Book Launch: The Mandarin, the Musician and the Mage

by John Fanning

In spite of recession, austerity and pandemics, Ireland has demonstrated an extraordinary degree of resilience, becoming one of the most successful economies in Europe and developing into a society remarkably at ease with itself. This book argues that the seeds of this achievement were sown between the mid-1950s and 1960s, when a Second Irish Revival took place which was comparable to the earlier Celtic Revival of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
At the heart of this revival were three men: T. K. Whitaker, the youthful Secretary of the Department of Finance, Seán Ó Riada, musician and composer, and Thomas Kinsella, poet, translator and academic. Ó Riada and Kinsella were close friends in Dublin’s emerging artistic world of the 1950s but Kinsella was also Whitaker’s private secretary in the Department of Finance.
The three men, although very different in background and personality, shared a deep knowledge and love of Irish culture, heritage, history and language, but they were also determined to study and absorb the best of what the world could offer in their respective fields of endeavour and it is argued that this combination was a critical factor in their contribution to Irish society.
The book will review the arguments of the sceptics who disagreed with Ireland’s embrace of globalisation and will conclude with a speculative account of how the Mandarin, the Musician and the Mage might like to see Ireland develop in the 2020s.

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John Fanning (Author)

John Fanning has lectured in Branding and Marketing Communications at the Smurfit Business School for the past ten years. He graduated from UCD with a B.Comm degree in 1964, and worked in London in market research and advertising from 1965 to 1971, when he returned to Dublin and joined McConnell’s Advertising. He was appointed Managing Director in 1980 and became Chairman in 2000 before retiring in 2007 to study for a PhD in UCD. He published The Importance of Being Branded: An Irish Perspective (Liffey Press: 2006) and has written widely on branding and advertising in Irish and UK journals. He is the books editor of Marketing Magazine and is a regular contributor to the Dublin Review of Books. He has served on the boards of The Abbey Theatre, Rough Magic and The Irish Times, and is currently a board member of the Clifden Arts Festival and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.