The recession as experienced by the Irish

Antique engraving of 'Emigrants leaving Ireland'

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Like other pockets of Europe, Ireland experienced phenomenal growth in the 2000s.

Like Iceland for example, both relatively poor before major economic changes took place, soared to unimaginable heights during the boom, and now shot down to earth and licking their wounds.

But are the Irish more mentally equipped to deal with the recession, given their not-so-distant memories of poverty and hardship?

We have a long and proud history of poverty, I don’t know if that helps. When I was growing up, you never asked another Irish person what they did for a living, and you never turned a beggar from the door. These are lyrical and dangerous clichés, of course (though incidentally true): Ireland was by no means a classless society. Even so, I do see differences from other countries in the play of rage, entitlement and delight around money: who has it, who deserves it, who gets cross.

An insightful narrative of the recession months, as seen by the Irish.

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