Taoisigh advised not to endorse Jury’s ‘blarney’ cabaret

Official noted ‘How Are Things in Glocca Morra?’ listed as one of ‘most beautiful songs’

Former taoisigh were discouraged from endorsing the Jury's cabaret as a means of promoting Ireland's image overseas, with officials warning "the entertainment is very much of the 'blarney' variety".

A newly released file on “Ireland’s image abroad” records correspondence in the Department of the Taoiseach stretching back to the early 1970s on mainly cultural promotions.

Jury's cabaret persuaded Seán Lemass and Jack Lynch to provide photographs and messages of endorsement that could be used to promote the show's US tour. This was despite reservations from officials, who questioned the appropriateness of being tied to a commercial enterprise.

Tour programme

In 1979, when the cabaret looked for a further message of endorsement from Mr Lynch for its tour programme, officials expressed concern at the "artistic level of the cabaret". One official noted the tune How Are Things in Glocca Morra from Finan's Rainbow was "listed as one of 'Ireland's most beautiful songs'!"

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Mr Lynch took the advice on board and sent a toned-down message of goodwill to the cabaret, saying: “Your light-hearted entertainment will bring pleasure to our friends in North America.”

International image

Other correspondence showed successive governments received offers from public relations firms as well as ordinary citizens for various schemes to improve Ireland’s image internationally.

In 1982 a letter from a Mrs H Wicks in Buckinghamshire proposed creating a touring drama that would be set to music as a “good public relations” gesture for Ireland. She enclosed a script, laying out a plot involving céilis, the Puck Fair and a tale of emigration. “I’m sure the play would have a captivated audience in both Ireland and some parts of America, New York and Boston,” she wrote.

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