David McWilliams: How Irish pubs measure the global economic mood

The growth in demand for Irish bars abroad is our greatest expression of soft power

The facade of McCarthy’s Irish Bar, in Lexington, Kentucky. The Irish pub is a brilliant and easy to understand indicator of globalisation. Photograph: Richard Cummins/Lonely Planet/Getty

The facade of McCarthy’s Irish Bar, in Lexington, Kentucky. The Irish pub is a brilliant and easy to understand indicator of globalisation. Photograph: Richard Cummins/Lonely Planet/Getty

In his hilarious and award-winning novel Absurdistan, the American writer Gary Shteyngart tells the story of Misha Vainburg, son of the 1,238th richest man in Russia who flees Russia for the imaginary country of Absurdistan.

Absurdistan is a post-socialist, cowboy-capitalist, ethnically divided oil kingdom somewhere on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The capital, Svani City, is an uproarious metropolis, desperately trying to mimic a western urban entrepot.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.