The Returned Yank, Property Disputes and the Rise and Fall of the Irish Economy
This chapter considers the extent to which the Returned Yank surfaces in narratives treating of land acquisition, distribution, ownership and development in Ireland in the second half of the twentieth century. It identifies two overlapping motifs in Returned Yank narratives that have been stated, restated and reworked in various historically-contingent ways from at least the 1930s, through the Lemassian turn, through the Celtic Tiger years: first, the extent to which the Returned Yank who returns to Ireland to buy property symbolises widespread ambivalence concerning the role of the post-independence Land Commission in Irish life; second, the degree to which narratives of land-purchasing (or ‘land-grabbing’) Returned Yanks become abstracted in the 1960s and beyond to the extent that s/he (usually he) comes to symbolise U.S. investment in Ireland more generally.
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