Is there a better metaphor for the willful neglect of Ireland’s heritage (our most-marketable asset) than the way the cottage made famous in The Quiet Man has been left to rot for the past 25 years? The gold rush of the Celtic Tiger years blinded us to what we had, and as a result the cottage, a potential tourist attraction, was allowed to fall apart.
I see parallels with the quiet way fracking exploration has been allowed to quietly begin in Co. Leitrim. Again it looks like we’re allowing the shiny potential of the new to distract us from our most-valuable asset? The landscape may seem commonplace to us, may seem of little value, but our vistas and way of life have been a huge tourist draw for decades, and poisoning the water table and allowing our heritage to fall into disrepair is not the way to safeguard Ireland’s uniqueness before 2013’s potentially huge “The Gathering” event.