The Ireland Pavilion at the Shanghai EXPO was so bad, it was embarrassing.

Paul Carr

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I went to the Shanghai EXPO on October 29th, 2010. The EXPO finally closed on October 31st.

First, I visited the huge Chinese pavilion. Next, like a patriotic Irishman, I wondered over to the Irish pavilion.

In my naiveté, I thought it would be pretty cool.

It was anything but.

From the outside, it looked like a factory in an industrial estate. I grew up in the fishing town of Killybegs in County Donegal. Just throw a few pallets and crates in front of this thing and it would look like a fish processing factory in Killybegs. It looked like it had been thrown up in a day, quite frankly.

On the inside, it was little better. It was as predictable as it was embarrassing. You are greeted by this huge photo of some earthen fortress from 5,000 years ago and there’s this eerily creepy violin music playing in the background. I think you know what I’m talking about. Then, there are more photos of eerily depressing and achingly depressing/beautiful nude landscape which should have been planted with trees donkey’s decades ago, if we ever had competent government to do so.

There were hardly any multimedia on offer. There was this Westlife music video on a large TV screen, I recall. Maybe a few more multimedia offerings but not much.

I was in and out in 5 minutes.

Guys, on external appearances, the Ireland pavilion had to be THE WORST pavilion in the entire EXPO park. I’m serious. It was that bad. On the inside, it was little better. The Ireland pavilion organizers were really sparing their cents on this one. I wonder if the Ireland pavilion organizers were going the U.S. route of relying on corporate donors.

The Ireland EXPO website breezily brags:

The Ireland Pavilion - Shanghai Expo 2010

“The Ireland Pavilion enjoys a central location in the Expo Park. It is 2,500 sq meters in size with a series of permanent exhibition spaces complemented by entertainment and performance spaces. This includes a multi-purpose Exhibition Room of 150 sq meters, linked by a lift to a VIP hospitality suite and a rooftop terrace offering magnificent views over the Expo site. The permanent exhibition sets out the creativity of the Irish, their ancient history, vibrant modern culture, educational traditions and technical innovation into the context of a small, but surprisingly varied and beautiful, island.”

And, then, there’s the video:

Video Walkthrough | The Ireland Pavilion - Shanghai Expo 2010

The video makes it clear that this rooftop terrace was only for the VIPs to enjoy, not De Little People. At 2 minutes 20 seconds, the video cynically mentions “Dance Karaoke Stage” by means of a caption. In fact, provided your eyes are open, you’ll realize that it is just describing what you see in the large video screen, shown in the video, located within the Ireland pavilion, which was of some guys dancing, possibly to karaoke music. It was a video of a video and the video describes by means of a caption what you see in the video you are looking at in the video. Can’t you ************************************g believe it? This is an example of utter cynicism and chancerism. I didn’t see any “Dance Karaoke Stage”, I mean a real one, when I visited the Ireland pavilion. And, if there was one, well, maybe, that was reserved for the VIPs too. I didn’t see any courtyard, as mentioned in the video, just a long passageway with 90 degree turns. I was in and out in 5 minutes, just like everyone else. There was no rooftop view. There was no rooftop terrace. There was just a long passageway with 90 degree turns, with an entrance and a exit. I didn’t see any “Atlantic Light” alluded to in the video after 1 minute 12 seconds or the “Dublin Vista” alluded to after 2 minutes 7 seconds or the “Irish Dreams” alluded to in the video after 3 minutes 34 seconds. The video invents all these names and more fancy names such as “Window on the World”, “Time Portals” and “Infinity Effect” for nothing at all. There was absolutely nothing in the main exhibition that was impressive or memorable. On the other hand, yes, I do recall they did have the Irish Creativity Wall. And, yes, I do recall they did have a machine at the end of the exhibition that allows you to e-mail a postcard. I got the impression that many of the people who visited were EXPO diehards who just wanted to visit every single country’s pavilion, 192 of them, before the EXPO closed for good and that the Irish pavilion was one of their last ports of call. They just wanted to get their EXPO passport stamped on the way out at the end of the passageway

I mean even the video makes it clear, in my humble opinion, just how ugly this thing was on the outside; even at night, when it looked a little better lit up. During the day, it was truly atrocious.

I had to queue for only 5 minutes to get in. I went there about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Later, after darkness fell, I passed by again and I noticed the queue was a little longer. Maybe a 10 minute queue. This was short compared to the other pavilions I visited. I’ll write more about this later on.

I didn’t see any Irish representatives at the Ireland pavilion.

The only redeeming feature about the Ireland pavilion, in my opinion, was that they had this exhibition room, not mentioned at all in the video, after you had exited the main exhibition passageway, which showed pictures of the Harland and Wolff shipyard from 1908 to 1911 when the Titanic and Olympic were being built. It was mildly interesting and informative. I got the impression that the organizers of the Ireland pavilion in the weeks running up to the opening of the Shanghai EXPO on May 1st 2010, panicked after seeing the magnificent pavilions, both on the outside and inside, from the other countries. My feeling is that it was almost at the last minute that they tagged on the Harland and Wolff gallery.

The Ireland pavilion was all over the place. There wasn’t a fixed theme, an anchoring theme to give the thing focus. The organizers just stuck with the same safe theme of peering into the past (a picture of a earthen fortress from 5000 years ago accompanied by creepy violin music) that has been done umpteen times before when presenting the country abroad or to foreigners in Ireland. It’s worn. Can’t we have something different? How about an Irish pub? How about a dance performance by banshee witches? Anything else but this run-of-the-mill crap.

The Ireland pavilion organizers stuck an E.U. flag beside the Irish flag on top of their perfabricated factory/pavilion , as if that would redeem the mess. I didn’t see an E.U. flag on any of the other E.U. member state pavilions. The European Union had its own pavilion, if I’m not mistaken. I feel it was totally unnecessary to put the E.U. flag beside the Ireland flag on top of the Ireland pavilion.

I forgot to mention that in the main exhibition inside the Ireland pavilion, there was presented a model room from an Irish house from 100 years ago. There was another one from 50 years ago a little further down the corridor and yet another one from the modern day. The room from 100 years ago would be the sort that Peig used to live in. Except there was no Peig.

Very little money was spent on this exhibition. I wonder why. Is it because, as someone on an internet newsgroup I read and write to called soc.culture.irish explained last year, it is wrong to do any business with Communist China? If only China became a banana democracy, like the Philippines or Bangladesh, then China would be rewarded by a visit by Peig in person. She’ll sit in the 100 year old room and she’ll spout Irish to the inquisitive Chinese visitors. Pointing to the various objects in the room, she’ll explain, “This is an Urn”. “This is a StoneyBatter”. “This is a picture of my Beloved, “Man of Aran”".

After viewing the Ireland pavilion at the Shanghai EXPO, I am reminded of how wise the British of Northern Ireland were to remain a part of the United Kingdom.

I read an interesting BBC news article on the Shanghai Expo.

BBC News - Shanghai bids farewell to massive World Expo fair

It explains: “Highlights of the events included Denmark’s famous Little Mermaid sculpture, impressionist paintings from the Louvre at France’s pavilion, entertainment by Canada’s Cirque du Soleil and many others.”

The BBC news article forgot to mention Ireland’s contribution. Allow me to amend it:

“Highlights of the events included Denmark’s famous Little Mermaid sculpture, impressionist paintings from the Louvre at France’s pavilion, entertainment by Canada’s Cirque du Soleil, and Ireland’s “Peig’s Churn Room” minus Peig.”

Boy oh boy, those audacious Danes. The Little Mermaid is like the symbol of Denmark. It appears those audacious Danes don’t have any qualms about doing business with Communist China. For 6 months, they shipped over the very symbol of their country, the real thing, their Little Mermaid, to Communist China to take care of. What the hell are the Danes thinkin’? Why are they behavin’ like bleedin’ Communists? When is the Tea Party revolution going to come to Denmark? Now thanks to those bloody Danes, China will have a Kim Jung Ill the second take power within a year. He’ll declare his desire and intent to conquer the rest of the world. Before you know it, there’ll be a slitty eyed man running the Governate of the People’s Republic of the United States of America.

I visited several of the pavilions. I visited the China pavilion, the Ireland pavilion, the Iceland pavilion, the Denmark pavilion, the Australia pavilion, the Africa building (which combined many African pavilions inside) and the New Zealand pavilion.

The Iceland pavilion was a lot smaller than the Irish pavilion in terms of the size of their building and the area it occupied. It was however very beautiful to look at from the outside. And the queue to see what was inside was long. I had to wait an hour, not the 5 minutes or so I had to wait to get into the Ireland pavilion. Inside, there was this show where all four walls as well as the ceiling were utilized to show us Iceland. The Iceland pavilion had a fixed anchored theme, unlike the Ireland pavilion. The theme was the landscape of Iceland and its people. You almost felt you were in the country, experiencing the country first hand. 150 people or so at a time were brought into the big room to see the 10 minute or so long show. It was magnificent. The waterfalls, the fjords, the volcanos, the glaciers, the hot springs. A fine presentation. Almost like virtual reality. It was well worth the wait.

The Denmark pavilion also had a theme. Their theme was building sustainable cities. They shipped over their own Little Mermaid as already mentioned. You could rent bicycles and ride up the winding pathway to the top of the pavilion. I didn’t see any VIP areas. You could go to the top of the pavilion to get a view of the surrounding area. For the Ireland pavilion, this privilege was only reserved for VIPs, whoever the ************************ they are. Inside, there was a food outlet selling authentic Danish and Scandinavian food and drink, Northern European water, Danish beer et cetera. Other shops sold various Danish memorabilia. I saw no shop of any kind in or around the Ireland pavilion. In the Denmark pavilion, a booklet was distributed free of charge which details the connections between Denmark and China, keeping to the theme of sustainable cities and how Danish companies are helping create sustainable cities in both China and Denmark. For example, a Danish company, Vestas, is building partnerships with Chinese companies in wind power generation. The booklet gave some basic facts in both English and Chinese about Denmark. For example, in Denmark, the booklet explains, Danes get 5 to 6 weeks paid vacation. How many weeks of paid vacation do the Irish get, I wonder?

One problem with the Denmark pavilion however was that the bike I cycled to the top of their pavilion locked up at one stage. That said, the Shanghai EXPO had been going on for nearly 6 months at this stage so I think I’ll forgive the Danish organizers for a dodgy bike. Also, I didn’t see any Danish personnel when I was there. Same with the Iceland pavilion. I queued for about an hour to get into the Denmark pavilion. The Iceland pavilion in particular really delivered great bang for the buck. The Icelanders had a theme, they kept it simple, they kept costs down. Their site was less than half the size of the Ireland pavilion. Yet, huge crowds came and wanted to see the show.

The Australia pavilion was truly magnificent. Genuine Aussies manned the stands surrounding their large pavilion. They were selling all sorts of Aussie goodies, biscuits, all sorts of beverages and so on. I queued again for about an hour to get in. On the ground floor, if you didn’t want to queue, there was what I presume was an Australian band playing music. There was a huge crowd having a great party. The Chinese security guards inside the pavilion wore Australian wide-brimmed cowboy hats. There was a fast food place inside selling various Australian delicacies. To see the special performance upstairs, you had to queue. I queued and it was well worth it. Again, the Australia pavilion had a theme. The theme was their multicultural society. The Australian attendants spoke Mandarin. The show was a 10 minute presentation which was captivating. Obviously, the Australians poured money into their pavilion. It would appear that they too have no qualms about doing business with China.

The New Zealand pavilion was more modest than the Australia pavilion but just as inventive. In contrast to the Ireland pavilion, extensive use was made of multimedia. Its theme was their people. You could walk through the winding ascending passageway all the way to the top of the pavilion, no ************************************g VIP room in site. They had this beautiful garden at the top for everyone to enjoy. It really delivered great bang for the buck.

I wanted to go back to the Expo site the next day, the second last day of the Shanghai Expo. I wanted to take another look at the Ireland pavilion just in case my eyes were deceiving me the first time around. I also wanted to look at some of the other pavilions such as the other Scandinavian pavilions, the Japanese pavilion and a few others. Unfortunately, the tickets had all been sold out at all the gates. Never mind. I had seen enough.

When Mary Harney declared in the year 2000 that Ireland would steer a half way course between Boston and Berlin, what she meant was that we would choose Boston 100% on the one hand but, on the other, we would accept the Brussels handouts while grumbling under our breath that we should have gotten more of the money that went instead to those upstarts from Central Europe.

DETE - Public Relations - Remarks by Tnaiste, Mary Harney at a Meeting of the American Bar Association in the Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin on Friday 21st July 2000

A culture of begrudgery pervades the land. Up until 1990, the Catholic church in Ireland, through its arsenal of mind control techniques, largely controlled the social and sexual conduct of the Catholic people of Irelannd. Their sanctions were backed up by State action or inaction in the Republic of Ireland (mostly up until 1970, those there have been some examples afterwards). These sanctions were in particular directed against the financially worse off two-thirds of the population in order to keep them under control and pliable. After 1990, the credibility and authority of the Catholic church collapsed but that wasn’t the end of our problems.

The God of Retribution has now been replaced by the God of Greed. As few as a hundred men control the Government of the Republic of Ireland. I will hereunder refer to them as The Hundred. We cannot even be sure who they all are. One thing I am sure of, though; they are all men. By means of trickle down, their philosophy of greed now pervades the entire country. Their philosophy is one of “Like ************************, I will” and “************************ you, you’re on your own”. The opportunity we had, post 1990, to build a society built upon people doing right by one another in order to build sustainable communities from the bottom up, has so far not been taken.

I sincerely doubt that there is even one T.D. among their number. The Taoiseach only makes ?228,466 euros a year plus expenses.

Taoiseach - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That’s peanuts to the property tycoons and bankers and others that make up The Hundred. Even if Brian Cowen went knocking at the door of The Hundred (and, yes, he’d have to knock), he may be refused entry.

The 166 TDs have failed to provide an alternative vision or philosophy to the begrudgery of The Hundred. Indeed, each member of The Hundred has, on average, over a T.D. and a half to represent him. All 3 of our major political parties, Labour, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, in the Republic of Ireland are directed by The Hundred. They provide the stifling template within which the rest of policy is filled in. The Hundred, in effect, then control public policy. Our democracy in the Republic of Ireland is a sham.

And, yet, I don’t read of any protests in the Republic of Ireland. We have more reason than people in many other developed countries to protest. In France, I read recently of huge protests. In little Iceland, I read of huge protests. Where are the protests in Ireland?

Over the past few decades, the cry from our T.D.s has been one of forever cutting taxes, for rich and poor alike. The mantra has become so regular, it’s like a drum beat. They argue that the best way to provide relief to the financially poor is not to tax them. Let them keep what little money they have. They argue that governments can’t help them. This is not true. Governments can help them. It’s just that historically Irish governments can’t. That was a choice that they took. The post 1980s rise of Reagonomics in the USA and Thatcherite economics in the UK provided convenient cover for them.

We now have one of the lowest tax takes in the E.U. according to Eurostat.

Ireland's total tax-take is among the lowest in the EU | Working to build a just society

Ireland's total tax-take is among the lowest in the EU | Working to build a just society

In the E.U., the total tax-take averaged 39.3% of GDP in 2008. For Ireland the comparable figure is 29.3%. In Labour taxes, Corporate taxes and Capital taxes, Ireland is at the lower end of the spectrum.

But, there’s one kind of tax were we’re near the top in the E.U. Consumption tax.

Tax in Ireland and Europe « European Anti Poverty Network Ireland

Tax in Ireland and Europe « European Anti Poverty Network Ireland

We have the 7th highest in the E.U.. Paying for all those essential day-to-day items, and making a living from day-to-day, won’t make much of a dent in the income of the wealthy so why should they care about that kind of tax?

Back in the 1920s, even the truncated Irish Free State had a per capita income roughly the same or a little higher than the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden (in the case of newly independent Finland considerably higher). By the mid 1980s, their per capita income was over 2 and a half times that of the Republic of Ireland. What happened?

The Scandinavian countries adopted the rather novel approach of expanding the wealth of their country to include the financially poorer two thirds of their populations. At the same time, in the Irish Free State, and, later, in the Republic of Ireland, the new political elite decided to keep as much of the wealth as possible to themselves and to use the institution of the Catholic church in Ireland to keep the rest of the population under control and in a state of resentment and fear. Since 1990, the Catholic church rottweiler has been sedated but the wealth of the country is still concentrated amongst the few. Indeed, in the Republic of Ireland, we adore the rich. We treat property tycoons like pop stars. They are bestowed with honour rather like their close cousins, the Hong Kong property developers (who control the government there because the government gets a lot of their revenue from them) and the Dubai billionaire sheikhs.

Kevin O’Higgins, Minister of Justice from 1922 to 1927 for the Cumann nGaedhael government, once bragged that the revolutionaries of 1916 were “the most conservative-minded revolutionaries that ever put through a successful revolution”. He was wrong. They weren’t conservative minded at all. They were imcompetent, just like modern day Dáil politicians. And, if the Irish people don’t start protesting, things will continue much as before.
 


Tomas Mor

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very sad post for our country, what have we done ?
 

Paul Carr

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Indeed. Some chap replied on my blog, defending it. Here's what he wrote below. Below that is my response to him.

_____________________________________________
_____________________________________________

The irish pavilion kareoke worked when i first opened, as did the ‘terrace’ that you didn’t manage to visit. The problem was that on day one of opening people went out onto the terrace and proceeded to eat, piss, and sleep. This forced the organizers to close it. From then on, all you needed to do was ask someone to take you to the dep commisioner general, ask nicely, and he would have gladly taken you out for a nice chat over a pint. As for the kareoke, people kept crowding and creating a serious bottleneck situation. The reason that there were no ethnic irish working at the pavilion is complex in it’s simplicity. Organizers could only hire from within ireland. While there are ethnic irish citizens who speak chinese, they did not heed the call or were unavailable to fly back home. Chinese citizens studying in ireland both knew and cared about the expo and applied, making RMB 12000 a month.

The irish pavilion held a pretty decent party in july out on the terrace. It wasn’t particularly wild but we had only begun having parties in pavilions at that point so they were traversing unfamiliar territory. There are a few pics of the party up on facebook.

Denmark had a vip room hidden underground, very well hidden, but with a great view of the tank containing the little mermaid.

Australia was the all out best pav at the expo – employees got RMB 25,000 per month and threw the most absolutely ************************************g incredible parties in the history of the Universal World Exposition.

Iceland was supposed to be twice the size but their budget was cut significantly due to economic catastrophe, so they were forced to share their plot with undeserving ukraine.

Do not go to exponights.com unless you want to know what you actually missed.

_______________________________________________

______________________________________________

Oh please! The terrace was described as a VIP area on the Ireland pavilion website. Even if I did know about it at the time I went (and I didn’t), it was off-limits. I walked in, made my way through the passageway just like everyone else and finally exited. Regarding the Karaoke, there was no Karaoke. That’s clear if you look closely at the video presentation of the Ireland pavilion on the Ireland pavilion website. All you see is a video of people dancing Karaoke on one of the large TV screens within the Ireland pavilion. It’s a video within a video. Pathetic.

I went to the Ireland Expo with an open mind. I certainly didn’t pre-judge that it was going to be bad. I was actually hopeful that it would be good, even great. I knew nothing about it before I went. After I saw it, I was very disappointed. I am sure many other Irish felt the same way too.

On the outside, it truly looked ugly, especially during the day. Are you going to disagree with me on that too?

You write, “The reason that there were no ethnic irish working at the pavilion is complex in it’s simplicity”. Complex in its simplicity? I have no idea what that means. Am I supposed to engage in mental gymnastics to understand what you write?

Finally you write, “Do not go to exponights.com unless you want to know what you actually missed.”. I was very interested in the EXPO. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have gone. If I wasn’t interested, I wouldn’t have written my review. If I wasn’t interested, I wouldn’t have gone to the Ireland EXPO website to view the video. I have already described the Iceland, China, Australia, Denmark and New Zealand pavilions as splendid – and they were. The Ireland pavilion was poor – because it was. No amount of spin will make it otherwise.

The Australian pavilion had plenty of western faces, presumably Australian, in and even around the pavilion selling cakes and beer and what not. There was what I presume was an Australian music band performing a live concert inside the Australia pavilion when I was there. I didn’t see any VIP area.

Actually, I am not really singling out the Ireland pavilion for criticism here. I didn’t see any western faces at the Iceland pavilion, the Denmark pavilion or the New Zealand pavilion either. But, they were still superb because 1) they kept to a particular theme and in the case of the Denmark pavilion and the New Zealand more money was clearly invested. The New Zealand pavilion had lots more multimedia than the Ireland pavilion for example. The New Zealand pavilion had no VIP area as far as I could see. You walked through the passageway all the way to the top where there was this pretty little open-top garden. Very beautiful. In the Denmark pavilion, you could ride a bike to the top. Very creative. I didn’t see any VIP area in sight. They even brought over their own “Little Mermaid” from Copenhagen. Booklets were distributed free-of-charge on the theme of creating environmentally sustainable cities and what China and Denmark working together, through their companies and governments, are doing about it.

The Iceland pavilion was ingenious. A 10 minute or so presentation on the theme of the Icelandic environment. Fantastic. All 4 walls of a large room were utilized including the ceiling on occasion for a video presentation. All 4 walls and the ceiling were in sync. You felt you were actually in the country. Superb. Very realistic. About a 100 people at a time were brought in to view the show. And the Iceland pavilion was very pretty to look at from the outside too.

I haven’t even mentioned the queues to get in yet. 1 hour for the Iceland pavilion for sure. I was about 1 hour or nearly 1 hour waiting to get into the Denmark pavilion. I was waiting one hour to get into the Australian pavilion. The Ireland pavilion? 10 minutes. Maximum. I went during the day. After night had fallen, I noticed the queue was a little longer, a little. Maybe 15 minutes queue. Tops. Of course, the Ireland pavilion didn’t look anywhere near as hideous at night as it was during the day.

A nice chat out on the terrace over a pint? Look, mate, I didn’t see any bleedin’ bar at the Ireland pavilion!! I guess you mean we’d have to go over to the Denmark pavilion first to get a pint of Carlsberg.
 

reknaw

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Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Paul. Very depressing, especially when one thinks how important an actor China already is in the world and the dominant position that it seems destined to achieve before very long. It seems those who are being grossly overpaid to defend and promote our country's interests are simply falling down on the job.:mad::mad::mad:
 

Malbekh

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I went to the Shanghai EXPO on October 29th, 2010. The EXPO finally closed on October 31st.

First, I visited the huge Chinese pavilion. Next, like a patriotic Irishman, I wondered over to the Irish pavilion.

In my naiveté, I thought it would be pretty cool.

It was anything but.
Thanks for your post, it's very informative. We live in an ever decreasing world where any place is accessible in a day or two of travelling, but your post comes through very much like a traveller wandering into a Middle-Age village in a swamp, with everybody gathering around to hear the news of the outside.

So unless someone comes back with a response any different than yours who was also there, I'll be taking what you say at face value.

If any country could do an expo up against the rest of the world, on a shoestring budget, and bring so much fun, enthusiasm, skill, smarts and well-administered chaos, that would be Ireland wouldn't it?

That's what were best at, isn't it?

This is so disappointing I'm not even going to put in any cheap political jibes.
 

idle tim

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I went to the Shanghai EXPO on October 29th, 2010. The EXPO finally closed on October 31st.

First, I visited the huge Chinese pavilion. Next, like a patriotic Irishman, I wondered over to the Irish pavilion.

In my naiveté, I thought it would be pretty cool.

It was anything but.

From the outside, it looked like a factory in an industrial estate. I grew up in the fishing town of Killybegs in County Donegal. Just throw a few pallets and crates in front of this thing and it would look like a fish processing factory in Killybegs. It looked like it had been thrown up in a day, quite frankly.

On the inside, it was little better. It was as predictable as it was embarrassing. You are greeted by this huge photo of some earthen fortress from 5,000 years ago and there’s this eerily creepy violin music playing in the background. I think you know what I’m talking about. Then, there are more photos of eerily depressing and achingly depressing/beautiful nude landscape which should have been planted with trees donkey’s decades ago, if we ever had competent government to do so.

There were hardly any multimedia on offer. There was this Westlife music video on a large TV screen, I recall. Maybe a few more multimedia offerings but not much.

I was in and out in 5 minutes.

Guys, on external appearances, the Ireland pavilion had to be THE WORST pavilion in the entire EXPO park. I’m serious. It was that bad. On the inside, it was little better. The Ireland pavilion organizers were really sparing their cents on this one. I wonder if the Ireland pavilion organizers were going the U.S. route of relying on corporate donors.

The Ireland EXPO website breezily brags:

The Ireland Pavilion - Shanghai Expo 2010

“The Ireland Pavilion enjoys a central location in the Expo Park. It is 2,500 sq meters in size with a series of permanent exhibition spaces complemented by entertainment and performance spaces. This includes a multi-purpose Exhibition Room of 150 sq meters, linked by a lift to a VIP hospitality suite and a rooftop terrace offering magnificent views over the Expo site. The permanent exhibition sets out the creativity of the Irish, their ancient history, vibrant modern culture, educational traditions and technical innovation into the context of a small, but surprisingly varied and beautiful, island.”

And, then, there’s the video:

Video Walkthrough | The Ireland Pavilion - Shanghai Expo 2010

The video makes it clear that this rooftop terrace was only for the VIPs to enjoy, not De Little People. At 2 minutes 20 seconds, the video cynically mentions “Dance Karaoke Stage” by means of a caption. In fact, provided your eyes are open, you’ll realize that it is just describing what you see in the large video screen, shown in the video, located within the Ireland pavilion, which was of some guys dancing, possibly to karaoke music. It was a video of a video and the video describes by means of a caption what you see in the video you are looking at in the video. Can’t you ************************************g believe it? This is an example of utter cynicism and chancerism. I didn’t see any “Dance Karaoke Stage”, I mean a real one, when I visited the Ireland pavilion. And, if there was one, well, maybe, that was reserved for the VIPs too. I didn’t see any courtyard, as mentioned in the video, just a long passageway with 90 degree turns. I was in and out in 5 minutes, just like everyone else. There was no rooftop view. There was no rooftop terrace. There was just a long passageway with 90 degree turns, with an entrance and a exit. I didn’t see any “Atlantic Light” alluded to in the video after 1 minute 12 seconds or the “Dublin Vista” alluded to after 2 minutes 7 seconds or the “Irish Dreams” alluded to in the video after 3 minutes 34 seconds. The video invents all these names and more fancy names such as “Window on the World”, “Time Portals” and “Infinity Effect” for nothing at all. There was absolutely nothing in the main exhibition that was impressive or memorable. On the other hand, yes, I do recall they did have the Irish Creativity Wall. And, yes, I do recall they did have a machine at the end of the exhibition that allows you to e-mail a postcard. I got the impression that many of the people who visited were EXPO diehards who just wanted to visit every single country’s pavilion, 192 of them, before the EXPO closed for good and that the Irish pavilion was one of their last ports of call. They just wanted to get their EXPO passport stamped on the way out at the end of the passageway

I mean even the video makes it clear, in my humble opinion, just how ugly this thing was on the outside; even at night, when it looked a little better lit up. During the day, it was truly atrocious.

I had to queue for only 5 minutes to get in. I went there about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Later, after darkness fell, I passed by again and I noticed the queue was a little longer. Maybe a 10 minute queue. This was short compared to the other pavilions I visited. I’ll write more about this later on.

I didn’t see any Irish representatives at the Ireland pavilion.

The only redeeming feature about the Ireland pavilion, in my opinion, was that they had this exhibition room, not mentioned at all in the video, after you had exited the main exhibition passageway, which showed pictures of the Harland and Wolff shipyard from 1908 to 1911 when the Titanic and Olympic were being built. It was mildly interesting and informative. I got the impression that the organizers of the Ireland pavilion in the weeks running up to the opening of the Shanghai EXPO on May 1st 2010, panicked after seeing the magnificent pavilions, both on the outside and inside, from the other countries. My feeling is that it was almost at the last minute that they tagged on the Harland and Wolff gallery.

The Ireland pavilion was all over the place. There wasn’t a fixed theme, an anchoring theme to give the thing focus. The organizers just stuck with the same safe theme of peering into the past (a picture of a earthen fortress from 5000 years ago accompanied by creepy violin music) that has been done umpteen times before when presenting the country abroad or to foreigners in Ireland. It’s worn. Can’t we have something different? How about an Irish pub? How about a dance performance by banshee witches? Anything else but this run-of-the-mill crap.

The Ireland pavilion organizers stuck an E.U. flag beside the Irish flag on top of their perfabricated factory/pavilion , as if that would redeem the mess. I didn’t see an E.U. flag on any of the other E.U. member state pavilions. The European Union had its own pavilion, if I’m not mistaken. I feel it was totally unnecessary to put the E.U. flag beside the Ireland flag on top of the Ireland pavilion.

I forgot to mention that in the main exhibition inside the Ireland pavilion, there was presented a model room from an Irish house from 100 years ago. There was another one from 50 years ago a little further down the corridor and yet another one from the modern day. The room from 100 years ago would be the sort that Peig used to live in. Except there was no Peig.

Very little money was spent on this exhibition. I wonder why. Is it because, as someone on an internet newsgroup I read and write to called soc.culture.irish explained last year, it is wrong to do any business with Communist China? If only China became a banana democracy, like the Philippines or Bangladesh, then China would be rewarded by a visit by Peig in person. She’ll sit in the 100 year old room and she’ll spout Irish to the inquisitive Chinese visitors. Pointing to the various objects in the room, she’ll explain, “This is an Urn”. “This is a StoneyBatter”. “This is a picture of my Beloved, “Man of Aran”".

After viewing the Ireland pavilion at the Shanghai EXPO, I am reminded of how wise the British of Northern Ireland were to remain a part of the United Kingdom.

I read an interesting BBC news article on the Shanghai Expo.

BBC News - Shanghai bids farewell to massive World Expo fair

It explains: “Highlights of the events included Denmark’s famous Little Mermaid sculpture, impressionist paintings from the Louvre at France’s pavilion, entertainment by Canada’s Cirque du Soleil and many others.”

The BBC news article forgot to mention Ireland’s contribution. Allow me to amend it:

“Highlights of the events included Denmark’s famous Little Mermaid sculpture, impressionist paintings from the Louvre at France’s pavilion, entertainment by Canada’s Cirque du Soleil, and Ireland’s “Peig’s Churn Room” minus Peig.”

Boy oh boy, those audacious Danes. The Little Mermaid is like the symbol of Denmark. It appears those audacious Danes don’t have any qualms about doing business with Communist China. For 6 months, they shipped over the very symbol of their country, the real thing, their Little Mermaid, to Communist China to take care of. What the hell are the Danes thinkin’? Why are they behavin’ like bleedin’ Communists? When is the Tea Party revolution going to come to Denmark? Now thanks to those bloody Danes, China will have a Kim Jung Ill the second take power within a year. He’ll declare his desire and intent to conquer the rest of the world. Before you know it, there’ll be a slitty eyed man running the Governate of the People’s Republic of the United States of America.

I visited several of the pavilions. I visited the China pavilion, the Ireland pavilion, the Iceland pavilion, the Denmark pavilion, the Australia pavilion, the Africa building (which combined many African pavilions inside) and the New Zealand pavilion.

The Iceland pavilion was a lot smaller than the Irish pavilion in terms of the size of their building and the area it occupied. It was however very beautiful to look at from the outside. And the queue to see what was inside was long. I had to wait an hour, not the 5 minutes or so I had to wait to get into the Ireland pavilion. Inside, there was this show where all four walls as well as the ceiling were utilized to show us Iceland. The Iceland pavilion had a fixed anchored theme, unlike the Ireland pavilion. The theme was the landscape of Iceland and its people. You almost felt you were in the country, experiencing the country first hand. 150 people or so at a time were brought into the big room to see the 10 minute or so long show. It was magnificent. The waterfalls, the fjords, the volcanos, the glaciers, the hot springs. A fine presentation. Almost like virtual reality. It was well worth the wait.

The Denmark pavilion also had a theme. Their theme was building sustainable cities. They shipped over their own Little Mermaid as already mentioned. You could rent bicycles and ride up the winding pathway to the top of the pavilion. I didn’t see any VIP areas. You could go to the top of the pavilion to get a view of the surrounding area. For the Ireland pavilion, this privilege was only reserved for VIPs, whoever the ************************ they are. Inside, there was a food outlet selling authentic Danish and Scandinavian food and drink, Northern European water, Danish beer et cetera. Other shops sold various Danish memorabilia. I saw no shop of any kind in or around the Ireland pavilion. In the Denmark pavilion, a booklet was distributed free of charge which details the connections between Denmark and China, keeping to the theme of sustainable cities and how Danish companies are helping create sustainable cities in both China and Denmark. For example, a Danish company, Vestas, is building partnerships with Chinese companies in wind power generation. The booklet gave some basic facts in both English and Chinese about Denmark. For example, in Denmark, the booklet explains, Danes get 5 to 6 weeks paid vacation. How many weeks of paid vacation do the Irish get, I wonder?

One problem with the Denmark pavilion however was that the bike I cycled to the top of their pavilion locked up at one stage. That said, the Shanghai EXPO had been going on for nearly 6 months at this stage so I think I’ll forgive the Danish organizers for a dodgy bike. Also, I didn’t see any Danish personnel when I was there. Same with the Iceland pavilion. I queued for about an hour to get into the Denmark pavilion. The Iceland pavilion in particular really delivered great bang for the buck. The Icelanders had a theme, they kept it simple, they kept costs down. Their site was less than half the size of the Ireland pavilion. Yet, huge crowds came and wanted to see the show.

The Australia pavilion was truly magnificent. Genuine Aussies manned the stands surrounding their large pavilion. They were selling all sorts of Aussie goodies, biscuits, all sorts of beverages and so on. I queued again for about an hour to get in. On the ground floor, if you didn’t want to queue, there was what I presume was an Australian band playing music. There was a huge crowd having a great party. The Chinese security guards inside the pavilion wore Australian wide-brimmed cowboy hats. There was a fast food place inside selling various Australian delicacies. To see the special performance upstairs, you had to queue. I queued and it was well worth it. Again, the Australia pavilion had a theme. The theme was their multicultural society. The Australian attendants spoke Mandarin. The show was a 10 minute presentation which was captivating. Obviously, the Australians poured money into their pavilion. It would appear that they too have no qualms about doing business with China.

The New Zealand pavilion was more modest than the Australia pavilion but just as inventive. In contrast to the Ireland pavilion, extensive use was made of multimedia. Its theme was their people. You could walk through the winding ascending passageway all the way to the top of the pavilion, no ************************************g VIP room in site. They had this beautiful garden at the top for everyone to enjoy. It really delivered great bang for the buck.

I wanted to go back to the Expo site the next day, the second last day of the Shanghai Expo. I wanted to take another look at the Ireland pavilion just in case my eyes were deceiving me the first time around. I also wanted to look at some of the other pavilions such as the other Scandinavian pavilions, the Japanese pavilion and a few others. Unfortunately, the tickets had all been sold out at all the gates. Never mind. I had seen enough.

When Mary Harney declared in the year 2000 that Ireland would steer a half way course between Boston and Berlin, what she meant was that we would choose Boston 100% on the one hand but, on the other, we would accept the Brussels handouts while grumbling under our breath that we should have gotten more of the money that went instead to those upstarts from Central Europe.

DETE - Public Relations - Remarks by Tnaiste, Mary Harney at a Meeting of the American Bar Association in the Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin on Friday 21st July 2000

A culture of begrudgery pervades the land. Up until 1990, the Catholic church in Ireland, through its arsenal of mind control techniques, largely controlled the social and sexual conduct of the Catholic people of Irelannd. Their sanctions were backed up by State action or inaction in the Republic of Ireland (mostly up until 1970, those there have been some examples afterwards). These sanctions were in particular directed against the financially worse off two-thirds of the population in order to keep them under control and pliable. After 1990, the credibility and authority of the Catholic church collapsed but that wasn’t the end of our problems.

The God of Retribution has now been replaced by the God of Greed. As few as a hundred men control the Government of the Republic of Ireland. I will hereunder refer to them as The Hundred. We cannot even be sure who they all are. One thing I am sure of, though; they are all men. By means of trickle down, their philosophy of greed now pervades the entire country. Their philosophy is one of “Like ************************, I will” and “************************ you, you’re on your own”. The opportunity we had, post 1990, to build a society built upon people doing right by one another in order to build sustainable communities from the bottom up, has so far not been taken.

I sincerely doubt that there is even one T.D. among their number. The Taoiseach only makes ?228,466 euros a year plus expenses.

Taoiseach - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That’s peanuts to the property tycoons and bankers and others that make up The Hundred. Even if Brian Cowen went knocking at the door of The Hundred (and, yes, he’d have to knock), he may be refused entry.

The 166 TDs have failed to provide an alternative vision or philosophy to the begrudgery of The Hundred. Indeed, each member of The Hundred has, on average, over a T.D. and a half to represent him. All 3 of our major political parties, Labour, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, in the Republic of Ireland are directed by The Hundred. They provide the stifling template within which the rest of policy is filled in. The Hundred, in effect, then control public policy. Our democracy in the Republic of Ireland is a sham.

And, yet, I don’t read of any protests in the Republic of Ireland. We have more reason than people in many other developed countries to protest. In France, I read recently of huge protests. In little Iceland, I read of huge protests. Where are the protests in Ireland?

Over the past few decades, the cry from our T.D.s has been one of forever cutting taxes, for rich and poor alike. The mantra has become so regular, it’s like a drum beat. They argue that the best way to provide relief to the financially poor is not to tax them. Let them keep what little money they have. They argue that governments can’t help them. This is not true. Governments can help them. It’s just that historically Irish governments can’t. That was a choice that they took. The post 1980s rise of Reagonomics in the USA and Thatcherite economics in the UK provided convenient cover for them.

We now have one of the lowest tax takes in the E.U. according to Eurostat.

Ireland's total tax-take is among the lowest in the EU | Working to build a just society

Ireland's total tax-take is among the lowest in the EU | Working to build a just society

In the E.U., the total tax-take averaged 39.3% of GDP in 2008. For Ireland the comparable figure is 29.3%. In Labour taxes, Corporate taxes and Capital taxes, Ireland is at the lower end of the spectrum.

But, there’s one kind of tax were we’re near the top in the E.U. Consumption tax.

Tax in Ireland and Europe « European Anti Poverty Network Ireland

Tax in Ireland and Europe « European Anti Poverty Network Ireland

We have the 7th highest in the E.U.. Paying for all those essential day-to-day items, and making a living from day-to-day, won’t make much of a dent in the income of the wealthy so why should they care about that kind of tax?

Back in the 1920s, even the truncated Irish Free State had a per capita income roughly the same or a little higher than the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden (in the case of newly independent Finland considerably higher). By the mid 1980s, their per capita income was over 2 and a half times that of the Republic of Ireland. What happened?

The Scandinavian countries adopted the rather novel approach of expanding the wealth of their country to include the financially poorer two thirds of their populations. At the same time, in the Irish Free State, and, later, in the Republic of Ireland, the new political elite decided to keep as much of the wealth as possible to themselves and to use the institution of the Catholic church in Ireland to keep the rest of the population under control and in a state of resentment and fear. Since 1990, the Catholic church rottweiler has been sedated but the wealth of the country is still concentrated amongst the few. Indeed, in the Republic of Ireland, we adore the rich. We treat property tycoons like pop stars. They are bestowed with honour rather like their close cousins, the Hong Kong property developers (who control the government there because the government gets a lot of their revenue from them) and the Dubai billionaire sheikhs.

Kevin O’Higgins, Minister of Justice from 1922 to 1927 for the Cumann nGaedhael government, once bragged that the revolutionaries of 1916 were “the most conservative-minded revolutionaries that ever put through a successful revolution”. He was wrong. They weren’t conservative minded at all. They were imcompetent, just like modern day Dáil politicians. And, if the Irish people don’t start protesting, things will continue much as before.
Irish people are protesting,i am one of them,i am neither a member nor an affiliate of any political group or party,just disgusted to see my Country having the Heart and Soul torn out of it by a small bunch of Greed Ridden Parasites,disgusted that the Guardians of the Law are outside Dail Eireann protecting their Political Lackies while they should be inside arresting them,disgusted also that their is so much Moral Cowardice amongst the general population,disgusted that many of those whos duty it was to protect the weak and vulnerable sold out like Judas for their 30pcs of silver,had their silence bought and now have Guilty of Treason written all over them,but i will keep protesting,i will be outside Dail Eireann again today to voice my disgust,its all i have left,i can only hope that before its too late a great surge of people finally wake up and realise that they are the fallguys for the Fraud to End all Frauds.
 

Telemachus

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Paul, I was there last may. The Irish one although bad wasn’t the worst in the park by a long stretch. And it certainly didn’t look like it would fit down in Killybegs like you claim. I'm sure you took some pics to back up this claim.

There was an Irish pub beside it in May also. The rents I think were costly which is why it may have closed.

The whole expo is a loads of rubbish, They spent about 20 Bn euro on a silly bunch of exhibits which were mostly all tat-fests, all to show "the world has come to the middle kingdom". Its sort of like a millennium dome, a white elephant project.

I stopped reading your rant when i got to:

After viewing the Ireland pavilion at the Shanghai EXPO, I am reminded of how wise the British of Northern Ireland were to remain a part of the United Kingdom.
Clearly you are a gobshyte.
 

Pauli

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I think you misunderstand Mary Harney. She clearly stated that "we" are spiritually a lot closer to Boston than Berlin. She wasn't talking about religion. She meant that "we" are ideologically closer to the US than to Europe. She was certainly speaking for herself when she said this because all her actions in government indicate a strong US bias and a virulent contempt for Europe. She certainly wasn't speaking for me because I cannot think of a single thing she has ever said with which I agree.

She never said anything about steering a middle path between Boston and Berlin. It's not her style.
 

Goodbody

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I suppose all of our EXPO budget was reserved for first class travel to the exhibition by the likes of McAleese, O'Keefe, & Co, leaving no money to spend on the actual exhibit.
 

Paul Carr

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Telemachus said:
Paul, I was there last may. The Irish one although bad wasn't the worst in the park by a long stretch. And it certainly didn't look like it would fit down in Killybegs like you claim. I'm sure you took some pics to back up this claim.

There was an Irish pub beside it in May also. The rents I think were costly which is why it may have closed.
There was no Irish pub when I was there. I took no photos. I wasn't planning on writing a hit-job on it afterwards. I had no idea what it would be like before I went. I was actually hopeful it would be good, even great. I was sorely disappointed.

The whole expo is a loads of rubbish, They spent about 20 Bn euro on a silly bunch of exhibits which were mostly all tat-fests, all to show "the world has come to the middle kingdom". Its sort of like a millennium dome, a white elephant project.

I stopped reading your rant when i got to:

Clearly you are a gobshyte.
The Unionists and Protestants of Northern Ireland call themselves British. That should be respected.
 

Paul Carr

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Pauli said:
I think you misunderstand Mary Harney. She clearly stated that "we" are spiritually a lot closer to Boston than Berlin. She wasn't talking about religion. She meant that "we" are ideologically closer to the US than to Europe. She was certainly speaking for herself when she said this because all her actions in government indicate a strong US bias and a virulent contempt for Europe. She certainly wasn't speaking for me because I cannot think of a single thing she has ever said with which I agree.

She never said anything about steering a middle path between Boston and Berlin. It's not her style.
Yes, I know she wasn't talking about religion.

Yes, you are right. She didn't say anything about steering a middle way between Boston and Berlin. She said we were spiritually probably a lot closer to Boston than Berlin. Now, that worked out right grand now, has it.
 

NotoriousFin

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You're not honestly complaining about our lack of spending money on something superficial when we've a 32% deficit? Really? Are you high?
 

Paul Carr

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Goodbody said:
I suppose all of our EXPO budget was reserved for first class travel to the exhibition by the likes of McAleese, O'Keefe, & Co, leaving no money to spend on the actual exhibit.
In the video on the Ireland pavilion website, they make mention of a VIP area on the terrace. Obscene!! All areas of a pavilion should be enjoyed by all the people regardless of how much money they have in their pocket . The Ireland pavilion shouldn't be like the bleedin' Fianna Fail tent at the Galway races where the 'notables' of society are received - the sort of people George W Bush in his Texan twang calls 'The Wealth Generators'.
 

former wesleyan

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You're not honestly complaining about our lack of spending money on something superficial when we've a 32% deficit? Really? Are you high?
I think he's talking about business. The business of doing business.
 

Paul Carr

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NotoriousFin said:
You're not honestly complaining about our lack of spending money on something superficial when we've a 32% deficit? Really? Are you high?
The Iceland pavilion was probably cheaper than the Ireland pavilion at the end of the day. The area size of their pavilion was probably less than half the size of the Ireland pavilion.

Yet, their pavilion was magnificent. I had to queue for an hour to get in. When I queued for the Ireland pavilion, I was in in less than 10 minutes.

The Iceland pavilion was magnificent because it had a fixed theme that they didn't deviate from. They focused on the Icelandic environment and landscape. People were brought into a huge room inside, about 100 at a time, to view a show that lasted up to 10 minutes. All 4 walls were utilized, as well as the ceiling on occasion. Everything was in sync. There was accompanying music to put us into the appropriate mood. We were shown breathtaking images of the Icelandic landscape and environment; waterfalls, geysers, fjords, hot springs and what have you. You actually felt you were right there in Iceland.

It was fantastic.
 

ppcoyle

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We need to be careful before jumping to judgement on this issue. I am very critical of the manner in which the State in all its guises squanders tax payers' money. For example, the recent DAA ad for Teminal 2 is a prime example of financial madness:

YouTube - DAA Terminal 2 Advertisement

A very expensive ad which will not bring one more passanger through Dublin Airport. Complete financial irresponsibity by a State owned company - never mind what Michael O'Leary has to say about the economics of Terminal 2 as built.

Before jumping to judgement on the views of the OP go to the website

Pavilion Tour | The Ireland Pavilion - Shanghai Expo 2010

and take the virtual tour. It is not spectacular but seems OK to my eyes.

What was the purpose of having an exhibition stand at the EXPO? It it was simply a flag waving exercise then I would have thought that the objective was achieved. The country has a severve financial problem at the moment and the virtual tour shows an exhibition stand that isn't too bad. We must get real and take more of a Michael O'Leary cost/benefit approach to matters such as this one. The DAA ad is insane!
 

Springclean

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I was fortunate to visit the Expo site during the summer, and sorry to say it, but I'm at odds with your view of the site.

Before jumping in approval at the cynical review of the Irish Expo - look at the video

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTc2NjA0NzIw.html


it looked like a factory in an industrial estate. I grew up in the fishing town of Killybegs in County Donegal. Just throw a few pallets and crates in front of this thing and it would look like a fish processing factory in Killybegs.
Far from it really.






Ireland Expo 2010



Fish Factory Killybegs


It was as predictable as it was embarrassing. You are greeted by this huge photo of some earthen fortress from 5,000 years ago and there’s this eerily creepy violin music playing in the background. I think you know what I’m talking about. Then, there are more photos of eerily depressing and achingly depressing/beautiful nude landscape which should have been planted with trees donkey’s decades ago,
The first focus of the site was to explain Ireland to the Chinese visitor, not to entertain the Irish visitor. Over 95% of the people visiting Expo were Chinese. They want to hear the music, and see the heritage - so a huge internal focus on castles and music - some of my photos:

As for giving out about irish scenery - the tourists love it, and hardly a fault of the expo site, except of course if you are just having a whine about all things Irish.



Look - a chinese person enjoying her self




Oh - Look -
an Irish representatives at the Ireland pavilion.
Ever think that the Irish would have wanted €60k ++ a year to work in china, and cant speak the language, whilst the chinese speak mandarin, and are instantly available.



been done umpteen times before when presenting the country abroad or to foreigners in Ireland. It’s worn. Can’t we have something different?
Thats what the tourists come to Ireland for. cringing for the Irish, but gold dust for tourists.



The video makes it clear that this rooftop terrace was only for the VIPs to enjoy, not De Little Peop
You live in China it seems, and you dont understand the whole concept of VIP? VIP in china is a crucial, and if you want to attract investment (the second focus of the day), you need VIP, so this is a good move.

I had to queue for only 5 minutes to get in. I went there about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Later, after darkness fell, I passed by again and I noticed the queue was a little longer. Maybe a 10 minute queue. This was short compared to the other pavilions I visited. I’ll write more about this later on.
When I went, there was a 90 minute queue for the Irish pavillion, which was short, in comparison to the Saudi (3hrs), but long in comparison to Iceland (20 mins) and turkey (35 mins).

The Icelanders had a theme, they kept it simple, they kept costs down.
The Icelandic expo was a video, and thats it - a boring video. You congratulate Iceland for being simple, yet you complain about Ireland. The biggest waste of a 20 minute queue.
 


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