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  • Are the Welsh jealous of our diaspora?

    Monday, December 7th, 2009

    A group of representatives from Welsh cultural institutions say that Wales should use Ireland as  a model for promoting Welsh culture – but note that the power of the Irish diaspora gives Ireland a big head start.

    Wales Online reports that experts from the National Museum of Wales, Arts Council of Wales, Welsh National Opera, Welsh Language Board and National Eisteddfod met with representatives from the Assembly Government and Visit Wales to discuss global market strategies.  They said that Wales had cultural assets to match those of Ireland, but suffered from a lower profile.

    National Museum of Wales director general Michael Houlihan said: “Wales has a job to do on an international front. If you go to the States the Irish diaspora is very strong, whereas for Wales there is still a lot of work to be done.”
    Heledd Fyhan, advocacy and policy officer at the National Museum of Wales, sounded positively envious of Ireland as she said: “We are still very unclear how to market ourselves. The Irish market their music, their castles and art collections brilliantly – even though they are not as good as ours.”


    John Wake, a director of Capital Region Tourism, however, blamed some intrinsic differences between the Welsh and the Irish for the imbalance in their global profiles:

    What Ireland have got is a happy-go-lucky attitude to life. The culture is drinking, smiling, being one of the lads or one of the girls. I don’t think we could copy that. We have our own identity that is very different. To compare us with Ireland is unrealistic.

    Ireland has Guinness, pubs and leprechauns and we don’t have any of that. What is the biggest parade of the year in New York? St Patrick’s Day. In Wales we celebrate St Patrick’s Day and Burns Night more than St David’s Day. Why don’t we have a Dylan Thomas night?

    Hmmm… We sound like a sozzled bunch, I guess, but at least our diaspora consumes our culture.

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