When the Luck of the Irish Ran Out

When the Luck of the Irish Ran Out

When the Luck of the Irish Ran Out:

The World’s Most Resilient Country and Its Struggle to Rise Again

The new book by author David J. Lynch is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Few countries have been as dramatically transformed in recent years as Ireland. Once a culturally repressed land shadowed by terrorism and on the brink of economic collapse, Ireland finally emerged in the late 1990s as the fastest-growing country in Europe, with the typical citizen enjoying a higher standard of living than the average Brit.

Just a few years after celebrating their newly-won status among the world’s richest societies, the Irish are now saddled with a wounded, shrinking economy, soaring unemployment, and ruined public finances. After so many centuries of impoverishment, how did the Irish finally get rich, and how did they then fritter away so much so quickly?

Veteran journalist David J. Lynch offers an insightful, character-driven narrative of how the Irish boom came to be and how it went bust. He opens our eyes to a nation’s downfall through the lived experience of individual citizens: the people responsible for the current crisis as well as the ordinary men and women enduring it.

A  journey into how Ireland got rich, got poor, and may finally get smart

Homes in IrelandAfter 800 years of economic and cultural poverty, Ireland emerged in the 1990s as the fastest-growing country in Europe. In one short decade, Ireland vanquished its demons of joblessness and chronic emigration, achieved a historic peace and watched its artists emerge as global stars. The “Celtic Tiger” miracle brought more than unfamiliar prosperity to the land of saints and scholars; it changed what it meant to be Irish.

But then, the boom veered into a housing and credit bubble that was even bigger than that of the United States. Just a few years after celebrating their first taste of affluence, the Irish now are saddled with a wounded economy and ruined public finances. Homes built only a few years ago stand empty. Unemployment is rising fast.Irish Shoppers

So how did the Irish finally get rich, and how did they then fritter away so much so quickly?  When the Luck of the Irish Ran Out chronicles Ireland’s astonishing rise and its confounding collapse. With an eye to the political corruption and willful economic blindness that paved the way, veteran journalist David J. Lynch draws upon the experiences of Ireland’s leaders and ordinary citizens alike to show that tantalizing hints of a rebirth can already be glimpsed.

This is a startling portrait of one of the most poignant casualties of the global economic meltdown–and an eye-opening look at a tough-minded people’s vow to rebuild.

Reviews for When the Luck of the Irish Ran Out

In this solid debut, USA Today global affairs reporter Lynch tells the story of a small nation that has changed profoundly in recent decades. For centuries, Ireland was an impoverished backwater from which the educated fled. Even 30 years ago, writes the author, the country still lacked jobs, roads and reliable phone service. By the late 1990s, all of that changed. Breaking out of its malaise, Ireland began attracting U.S. investment and such technology companies as Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, becoming one of the world’s richest consumer societies. The “Celtic Tiger” growth miracle had the Irish flocking to large shopping malls and expensive restaurants, spending more than twice as much on personal goods and services in 2006 as they had in 1998. The housing market soared, and builders had to recruit foreign construction workers. “The long boom replaced the traditional Irish inferiority complex with a robust culture of entitlement,” writes Lynch. Vividly re-creating the heady era of excess, the author tells the stories of bankers, politicians and others who helped create the new, hip, more affluent Ireland. In 2007, the euphoria ended abruptly amid falling property prices and global recession. Much of the boom had been illusory, the result of over-borrowing by banks, irresponsible regulatory policies and corrupt dealings between politicians and business leaders. The author also covers the cultural flowering of these same boom years, in which Riverdance and the work of U2, Roddy Doyle and other writers and performers won global attention. Doyle’s novels and plays exploring domestic violence and other seldom-acknowledged aspects of domestic life became part of a broad debate on national identity. At the same time, there was a sharp decline in the repressive influence of the Catholic Church. Lynch attributes the social and cultural ferment to the new self-confidence of the era. Now struggling to recover from an economic collapse marked by soaring unemployment and collapsed banks, Ireland can look forward to a “more modest future as a modern European country.”

Incisive and well-reported.

Kirkus Reviews