Fine Gael Dublin Senator and Seanad spokesperson on European Affairs, Catherine Noone, has today suggested that a mark of quality be established to reward and incentivise businesses and institutions abroad which promote Irish culture.
“I believe that we should introduce a mark which identifies locations wherein Irish culture is promoted. The ‘Beacon of Irish Culture’ brand would recognise places where Irish customs, culture and traditions are promoted.
“A great many so-called Irish pubs actually aren’t Irish in any respect: the staff aren’t Irish, they don’t show Irish sports and they don’t promote Irish culture in any particular way, beyond trading off of a perceived ‘Irishness’. For the undiscerning global traveller, it’s hard to tell the difference on paper between an authentic Irish venue and one which is just trading off sounding Irish.
“I feel there is a real opportunity here – and not just for pubs: restaurants and cultural facilities could also apply to be an officially recognised ‘Beacon of Irish Culture’. There is no question that, across the world, with ex-pats, Irish people travelling overseas, and those who have an interest in Ireland, there is always an appetite for a somewhat authentic Irish experience: watching a GAA match, listening to some Irish music or simply enjoying some of our cuisine.
“Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to distinguish and recognise venues abroad that will show the All-Ireland from those that won’t? Maybe those that go the extra mile and have live Irish music or maybe places that have Irish language lessons or serve Irish food should receive some recognition.”