The State of Us, Part 1: Ireland’s story doesn’t make sense any more
Globalisation, migration and Catholicism’s decline have undermined stories of ourselves
‘All the evidence is that if one set of stories no longer makes sense, people do not simply become realists. They become prey to any old story at all.’
Nations tell themselves stories. They are not fully true, they are often bitterly contested and they change over time. But they are powerful: they underlie the necessary fiction that is “us”. And at the moment it is not quite clear what the Irish story is. What is the state of “us”?
The majority story, the narrative of modern Catholic Ireland, has had six different elements – components that have sometimes complemented, sometimes competed with, each other. The striking thing is that none of them really works any more.