Friday, January 3, 2014



"Had the real Dublin crumbled . . "? Unfortunately in a very substantial sense the real Dublin has crumbled. Only a short hop to the An Taisce offices or The Georgian Society website will show you the extent of it. Though it is local mess, it continues to shape the nation's image of itself. This is tragic for there are good many people here - remember the thousands that demonstrated against the Wood Quay development? - but the prevailing political ethos is far below this country's best. The peculiar pandering to the lowest common denominator encapsulated so well in the "Sure, it'll do" mentality does no one any favours here.
The Irish who remember the Dublin of the 40ties are few in number and for the most part no longer care. In so many ways Ireland is an extraordinary country but as a community it lacks a sense that it is self governing and that for all it's woes no one else is to blame.

The annihilation of the Irish railway network or the destruction of Georgian Dublin are but two examples of how hell bent this country was on remaking itself. Unfortunately it went about self definition the Taliban way. But cultural identity and a sense of self comes from accepting one's past, from it's ownership, and the built environment is the very fabric in a very concrete form of that shared symbolic order, to use Peter Fuller's phrase.

The pride and spiritual pay off that comes from the care and reconstruction of the past - what the Poles have done in Warsaw for example - is invaluable. The rebuilding of national heritage, much of which was destroyed by acts of ideological vengeance, would help in no small measure to heal the common psyche, the collective unconscious if you will, and allow the Irish to own their past.

On a practical level, this policy would also re-invigorate the craftsmen artisan culture and be a boon to the tourist industry, needles to say. Again, the rebuilding of the Warsaw castle is a case in point.

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