Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Dublin: 11°C Saturday 13 August 2022

The 'piebald pony' effect - Are Ireland's economic woes linked to its culture?

Once again, international commentary on Ireland’s economy seems to focus excessively on Irish culture – with a New York Times piece being the latest to join the list.

Image: Mattias via Creative Commons

THE NEW YORK Times has identified the latest victims of the Irish recession: horses.

“Horses, that are such an enduring part of Irish culture are paying a price, too,” writes the newspaper on the thousands of horses which have been abandoned in the recession. The Dunsink tip on the outskirts of Dublin is identified as one of the worst sites – theatrically described as a place “that wounds the heart”.

It would seem, despite Joan Burton’s comments that “Ireland is not just ghost estates and piebald ponies left to run in fields”, the international perception of the country is uncomfortably close to just that. While a horse is undoubtedly a symbol of wealth, the explanatory line that Irish people find pleasure in them “much as other people find pleasure in owning luxury cars” might raise an eyebrow or two.

Ornate rhetoric and the problem of animal abandonment aside, a trend to discuss Ireland’s economic troubles in cultural terms appears strangely common. Few commentators seemed interested in musing on Spanish or Greek stereotypes when discussing their economic collapses – yet the depiction of George Osbourne dancing a slip jig across the Ha’penny Bridge on his way to “save” Ireland was considered perfectly acceptable by the BBC.

And, inevitably, metaphors of leprechauns and pots of gold also prove irresistible to some… Check out how Taiwan interprets our recession:

What do you think of how Ireland’s economic crisis is being discussed internationally? Let us know in the comments below>

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

About the author:

Read next: