’s Rainbow or would they? The Gathering scheduled to run for the whole of 2013 is a brilliant idea, designed to promote the country in a positive way and generate much needed interest in us as a nation that is open for business.

But I guarantee you there are poor souls out there, who having bought their airline tickets and booked their hotel rooms, dusting off their copy of Garby O’Gill and the little People so that they can hit the ground running, fully briefed on who we are.

So who are we, the modern Irish? Well I can tell you if you walk down any street in Ireland and say to a stranger ‘Isn’t a fine soft day we’re having?’ the chances are you would get no reply or one you didn’t expect. Because we all know that a ‘soft day’ is pissing rain and unless you live on the Serengeti where rain is the difference between life and death, how could you be happy with it.

Ireland is a country destroyed by a financial greed that only benefited a few and brought misery down on the rest.’ We will bounce back’. ‘We are the Poster Boys of Europe’. These are the sayings of modern Ireland. It’s easy to speak with optimism when you don’t really need it, as you already have what you are telling everyone else to be looking forward to. Try having the feeling of terror as you hear the postman opening your front gate and hoping that he doesn’t leave you the letter or letters that you were dreading. But don’t worry you will bounce back.

So stop now and put back your copy of Garby into the press. Have a real look at Ireland of 2013 and come and enjoy but remember that if you don’t get the one hundred thousand welcomes, don’t judge us unfairly. As the saying goes ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ – that is true about Ireland but it’s because of all the soft days.

Tom Cullen ©


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