One of the biggest industries in Ireland is Tourism. It is vital to the Economy. And Postcards are an important part “selling” Ireland as much as it is about buying souvenirs of a visit.
There is a chain of tourist shops in Dublin. They seem to corner the market with maybe six sites within a square mile of the City Centre. As a nation that is dependant on Tourism, we cannot rely on the weather. What we can sell is Views, History and Humour (the “Craic”).
A few days ago, as part of a postcard trade, I was asked to obtain some Dublin postcards. Strange thing…although I have duplicates of several Irish postcards, I had none of Dublin. I suppose having an album full of Dublin postcards and being a visitor to Dublin about eight times a year, I am only interested in seeing new cards on racks. I suppose being a historian…I am at heart more interested in reality than stereotype and for me too many cards reflect a stereotype that I dont like. For example, I have never taken an alcoholic drink and each time I go into a bar in (say) USA, people seem shocked “…but youre Irish”.
As a guide for tourists, I should point out that a standard-sized postcard in central Dublin costs 40 cents or three for one Euro. They tend to be bought as souvenirs rather than a message home to Dusseldorf in Germany or Dallas, Texas.
So I dont go for stereotype.
The “Flag” cards are an important part in postcard exchanges, it is unusual to see the National Flag of Ireland on a postcard. I have only seen it once (in a “hippy” type store) and I bought a couple for my private collection …ironically the card was produced in England.the card below was so unusual that I bought several in Galway in 2014. They are useful as swaps. I find the “I Love Ireland” slogan a bit tacky.
I have not seen many “sticker” cards recently. I do not seek them out as they are relatively expensive but I like them.
Ireland has been around for a very long time. In fact the Giants Causeway has been here for millions of years but there are billboards erected by Christians which tell tourists that the Bible claims it is not nearly so old.
On the other hand, people have been in Ireland for about 6,000 years and they built structures like Newgrange which is older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge. It is severl tons of boulders brought about eighty miles to cover a chamber containing four or five dead people. There is no form of cement andthe central chamber never gets wet. The rising sun lights it up at the Winter Solstice. We dont know why we built it…but the point is we are better builders than the English…who have still not put a roof on Stonehenge.
If we live here and have a name like Murphy, Daly, O’Connor or O’Brien…and my name….we claim a connexion to all that. It is a kinda spiritual DNA.and there are of course Murphys, Dalys O’Connors and O’Briens who dontlive in Ireland and feel the same spiritual connexion….but of course there is a difference between mere affection and allegiance.
Ethnicity and Citizenship are different ….thankfully we are a multi-cultural society with citizens from all backgrounds.
For centuries brave men and women have fought to establish Ireland as something more than the cutesy home for a cute ethnicity.
Postcards showing the Proclamation of 1916 are generally available but others like the image of the Rebel Leaders are usually only available in museums (a great place to get historic cards) and the image of the General Post Office is only available in GPO.