It will not be long before most of the priests in Ireland are Polish.

A reflection on Ireland’s changing culture, and some ideas for future articles in Multilingual Computing and Technology … Oh, and Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig Oraibh!

YES, it’s true, as mentioned in this interesting article on the Polish experience in Ireland. A good indicator of the changing social, cultural, and political nature of the island of Ireland.  Normally, today, Saint Patrick’s Day is a time when I can cynically comment on the nature of the Irish abroad; this time, it’s a reverse view.

Today, at the Saint Patrick’s Day parade, the participants and watchers were a mass of different colors and cultures. I heard at least a dozen languages spoken around me. A trip earlier down Dublin’s Parnell Street could have had me in London’s Brick Lane or San Francisco’s Clement Street, just as easily. Ireland is experiencing immigration for the first time in hundreds of years, triggered by its Celtic Tiger success. Ireland is now one of the world’s most globalized countries according to some sources. Great changes are taking place:

Not too long ago, it was the Irish that emigrated to escape joblessness and hardship at home, most choosing to chase the American dream. But now people from other countries come to our shores to realise the Irish dream.

Since 2000, Ireland has welcomed some 750,000 newcomers from 211 countries.

According to the Central Statistics Office, 9% of the workforce and 10% of the population are foreign-born, indicative of levels of immigration that other European countries took decades to achieve.

(Source: Sunday Tribune)

These cultural changes – and their impact on social policy in terms of cultural understanding and communication – are some of the topics I’d like to look at in future editions of MLCT magazine (along with my usual stuff, of course wink ). This is a new area for me, as much as for anyone in this country, but I’m looking forward into digging deeper. As our president says:

Today’s emigrants to Ireland whether they come from Poland or Nigeria, China or Latvia are helping to replenish the wells from which tomorrow’s Ireland will draw its inspiration for the arts, politics, commercial and social entrepreneurship, community building, cuisine, education and much more. Our human links of family and friendship, with parts of the world from which we were historically and geographically removed, are being strengthened day by day, helping us to build global networks of shared memories, shared children, common endeavour and mutual understanding, things which build up rather than diminish our world.

Here are some images taken from the streets around my home in Dublin’s “Little Jerusalem”:

Irish ATM:


Polish Product:

Bosnian, Asian, and Mediterranean Store:

Arabic Store:

So, for now: Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! (Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig Oraibh)

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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