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Assessing something as all-pervasive as cultural heritage can run the risk of resorting to cliches and stereotypes, even though these very things are also an integral part ofwhat constitutes the patrimoine ofany given society. The French are rightly acclaimed for their fashion, wines, gastronomy, literature, philosophy, regional specificities, architecture, and cafe culture, to name but a few ofthe Hexagone's most distinctive traits. Ireland, on the other hand, has its pubs, its writers, many ofwhom traditionally spent far too much time in the aforementioned pubs, its fighting spirit, its greenness, its historic struggle with its nearest neighbour, perfidious Albion, its beef and its Guinness. Patrimoine is what marks one country out from any other country; it is what makes it distinctive, different, sometimes appealing, at other times, unappealing. Therefore, when the organizers were considering the theme for the AFIS 2017 conference in Limerick, the former Conseiller Culturel at the French Embassy, Frederic Rauser, suggested it could be both interesting and worthwhile to examine how cultural heritage plays out in both countries. The view beforehand was that the French are more adept at underlining their heritage, even at commodifying it, than the Irish are, but some of the essays you will read in this collection illustrate the fact that the Irish are starting to catch up in this regard, as the country begins to attract more and more tourists to its shores and to see the potential that has for economic prosperity.
Maher, E. & O'Brien, E. (2019) Introduction : Patrimoine/Cultural Heritage in France and Ireland in Maher E. & O'Brien, E. (eds) Patrimoine/Cultural Heritage in France and Ireland, (pp 1-33) Bern, New York, Peter Lang.