Authenticity in the Ancient East – Who Cares? A qualitative stakeholder investigation of commodification and authenticity in the portrayal and consumption of heritage in ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’.

Stafford, Emmet (2018) Authenticity in the Ancient East – Who Cares? A qualitative stakeholder investigation of commodification and authenticity in the portrayal and consumption of heritage in ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

This dissertation has been submitted to the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Heritage Practice. It discusses a tripartite stakeholder survey of Irish tourism. The research, which was undertaken in 2017, sought to explore what authenticity means to international visitors, local residents and small group tour guides in the area recently branded for marketing and touring purposes as Ireland’s Ancient East. The survey data informs an argument that authenticity, rather than being the existential quest originally discussed in the 1970s, has a measurable, objective value in the delivery of modern tourism where culture and heritage are major motivators for international travellers to Ireland. In addition the research sought to establish which, if any, of the surveyed groups actually cares whether Irish cultural heritage is represented and communicated in an authentic way. Analysis of the retrieved data has strongly suggested that international visitors to Ireland do truly want to understand the areas which they visit, that local communities see incoming tourists as more than just an economic opportunity and that tour guides see tourism as a vehicle to communicate their own heritage and culture to an international audience rather than just as an industry which provides employment. The research also indicates that by 2017 increased tourist numbers were not yet having a negative impact on the culture and heritage of southeastern Ireland but that all three stakeholder groups were aware of tourist saturation points and cultural losses in other, named, parts of Ireland. The dissertation concludes with the statement that well managed tourism is felt by all three stakeholder groups to be a cultural positive for Ireland’s Ancient East but that poorly managed, marketing driven growth has a potential to harm not only the cultural heritage of the receiving environment but also the industry it seeks to promote.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Lesley Cresswell
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2021 15:28
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2021 15:28
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1739

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