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From prosperity to austerityA socio-cultural critique of the Celtic Tiger and its aftermath$
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Eamon Maher and Eugene O'Brien

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719091674

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719091674.001.0001

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‘A hundred thousand welcomes’: food and wine as cultural signifiers

‘A hundred thousand welcomes’: food and wine as cultural signifiers

(p.161) 11 ‘A hundred thousand welcomes’: food and wine as cultural signifiers
From prosperity to austerity

Brian Murphy

Manchester University Press

Brian Murphy argues that Ireland has been revolutionised in terms of dining and drinking practices during the Celtic Tiger years, and has, in fact, developed its own version of a gastronomic cultural field. A heightened appreciation of fine dining was accompanied by a decline in Ireland's world-renowned tradition of service, as, during the decades of prosperity, the ‘land of a thousand welcomes’ reputation no longer seemed to be merited, due in large part to fewer and fewer Irish people wanting to tend tables or provide a front-of-office interface with customers. In addition, prices soared and tourists began to wonder if they were really welcome any more in Ireland or if they were viewed exclusively in terms of their spending potential. Using Pierre Bourdieu's ideas on social capital, this chapter shows how food and wine could be viewed as cultural signifiers in Celtic Tiger Ireland. People were often defined in terms of where they dined and what they ate and drank. It is no surprise that Michelin-starred restaurants became numerous in the years of economic success as increased disposable income led to a real gastronomic revolution. Austerity has gone some way towards restoring Ireland's culture of service and the food and wine industry now seem less driven by short-term gain have rediscovered genuine hospitality.

Keywords:   Bourdieu, fine dining, gastronomy, hospitality, Michelin-starred restaurants, restaurant, social capital

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