Ireland and the Irish

John Ardagh, Author
John Ardagh, Author Hamish Hamilton $27.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-241-13275-3
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-14-017160-0
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``The Irish are keen to be part of Europe, but their gaze is mainly at themselves. They know what they think, and they don't want to be confused by the facts.'' With that statement, the author takes the reader on a wonderful trip around the Ireland of today, which--with the help of the EEC and TV--has finally burst into the 20th century with an eagerness and an aggressiveness that are tempered by old-time moral values. Ardagh looks at Ireland and change in Ireland through its politicians: the autarchic and myopic Eamon de Valera, the visionary Sean Lemass, the rogue Charlie Haughey and chic President Mary Robinson. He sees a young country (44% of the population is under 25) that attempts to coax the high-tech corporations of Japan, Germany and the U.S. to its shores but still treasures its own music, culture and language. Ireland, according to the author, is the ``Pope's last bastion,'' where 82% of the population attend Sunday mass. But Ireland's Catholics no longer blindly obey Rome's rulings: Birth control is in and the issue of divorce still pending. It is a nation divided politically, slowly coming together, where the most eager students of the Irish language are Northern Protestants. Ardagh (France Today) has written an eye-opening, comprehensive and delightful book. (Mar.)
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