Well, if all goes to plan this post will be automatically published while I’m in a plane somewhere over Siberia, bound for Belfast, N.Ireland (via London’s Heathrow.)
We haven’t been in Norn Iron since Xmas 2006, so it will be good to see family again, demolish an Ulster Fry and Soda Farls or two, enjoy packets of Tayto crisps washed down with a few pints of the black stuff, and even take in a Sunday carvery meal at the Bushmills Inn Northern Ireland.
(Yes, that Bushmills. Home to the world famous whiskey distillery.)
The sum total of these separate events is what we Ulster folk often refer to as great crack. See this Irish craic crack article for a sense of the Ulster-Scots word, crack, and its Gaelic derivative, craic.
On a more serious note, I’m also planning to do some on-the-ground research about how Irish people in mid-career are dealing with the now much tougher economic times.
Being outside the European Monetary System and possessed (?) with a large public sector, N.Ireland’s economy doesn’t appear to have (yet) hit the buffers in the way that the Euro-bound South’s has.
To get a sense of how serious things look for the South even when viewed from the Far East, in Feb 2009 I wrote about the experiences of Irish exiles who returned home to the still roaring Celtic Tiger. An Irish Times article by Brendan Landers made for sober reading and I suspect that reality twelve months on is now even bleaker.
Bottom line: the career upside for many Irish men and women may be some time coming.
Ultimately I think that means smart and ambitious Irish people are going to need all the crack and entrepreneurial dynamism they can muster to pull through.
Because their country’s FIRE-based economy is not only extinguishing the wealth of future generations but is being rendered uncompetitive by a high cost base and the appearance on global labour markets of tens of millions of young and success-hungry white collar workers throughout much of the developing world.
I see many Irish people having to make major career change decisions over the next few years.