“The Irish are confident and self-doubting, proud and shamed, glorious and infuriating. The word Irish describes not just a nationality, but a way of thinking that is inconsistent yet fascinating.”
It’s clear that there’s something about Irish people, about the way their minds work. But what does it mean to be Irish?
If there is one constant of our national character, it’s uncertainty. The Irish seem capable of holding two contradictory ideas in their mind and believing they are both true. We’re never quite sure what kind of people we are. We are ostensibly friendly but near impossible to get to know. We proclaim to the ‘Fighting Irish’ but we have a chronic fear of confrontation. We express affection through insults. We are relentless self-promoters to the outside world, but often crippled with self-loathing. We think we’re great, but not really.
Which begs the question… why are we such a contradictory people?
In his search for the answers to this question and the keys to the Irish psyche, Sean Moncrieff roams far and wide – from the pub to the dole queue, the laboratory to the pulpit. Packed with offbeat anecdotes, observations and intriguing detours into the murkier recesses of Irish history and culture, The Irish Paradox is a roadmap for those struggling to make sense of a country defined as much by its contradictions as its sense of community.
The Irish Paradox will be published by Gill Books on Friday 2 October 2015, priced at €16.99.
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