How the Irish pub culture is not just a commodification for Irish
The Irish pub culture developed at end of the 18th century and early 19th century where visitors were amused by the drinking habits of the peasants. This slowly developed and led to the celebration of an identity centred on alcohol for the Irish people. It has contributed to the rapid expansion of tourism which has raised questions on whether the identity of the Irish people has been commoditised. These concerns are due to the fact that the drinking habits and the way of life have been adopted to fit tourist needs, which are biased towards pleasing the tourists and improving the economy . However this paper disagrees on these concerns by arguing that the pub culture and the Irish way of life is a form of art that is slowly evolving. It brings out pub culture as an art that has contributed to tourism development and promoted the historical Irish way of life in the modern setting. Therefore this culture is not just a tool for economic development but also a way of establishing art where it is least expected.
Pub culture as a form of Art and tourist attraction
The image of the Irish when it comes to their drinking culture and their social life is distinct and forms the base for their cultural tourism. According to them, it was invented during the colonial time when they were given working hours and free time which to the peasants, meant time for drinking alcohol. When travellers from other regions experienced their way of life, this fascinated them and attracted them to behave like the locals. Through the diversity experienced the Irish have slowly established tourism by modifying this practice to attract more tourists . From this observation; the original idea of tourism was created by the situation and the way of life which formed automatically without any external prompt .They simply adapted what the Irish were doing and this suggests that the original idea of cultural tourism was given by the response of the foreigners. To them, the drinking culture was a source of entertainment and amusement which by watching and practising gave the beauty in this culture. The idea of creating fun and entertainment to both locals and visitors through the pubs came before that of growing the economy which suggests that the pub culture would still be there regardless of whether it was used to grow the economy or not. To this effect it can be concluded that tourism is simply enhancing this culture as an art and source of income without selling the identity of the Irish.
Another area of interest in this culture is the diversity it has experienced to fit tourist needs and promote diversity. The pubs have been designed and constructed in large scale while considering the cultural preferences of the people of a given locality. For instance, the biggest Pub in the UK with an Irish theme is created to impress the rich while still integrating the traditional features present in the original Irish bars meant for the peasants. This way, the Irish culture has been modified in terms of social class to fit all groups. This modification adopted towards ensuring that it fits all people despite their income levels is what gives the culture the richness it requires to continue. It minimizes the chances of being dropped due to the changing lifestyles. What is viewed as commoditization is in fact a way of preserving this culture because the traditional setting of these pubs in the 19th century may not appeal to the current generation. To counter act this probable cause of disinterest, the ambiance of the pubs have been changed to be more attractive, music included and the drinks made distinct to each particular locality. This does not solely act to attract more tourists but also to maintain the interest that was originally shown in the Irish culture. It ensures that interest in these pubs is maintained, the modern touch given to these pubs does the trick. So the idea of growing cultural tourism out of these drinking habits and culture of the Irish has helped in maintaining this culture which could have otherwise been discarded due to the changing lifestyles. Therefore the existence of these pubs is dependent on the economic development, without the idea of cultural tourism the pubs will seize to be an object of identification to the Irish people .
It is expected that when a particular object is defined as an art, then it should have an aesthetic value that it depicts. The natural expressions created by the pub culture and the celebration attributed to it is what gives it value as an art. In this case the beauty in the pub culture is not the real practice itself but on the association and history that comes with this practice. Therefore it does not affect the ethical values of the people serving in these centres but illustrates the beauty that comes with having visitors practice what is a usual ritual among the locals with amusement. When this culture is used as a tool to promote tourism, it is merely an added advantage towards preserving and practising the Irish historical culture. The ethics of the Irish people are maintained as well as their way of life and through this they feel that visitors appreciate them. Cultural tourism is an art that entails the consumption and exploration of other people’s diverse cultures and practises as is the case with the Irish and their pub culture. Economic interests shown in this culture have acted to preserve it and improve its attractiveness to ensure that the value in this art is maintained . According to Goodman, the original idea is never the same as the end result of a modification when it comes to aesthetic sensibility, the pub culture has benefited because the new idea has helped to maintain the value of the original source of attraction .
Pub culture has seen cultural tourism develop tremendously and has helped in maintaining the identity of the Irish in terms of drinking and social life. The experience drawn from this form of tourism is dependent on the economic activities that have been established to modify this culture to fit the present day. Therefore, preservation of this art to ensure that it can be celebrated in future depends on how it is integrated in the economic interests of the Irish. This means that when the Irish are employed in these pubs to create originality and their practises are modified to accommodate people from other ethnic backgrounds, they are being helped to maintain their culture. Selling pub culture to tourists so as to gain income not only benefits economically but also maintains the value of the culture while sustaining it to be celebrated even in future.
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