So great and long is the history of Ireland that human presence in the country dates to around 10,000 BC. In the 12,000 years since, Irish culture has spread across the globe and in 2021, Irish people are commonly found to be among the friendliest and outgoing people in the world. Additionally, Irish culture past and present continues to inspire various milieus in society including art, business and even gambling.
Art and Literature
Irish artists from John Lavery and Francis Bacon to Jack Butler Yeats are some of the most well-known and ground-breaking painters to have existed. Francis Bacon artworks especially are highly sought-after.
Francis Bacon is now regarded as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Bacon’s use of raw and unsettling imagery helped to establish him as arguably the best-known contemporary artist. Since his death in 1992, Bacon is by far and away the most acclaimed Irish artist. His artwork, Three Studies of Lucian Freud (in 3 parts) sold at auction for $142,405,000, which claimed the record for highest auction price of a work of art at the time. In the past decade alone, Francis Bacon works of art have generated total sales of more than $1.7 billion.
Irish literature needs no introduction either. George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde are just three of an array of literary greats from Irish shores which continue to inspire and help direct the 21st century generation. James Joyce’s Ulysses both enlightens and frustrate tens of thousands of English literature students every year. Joyce once said of Dublin that he wanted to “give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city suddenly disappeared from the Earth, it could be reconstructed out of my books.”
Other Irish literary greats such as C.S. Lewis and Bram Stoker have had their novels transformed into films in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Chronicles of Narnia (1949) and Dracula (1897) respectively are two of the most famous works of fiction in the western world. The Chronicles of Narnia has since become one of the most popular novels for young adults and children whilst Dracula remains one of the greatest works of gothic fiction. In 2008, The Times newspaper ranked C.S. Lewis as eleventh on their list of the 50 Greatest British Writers since 1945.
Much of modern children’s literature has been directly influenced by Lewis including A Series of Unfortunate Events by Daniel Handler and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.
Irish Mythology in the Modern World
Irish folk tales have been spread far and wide. Celtic tales have inspired literature, music and art as well as everyday life in some communities. Irish myth created the Mermaids, Pixie’s, fairies and the Leprechauns which continue to populate works of art and literature to this day. In fact, one of the strangest theatres in which Irish mythology has influenced is that of gambling. We are sure Francis Bacon would have approved given his love for gambling, but Irish mythological creatures now populate the characters found in modern online slot machines.
A talking leprechaun is the key character is the popular Rainbow Riches slot game. In fact, the whole theme of Rainbow Riches is directly inspired by Irish folklore. Slot development company Barcrest are credited for creating the Rainbow Riches series of which there are over 10 different slots. In fact, many of the best payout slots are inspired by Irish myth, all of which are popular among gamblers in the 21st century.
Exactly why slot developers have used Irish mythology as a backdrop is unknown. Pixies, leprechauns and mermaids are all considered to be benevolent sprites. Perhaps gamblers inherently know this and subconsciously think that such characters can help them in their online slot games of chance.
Other modern games influenced by Irish Myth include The Legend of Zelda video game series. Celtic myth consists of warriors and heroes sent into battle and has influenced an uncountable number of video games and fantasy novels including The Lord of The Rings by J.R. Tolkien.
Irish Food, Drink and Pop Culture
Without a doubt, one of the largest perpetrators of Irish culture is the United States due to the number of Irish immigrants which travelled to the country in the 18th and 19th centuries. Furthermore, one of the most widely celebrated holidays in America is Saint Patrick’s Day – the religious Irish national holiday which celebrates the death date of the Patron Saint of Ireland – Saint Patrick. In fact, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world, from Russia and USA to South Korea and Japan. Irish pubs can be found in most major cities across the world too, which usually host Saint Patrick’s Day events.
Although the potato was in fact not native of Ireland, there are certain food and drinks which originated in Ireland which have spread to other cultures. Guinness is one of the most successful alcohol brands which originated in Ireland and is now available in over 120 countries.
It is due to large scale emigration from Ireland that Irish culture and festivals have a global reach. Unsurprisingly, Irish people and cities now rank among the friendliest in the world whilst the Irish accent is regularly regarded as the must attractive and trusted accent in the world. Irish people are stereotyped as outgoing, warm and extremely friendly which can only be good for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as a whole.
Despite The Troubles of the late 1960s to the late 1990s, Ireland in the 21st century is an extremely popular holiday destination for global travellers due to its history, beautiful landscapes and warm and inviting population. Brexit threatens to somewhat divide the people of Northern Ireland due to its relationship with the United Kingdom. But with that being said, the Irish people continue to live by the famous Oscar Wilde quote: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”