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The Celtic Tiger

Meanwhile, in the south, the Republic was a major beneficiary of EEC membership and its economy began to accelerate.  First Ireland had success with butter then with IT.



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The Butter Museum in Cork records the Irish butter success story.
Until the 1950's Irish butter making was both primitive and unhygienic. 
Farmers wives were still hand milking and using a domestic separator and a hand churn to make butter.
Then came the European Economic Community.
Modern milking sheds; bulk handling; and processing factories were built; improved herds and pastures brought Irish butter into the 20th century.
Thus butter became a first step in the late 20th century Irish economic miracle.


Soon educated Irishmen and women returned from overseas and foreign immigrants reversed the old pattern of brighter children emigrating as soon as they were able.  Ireland's population began to grow and among these new Irish the old religious enmities were put aside in the interests of a better society.  For a period, at the turn of the century, the economy grew so spectacularly that the Republic would be called the 'Celtic Tiger'.

So today it's a different story. Ireland is no longer represented by a three centimetre thick computer printout of inappropriate jokes about stupidity.  As we'd hoped in the early 1970's, both Britain and the Republic of Ireland are, or were, members of the EU and the border is indeed transparent.  The military control points have long gone.  Traffic flows are unhindered by what has become a line on the map and people from either side of the border mix freely, as they do across state or provincial borders in Australia, Canada or the US.

The only noticeable difference when one crosses this border is that the road signs revert to imperial distances and miles per hour and Euros give way to Pounds. 




# Michael 2020-08-28 06:06
This article is brilliant. I've learnt a lot from reading about these travels
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In October 2018 we travelled to Ireland. Later we would go on to England (the south coast and London) before travelling overland (and underwater) by rail to Belgium and then on to Berlin to visit our grandchildren there. 

The island of Ireland is not very big, about a quarter as large again as Tasmania, with a population not much bigger than Sydney (4.75 million in the Republic of Ireland with another 1.85 million in Northern Ireland).  So it's mainly rural and not very densely populated. 

It was unusually warm for October in Europe, including Germany, and Ireland is a very pleasant part of the world, not unlike Tasmania, and in many ways familiar, due to a shared language and culture.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

More on 'herd immunity'


In my paper Love in the time of Coronavirus I suggested that an option for managing Covid-19 was to sequester the vulnerable in isolation and allow the remainder of the population to achieve 'Natural Herd Immunity'.

Both the UK and Sweden announced that this was the strategy they preferred although the UK was soon equivocal.

The other option I suggested was isolation and accepting the economic and social costs involved until a vaccine is available to confer 'Herd Immunity'.

New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and, with reservations, Australia opted for that course - along with several other countries, including China.

In the event, every country in which the virus has taken hold has been obliged to implement some degree of social distancing to manage the number of deaths and has thus suffered the corresponding economic costs of jobs lost or suspended; rents unpaid; incomes lost; and as yet unquantified psychological injury.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Six degrees of separation, conspiracy and wealth



Sometimes things that seem quite different are, when looked at more closely, related. 


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