Irish arts world on a high in New York
And arts and culture have not let the Irish down at a time when almost every other institution of Irish life has, such as the church, major business leaders and some politicians.
It was a point well expressed by Oscar winning filmmaker Neil Jordan at the Global Irish Economic Forum hosted by the Irish government in September when he expressed the belief that arts and culture could lead the way in Ireland as a global force in these troubled times.
They are right, and hard times make great writers, a fact proven by the Northern Troubles which produced Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel and Seamus Deane from the same small area of Derry in the same time frame.
The current travails in Ireland then may augur a golden period ahead for Irish arts and culture as well. The new mooted plans to place the new Abbey Theater at the site of the General Post Office right in the heart of Dublin is the kind of unconventional thinking that can accrue great benefits.
In the end Irish arts and culture are the flagship of the Irish identity. The Broadway hits, coupled with the local energy and commitment by theater companies all over America and Ireland help keep the flame alive. In these troubled times that is good news for Ireland and Irish America.