Centred around three case studies, this book focuses on recent, and often controversial, developments in Irish popular culture (literature, film and TV) and geopolitics. It develops a new concept of heritage as a practice and process of translocal place-making, enquiring how place identities in contemporary Irish culture are not only narrated but also performed in relation to other places and to other times. In a truly interdisciplinary fashion, the author combines critical concepts and methodologies from Cultural Studies and Cultural Geography which have recently converged as part of the spatial and cultural turn. This unprecedented methodological approach creatively reshapes conventional discourse analysis by analysing three case studies – Hugo Hamilton’s Irish-German travel account Die redselige Insel (2007), Perry Ogden’s mockumentary Pavee Lackeen – The Traveller Girl (2005) and Irish-American comedian Des Bishop’s reality TV series In the Name of the Fada (2008) – which each combine a hermeneutic reading of a specific narrative with an empirical analysis of its sitespecific performance of identity, i.e. as a festival or event.
In light of recent Irish history, and the collective trauma of the post- Celtic Tiger recession, this book discusses new ways of (once again) re-imagining Irish identity; not in terms of a national mythology that keeps going round in circles but rather dealing with the crucial question of how to break with an established discourse of identity and the past. How can new stories be invented when the past seems to provide such a convenient and stable archive for the collective imagination in the present? And what kinds of conditions are necessary to be able to break with inherited narratives of the past and to allow for new narratives to emerge?