How the Irish centred their diplomacy on culture by mobilizing the poets

I am currently standing by to be mobilized. I have a tiny SAS manual and one of those dollar store survival kits that includes paracord and a fire steel that doesn’t work. Hand me my government issued cape and point me in the direction of people who need a talking-to. Also, I’m half-Irish so someone give me a beer and a better tax bracket.

The idea that Kiernan was fleshing out had been around for some time. As early as January 1919 Arthur Griffith, writing from Gloucester Prison, had urged his colleagues to “mobilise the poets” to help make Ireland’s case for independence (“perhaps Yeats would use his muse for Ireland now”). Culture caught the eye, and the idea that Ireland could engage in “cultural diplomacy” had begun to crystallise on the eve of the second World War. Seán Lemass’s Department of Industry and Commerce had overseen Ireland’s contribution to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, where Michael Scott’s modernist Irish Pavilion (designed to resemble a huge shamrock from above and adorned with artworks by Seán Keating, Evie Hone and Mainie Jellett) was ultimately selected as the best pavilion on display.

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