Handbook of Research on European Business and Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on European Business and Entrepreneurship

Towards a Theory of Internationalization

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Isabell M. Welpe, Mary Han and Vanessa Ratten

This unique Handbook illustrates how entrepreneurs across Europe tackle internationalization. This timely and important book identifies patterns and builds a theory of international entrepreneurship in Europe.
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Chapter 19: Irish Perspectives of International Entrepreneurship

Cecilia B. Hegarty


Cecilia B. Hegarty Introduction In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Ireland was awakened from the doldrums and placed on the international stage as a key player (Dana, 2006). Ireland was in an enviable position compared to the rest of Europe, experiencing an unprecedented era of sustained economic progress commonly known as The Celtic Tiger (Williams, 1994). Whilst most other European countries continue to suffer from poor economic growth, Ireland continues its success into the twenty-first century with a multi-billion Euro tourism industry. Economic advancement was initially attributed to a more outward-looking approach to development within all social strata, yet Irish firms have not been without their challenges. In the political environment, the Northern Ireland struggle for independence brought a period of troubles during the 1960s that not only prevented domestic tourism in the border regions but also assisted the media in promoting devastating images to the international market. Economically, two oil crises coupled with price inflation reduced Ireland’s market share of international tourism as alternative destinations were successfully packaged. Good macroeconomic management and investment through government action plans as well as the desire for Irish products (tourism boom years) kept most entrepreneurs in business. Traditional firms in Irish tourism relied upon the comparative advantages of the natural resource base: landscape, scenery and culture. However, embracing the new and emergent technologies and strategically managing new information and intelligence was vital to sustaining entrepreneurial activity in this industry. The principal technological advances include the following: 1. 2....

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