A FEW WORDS ON THE FASHIONOF THE WORLD
Dublin, to put it mildly, has changed over the last 50 years. The view of Grafton Street continues to shift. The big changes came in the 1990s and early years of this century, when “the Celtic tiger pounced” and brought high-tech, banking, and pharmaceutical money to a once poor company. The average family in Ireland had higher incomes than families in England, which was some measure of revenge.
In the 1970s, when Ireland was poor, it was very Catholic and conservative, as it still is in many places outside Dublin. I was there when the country voted to allow divorce. I had to explain to the locals that what the government chose to do would have no effect on Church teaching. Ireland now has more lenient rules on abortion than much of the United States. Ireland was the first country to give legislative approval to same-sex marriage (most countries have approved it through judicial decisions).
As a Catholic, I’m fine with all these changes – not that I question any of the teachings of my Church, but I don’t believe that Church should legislate the way people live their lives (see my blog on 50 Good Men in Sodom).
Even so, all these changes have caused a certain amount of cultural disassociation. I once sat next to a young woman who cried all through a dramatic adaptation of Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, where Stephen Dedalus grapples with his own loss of faith.
People still come to Saint Teresa’s on Grafton Street, but without the same fervor.
And Dublin has become much more cosmopolitan and diverse. On my last trip there, I heard more Farsi on Parnell Street than I did Irish.
As the Pogues sing, Irish Americans celebrate the land that made us refugees.
Now refugees flood into Dublin, the new land of opportunity.
Many of us probably lost our way in the back roads of America, the back roads of eternity.
Now others try to find their ways through the streets of Dublin.