It's easy to reduce a country and its culture to popular stereotypes. Ireland too often gets typecast as the potato-eating Guiness-swilling island in the North Atlantic. Ask people how they picture Ireland and they'll probably offer images of men in tweed scally caps nursing whiskey at the pub, playing the penny whistle, or tending their sheep.
These generalizations may have been the norm in 1916, but today Ireland is much more than gingers and step dancing. I'm sure there are a few shilelagh-toting farmers with a penchant for pints living in quaint . But with the dawn of the Celtic Tiger, Ireland rapidly transformed from an impoverished agrarian state to a European economic phenomenon. International corporations and immigrants took notice, resulting in a rapid influx of capital and people. For the first time in years, Ireland was the place to live, not leave.
Today, you can find Japanese sushi, Indian curry, and Polish pierogi restaurants in Dublin's city center. In 2007, the Co. Laois town of Portlaoise elected Rotimi
Adebari, an asylum-seeking Nigerian, as mayor. The influx of immigrants has transformed the country. Ireland is experiencing the growing pains and culture clashes associated with increasing immigrant populations. The question is: how will Ireland expand its definition of "Irish" to include new faces while maintaining its own traditions?