A colder Ireland: Don’t be afraid to be friendly

A colder Ireland: Don’t be afraid to be friendly
Alice Taylor

The writer Alice Taylor may not wish to be recognised as a prophet in her own land but her warning that a wave of unfriendliness is descending on Irish people has an undeniable, and sad, ring of truth about it.

She warns that this once friendly country, often so friendly that visitors imagined us insane or intrusive — or occasionally both — is less engaging, more remote, and far colder than it once was.

Even though there are myriad reasons for this shift in behaviour and culture, it is still hard to think that our usually convivial character has so changed so dramatically.

It seems essential to our picture of ourselves that, if we can drag ourselves away from whatever screen anchors us in the virtual world, we are still welcoming, supportive and almost innocently friendly.

There are many reasons for this, all of them reversible. Many of us are time poor in ways unimaginable, even at the turn of the century.

More still are caught on the hamster wheel turning what was once a warm, open-hearted society into an unforgiving, devil-take-the-hindmost economy.

There seems too a new level of distrust, of low-level fear about the intentions of strangers. Bruising social media experiences — who hasn’t had one? — also make people reluctant to step out from behind their contrived defences.

Yet, the election campaigns seem almost exclusively focused on economic matters.

We may have, to our cost, embraced the wrong priorities.

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