The Great Irish Reset is our name for the cultural zeitgeist in Ireland. It is a term that captures and explains what is going on at every level in this country. Remember how the term ‘Celtic Tiger’ explained why a Panini was €8, why we all worked so hard and how we came have more Mercedes per capita than the Germans? Well, the Great Irish Reset explains why things are the way they are today. Things are in flux. Things are imperfect, but things are changing.
The Great Irish Reset is the period of cultural change we are currently living through, and will continue to live through for the next 5 and even 10 years. The decisions we make now, as a society will have lasting implications.
There is undoubtedly a recalibration happening not just in our economy, but also in our institutions and systems of governance, in our legislation, and in our courts. There is a clearing out of the injustices and inadequacies of the past. We are a nation reforming.
More fundamentally however, every person and household in this country is going through a resetting,of sorts; a resetting of values, of norms, and of behaviours. Some of these resetting trends are not by choice, many homes and lives are affected by unemployment, and emigration for example. However, there is something powerful and palpable happening in this country right now. The balance of power has shifted from the institutions of our country, into the hands of the people. And they want it.
It is an exciting time to be in Ireland.
The money, second homes, cars, jobs, holidays and 600 friends on Facebook we gathered during the Celtic Tiger, left us feeling a little empty. Rock bottom has a funny way of making things seem much clearer. People are getting back to basics, back to what is important to them. Born of necessity, we can see three new traits, or resurgent traits for older groups that are reflective of a more permanent change in our society. The three new traits are; resilience, resourcefulness and responsibility.
These were not traits of the Celtic Tiger years.
There is an emerging belief, or at the very least an acceptance that we are the ones that will have to dig our way out. This belief captures an activism that is both potent and visible across the nation. A belief that we cannot put our faith in others to fix things, that we must fix Ireland. This movement is reflective of our resilience as a nation. We have overcome before. We thrive as the underdog. We love recognition for overcoming the odds. Ireland bailed Ireland out, as good ole Bono put it.
This movement is also reflective of a new-found resourcefulness in the myriad new ideas and open-ness to alternative methods that are emerging. We were resource rich, not at all the same as resourceful. To be resourceful is to be capable of devising new ways and means. We see people trying things, fixing things, learning things, doing things that they never thought they might. And along the way, finding a contentment and more meaningful way of living, by being resourceful. Making the most of what they have. Doing more with less.
There is a third trait, which is linked to these two, responsibility. We are more responsible as a people. We made mistakes, individually and collectively. We would do things differently if we had our time over. We are reflective about where we went wrong rather than in denial. This responsibility is having a profound impact on our citizenship and participation within the nation. This sense of personal responsibility, means we are more considered in the choices we make. We are solely responsible for the consequences. It affects how we spend and consume, on how we manage our money, households and lifestyle.
These traits are not just about living with hardship, they are about our character. They are about how we treat others, and how we live, despite hardship
We have identified seven trends that are part of the Great Irish Reset. These trends are not transient ‘post recessionary’ patterns. They are reflective of a more permanent shift in our nations cultural development. We see that people are re-discovering their values and finding the right balance in their lives. People are making different choices, choices that reflect their values. We can see this recalibration happening in how people are behaving. We see new attitudes emerging and a new emphasis on priorities. These include new approaches to managing money and our households, a retrenchment to close family and friends, new levels of activism and action and a preventative focus on our personal health.
The seven trends are: Authentic Living, Contracting Circle, Community Rising, Control Freak, Citizen I, Self Care, and Anti Social Media.
It is not just the presence of multiple research methods, but rather the interplay between research methods employed that makes this research initiative so innovative. The primary and secondary research methods and varying analytical approaches influence each other throughout.
PHASE 1: We began with secondary research, conducting a large-scale analysis of published research, both qualitative and quantitative. These included macro-economic reports, socio-demographic data, industry specific reports, as well as lifestyle reports and attitudinal studies. We conducted a thematic review to identify emerging themes from this phase.
PHASE 2: We augmented phase one with a review of public discourse around social issues, as well as stories that were gaining traction in the media. As part of this, we conducted an online social listening exercise. This phase contributed to the development of a few theories on what was the defining character of the cultural change in Ireland.
PHASE 3: Phase three introduced primary research into the methodology. We regularly facilitate focus groups, vox pops and depth interviews to explore emerging themes.
The result of this innovative process is a story about cultural change in Ireland. It describes the character of the mind and mood of Ireland, and explores the seven consumer trends.
This research is ongoing. We are working with different partners to continue this story of cultural change and build upon it.