I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Fergal Lenehan

Wilkommen go hÉirinn

Some people in the 1960s worried about Germans buying up Irish land. In the previous decade, however, an Irish government had set about seriously trying to attract German industry. If the immediate fruits were modest, an organisational model was established for future success.

Reading the Traces

In the 1930s, 426 refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, most of them Jewish, found refuge in Ireland. Though some objections were raised by the authorities at accepting them, in many cases they were to become significant contributors to the Irish economy.

The Swiss Laid Bare

An impressive study by an Irish-born journalist who is a long-time resident in the confederation moves beyond lazy cliche and prejudice, driven by a desire to get the facts about the country straight, and for those facts to be fair and accurate.

Back in the GDR

Elizabeth Shaw, born in Belfast in 1920 to a bank manager father from Sligo, became a celebrated children’s author and book illustrator in postwar East Germany and a member of the state’s cultural elite. A primary school is named after her in Berlin.

Visions of Europe

Many jobs in Germany are, compared to those available in Ireland in the first years of the new millennium, very poorly paid and usually contract-based. The younger middle classes were also well informed through newspaper and television reports about happenings in Ireland and the “Celtic Tiger” phenomenon. In 2007, a TV documentary on the Franco-German Arte channel on what was sceptically referred to as the “Irish economic miracle” featured a very young Irish banker who, speaking in front of the IFSC in Dublin, told his audience that Germany, and Angela Merkel, were jealous of Ireland’s economic performance.

From The Green Island

One of the more unofficial Irish representatives in Germany, the Irish-American gunrunner John T Ryan, may have come into direct contact with Hitler in May 1923 when he was running guns for the anti-Treaty side in the Civil War. Hitler was, at this time, apparently known to have pro-Irish sympathies and to be, of course, heavily involved in ex-military, far-right circles that would have had easy access to arms.