- 22 May 03
The great and the good have imagined a new Ireland. Now it’s our turn
Two weeks ago, members of the great and good of this country gathered in Charlottesville in Virginia in the United States. They were there for a four-day conference entitled ‘Reimagining Ireland’, held under the aegis of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Those attending included figures from the arts, politics, education (higher education only, I’d guess) and, of course, journalism, that is to say, the new church. It was a reflective re-envisioning of Ireland, and it included figures from both Ireland and Northern Ireland.
I was not there, nor – I’m guessing here – were you. But the President was. And she delivered a keynote speech in which she reflected on the changes that are happening in Ireland. It was a useful if predictable view – a lot of sentences beginning with “who could have imagined…”
Like, who could have imagined the growth of Gaelscoileanna, even in Northern Ireland, or our recent cultural exuberance and technological sophistication. And her speech was certainly notable in pointing out that many Irish people had been unable to benefit from the success story that other countries wanted to emulate.