‘In Fact: An Optimist’s Guide to Ireland at 100’ published today by Gill Books
As Ireland approaches its one hundredth birthday in 2022, a new book published today claims that we have much to celebrate, in fact. Author Mark Henry has identified 100 remarkable achievements of our first century spanning every aspect of Irish life – economic, social, cultural, and educational – in his book ‘In Fact: An Optimist’s Guide to Ireland at 100’.
“Ireland’s big birthday is the perfect opportunity to reflect on how far we have come as a country,” said Henry. “I reviewed every aspect of Irish life and my conclusion is that we have come very far indeed. We often fail to appreciate how much our lives have been transformed for the better.”
As the book highlights, the United Nations ranks Ireland as having the second-best quality of life in the world today (after Norway). We live 25 years longer than those alive in 1922. Half of working-age adults have completed higher education (a figure that has doubled in just 20 years). We earn five times more than our grandparents did. The lives of women and children have improved immensely. And our personal freedoms exceed those of any previous generation.
“I have spent two decades working in tourism and telling the world what a great place Ireland is. I wanted to prove it to the Irish,” said Henry who took three years to research and write ‘In Fact’. “Of course we have problems to address but, no matter how you look at it, we are the most fortunate generation ever to live on this island.”
Amongst the 100 achievements noted in the book are several to do with tourism. Henry charts the plummeting cost of travelling to and from Ireland over the decades, the record rise in tourist numbers up to 2019, the fact that everyone in Ireland now takes a foreign holiday on average, and that the Irish passport is one of the most widely accepted in the world. “A return flight from Dublin to Heathrow in 1980 would have set you back more than €1,000 in today’s money. The fact that the same flight now costs less than €100 has been instrumental in opening us up to the world and opening the world up to us. In 2019, there were more foreign holidays taken by Irish people then there are Irish people!”
We should be optimistic about Ireland’s future according to Henry. “When you see the facts and figures you can only but be positive about what we have achieved as a country and optimistic about our future. If we work together to tackle the challenges facing Ireland today, then I believe we can give the next generation the chance of leading the finest life liveable on planet Earth,” he concludes.
‘In Fact: An Optimist’s Guide to Ireland’ by Mark Henry is published on October 22 by Gill Books. The list of all 100 achievements identified in the book is attached here.