HMV is a UK based music and film retailer. The first HMV-branded store was opened by the Gramophone Company on Oxford Street in 1921, the HMV name was used for television and radio sets manufactured from the 1930s onwards; the retail side of the business began to expand in the 1960s, in 1998 was divested from EMI, the successor to the Gramophone Company, to form what would become HMV Group. HMV stands for His Master's Voice, the title of a painting by Francis Barraud of the dog Nipper listening to a cylinder phonograph, bought by the Gramophone Company in 1899. For advertising purposes this was changed to a wind-up gramophone, used as a silhouette. HMV owned the Waterstone's bookshop chain from 1998 until 2011, has owned the music retailer Fopp since August 2007, it purchased a number of former Zavvi stores in February 2009, branched into live music venue management that year by purchasing MAMA Group. It sold the group in December 2012. On 15 January 2013, HMV Group plc entered administration.
Deloitte were appointed to deal with the administration of the company. On 16 January 2013, HMV Ireland declared receivership, all Irish stores were closed. A week on 22 January 2013, it was reported that Hilco UK would buy the debt of HMV, a step towards taking control of the company; the sale of HMV's Hong Kong and Singapore business to private equity firm Aid Partners was completed on 28 February 2013. On 5 April 2013, HMV was bought out of administration by Hilco UK for an estimated £50 million to form the current company. HMV Group plc, listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE Fledgling Index, was liquidated in July 2014. HMV Canada is a former subsidiary, sold to Hilco by the HMV Group in 2011. HMV Canada went into receivership in 2017 after being sued by Huk 10 Ltd. a shell company owned by Hilco. Sunrise Records announced that it had negotiated to purchase the leases for 70 of HMV's locations from landlords to convert them to Sunrise stores as well as plans to retain as many former HMV staff as possible.
After announcing its intent to enter administration again in December 2018, the company was bought from Hilco by Sunrise Records on 5 February 2019. The antecedents of HMV began in the 1890s at the dawn of the disc gramophone. By 1902 it had become the beginnings of the Gramophone Company. In February 1907 they commenced the building of a new dedicated record factory at Middlesex. Disc records were sold in independent retailers at this time. In 1921 the Gramophone Company opened the first dedicated HMV shop in Oxford Street, London, in a former men's clothing shop. In March 1931 the Gramophone Company merged with Columbia Graphophone Company to form Electric and Musical Industries Ltd. From the 1930s onwards, HMV manufactured radio and television sets and radiograms under the HMV and Marconiphone brand names in their factory in Hayes, Middlesex. In 1966 HMV began expanding its retail operations in London. Throughout the 1970s, the company continued to expand, doubling in size, in six years became the country's leading specialist music retailers.
It faced new competition, from Virgin Megastores, established in 1976, Our Price, established in 1972. Subsequently, HMV overtook Our Price in popularity and threatened their existence, having established a chain of newer, larger stores; the company opened its flagship store at a new location on Oxford Street in 1986, announcing it was the largest record store in the world at the time, the official opening was attended by Bob Geldof and Michael Hutchence. Growth continued for a third decade into the 1990s, with the company reaching over 320 stores including in 1990 their first store in the U. S. located at 86th and Lexington in New York City, the largest music retailer in North America. HMV celebrated its 75-year anniversary in 1996. In February 1998, EMI entered into a joint venture with Advent International to form HMV Media Group led by Alan Giles, which acquired HMV's stores and Dillons, leaving EMI with a holding of around 45%; the new joint venture bought the Waterstone's chain of bookshops to merge with Dillons.
By 2002, EMI's holding in HMV Media was 43%, with Advent International owning 40% and management the remainder. The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in the year as HMV Group plc, leaving EMI with only a token holding; the group became susceptible to a takeover following a poor period of trading up to Christmas 2005. Private equity firm Permira made a £762 million conditional bid for the group on 7 February 2006, rejected by HMV as an insufficient valuation of the company. Permira made a second offer which increased the value, although HMV declined it on 13 March 2006, subsequently issuing a statement that the offer undervalued the medium and long term prospects for the company, resulting in Permira withdrawing from bidding. In 2006 the HMV Group merged it into Waterstone's; the merger tied into HMV's strategy for growth, as many of the Ottakar's branches were in smaller towns and outposts. The Competition Commission provisionally cleared HMV Group, through Waterstone's, for takeover of the Ottakar's group on 30 March 2006, stating that the takeover would "not result in a substantial lessening of competition".
Waterstone's announced that it had negotiated a takeover of Ottakar's on 31 May 2006. All 130 Ottakar's stores were rebranded as Waterstone's prior to Christmas 2006. In March 2007, new Group CEO Simon Fox announced a 10% reduction over three years in the enlarged Waterstone's total store space, compr
Whelan's (music venue)
Whelan's is a pub and music venue in Dublin, Ireland. Numerous international artists have played at the venue, including Jeff Buckley, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Kate Nash, Townes Van Zandt, Damien Rice and Allen Toussaint; the pub was the location for scenes of the movie P. S. I Love You in; the pub is quoted in the film as follows: "Denise, take Holly to my favourite pub. There's beautiful music to be heard, beautiful people to be around.” The Backpacker's Guide 2012 describes it "In general the evening begins with a pint in this lovely rustic pub, always packed, before heading to the concert hall. The program includes the best traditional bands of the island and world music, in front of an enthusiastic and warm audience. An institution of the Dublin scene. " The following acts have performed at Whelan's: Official site Reviews of gigs at Whelans and present at Cluas.com
Snow Patrol are a rock band from Northern Ireland, formed in Dundee, Scotland in 1994, consisting of Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connolly, Paul Wilson, Jonny Quinn, Johnny McDaid. An indie rock band, the band rose to prominence in the early-mid 2000s as part of the post-Britpop movement; the band were founded at the University of Dundee in 1994 by Lightbody, Michael Morrison, Mark McClelland as Shrug. After using the name Polarbear, releasing the EP Starfighter Pilot and losing Morrison as a member, the band became Snow Patrol in 1997 and added Quinn to its line-up, their first two studio albums, Songs for Polarbears and When It's All Over We Still Have to Clear Up, were commercially unsuccessful and were released by the independent record label Jeepster Records. The band signed to the major record label Polydor Records in 2002. Connolly joined Snow Patrol in 2002, after their major-label debut album, Final Straw, the following year, the band rose to national fame; the album was certified 5× platinum in the UK and sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
Their next studio album, Eyes Open, its hit single, "Chasing Cars", propelled the band to greater international fame. The album topped the UK Albums Chart and was the best-selling British album of the year, selling over 6 million copies worldwide. In 2008, the band released A Hundred Million Suns; the band released their seventh album, Wildness, on 25 May 2018. During the course of their career, Snow Patrol have won seven Meteor Ireland Music Awards and have been nominated for six Brit Awards. Since the release of Final Straw, the band have sold over 16 million records worldwide. Snow Patrol were formed in early 1994 by University of Dundee students Gary Lightbody, Michael Morrison and Mark McClelland under the name Shrug; the band started by surrounding pubs such as Lucifer's Mill. Their first EP was entitled "The Yogurt vs. Yoghurt Debate." In 1996, they changed their name to Polar Bear to avoid issues with any American bands that were named Shrug. Shortly afterwards, drummer Michael Morrison left the band after suffering a breakdown and returned to Northern Ireland.
In mid-1997, Polar Bear released Starfighter Pilot, on the Electric Honey label. The band again renamed, this time to Snow Patrol in 1997, because of a naming conflict with another band of the same name fronted by Jane's Addiction's ex-bassist Eric Avery. At this point, Jonny Quinn, from Northern Ireland, joined as permanent drummer. Snow Patrol joined independent label Jeepster in home of Belle & Sebastian. Jeepster had the same idea for Snow Patrol as the approach they had with Belle & Sebastian, who had become popular by word-of-mouth, without heavy promotion; the band were happy to be associated with an indie label, because it provided them greater independence than a major label. At that time, they were quoted as saying they expected Jeepster wouldn't expect them to have a strict work ethic or focus too much on promotional efforts. Snow Patrol's debut album was Songs for Polarbears, released in 1998 after the band had started living in Glasgow. Lightbody was working at the Nice n Sleazy's Bar in Sauchiehall Street.
The album did not make any impact commercially. The same year, the band came close to getting featured in a worldwide advertisement for Philips. Gomez was signed. In 1999, the band won the "Phil Lynott Award for Best New Band" by Irish music magazine Hot Press. In 2001, still living in Glasgow, the band followed up with When It's All Over We Still Have to Clear Up. Like its predecessor, the album did not sell; the band continued to be in control. They slept on fans' floors after concerts and pretended to be members of Belle & Sebastian to get into nightclubs, they owed rent to their landlords and used to receive regular visits and letters from them when on tour. After the failure of the second album, the band began to realise that the label's lax attitude towards management and record promotion, qualities that had attracted the band to Jeepster, was holding them back; the band's manager at the time was Danny McIntosh. Lightbody has described him as "the angriest man in pop: great, great man", he has said that he loved the band "with every atom in his body", was never angry towards them.
He has credited him with keeping the band together in those years. McIntosh had a gold coloured splitter bus. Jeepster dropped Snow Patrol in 2001, a decision, criticised by Hot Press magazine as brainless. By July 2001, many major labels had started showing interest in Snow Patrol, but the band were cash-strapped and had no record deal. Lightbody sold a major part of his record collection to raise money to keep the band going. Lightbody was confident of getting signed to another label quickly. However, the music scene in the United Kingdom had turned its attention to American bands and British bands were not getting signed; the band spent this time writing songs. Lightbody, bored at this point, assembled The Reindeer Section, a Scottish supergroup, found a record label to release the group's recordings. Quinn said that though the time was hard for everyone involved except for Nathan, the question of splitting up never arose, it was during this time the band wrote "Run" in a roo
Supergrass were an English rock band formed in Oxford in 1993. The band consisted of Mick Quinn and Danny Goffey. A 3-piece, Gaz's brother Rob Coombes joined the band in 2002; the band signed to Parlophone records in 1994 and produced I Should Coco, the biggest selling debut album for the label since the Beatles' Please Please Me. Their first album's fourth single "Alright" was a moderate international hit that established the band's reputation. Since the band have released five albums: In It for the Money, Life on Other Planets, Road to Rouen and Diamond Hoo Ha, as well as a decade-ending compilation called Supergrass is 10. In August 2009 the band signed to Cooking Vinyl and began work on their seventh studio album Release the Drones; the album remained unreleased and unfinished as, on 12 April 2010, the band announced that they were splitting up due to musical and creative differences. The group disbanded after four farewell gigs, the final one at La Cigale, Paris on 11 June 2010. At the age of 16 and 18 Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey were members of shoegaze band the Jennifers along with Nick Goffey and Andy Davies.
The group formed at Wheatley Park School and featured Coombes on vocals, Nic Goffey on guitar, Danny Goffey on drums and Davies on bass. Danny and Nic Goffey are the sons of former BBC Top Gear presenter and motoring journalist Chris Goffey; the Jennifers began building a reputation in the Oxford indie music scene, influenced by Ride, the Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets, the Who and the Kinks, as well as including traits of the shoegazing era. The band played gigs at various venues around Oxfordshire public houses and clubs. Live performances included the Jericho Tavern in Oxford where they sold a demo tape recorded and produced by Nick Langston at Stargoat Studios near Banbury; the demo featured three songs, "Flying", which featured a 20-second countdown at the beginning, the recording of a rocket launch and a fast guitar-based song which appeared influenced by the Stone Roses, the second song, "Inside of Me" was similar in style but changed to a slower funk jam at the end, the third song titled on the tape "Slow Song" was a guitar-based ballad.
The band enjoyed enough success to release one single in 1992, "Just Got Back Today" on Nude Records, now a sought after rarity. Second single, "Tightrope" was never released due to disagreements with Nude Records; the band split up soon after this in the fall of 1992. Andy Davies went off to university and Nic Goffey went on to form a directing partnership with friend Dom Hawley directing many videos for Supergrass; when Coombes began working at the local Harvester he befriended co-worker Mick Quinn. The two realised they had common music interests and Coombes invited Quinn to come and jam with himself and Goffey. In February 1993 they formed Theodore Supergrass, "for about two months" Quinn explains, "then we realized that Theodore was a bit rubbish so we took that off."Goffey claims that the name was his idea and says. We were Theodore Supergrass and the idea was the band would be a little black character, we wouldn't have to do interviews. We'd get the questions in advance, script the answers and animate Theodore Supergrass answering them.
But it cost too much money." Gaz's brother, Rob Coombes, played flute for the band's début gig at the Co-Op Hall, Oxford in 1993. In January 1995 he first performed as keyboardist with the band for a live Radio 1 John Peel session, his role in the band progressed over the years, post-I Should Coco material is credited to "Supergrass and Rob Coombes", however, he wasn't introduced as a band member until a decade later. In mid-1994, Supergrass issued their debut single "Caught by the Fuzz" on the small independent local label Backbeat Records; the song recounts lead singer and guitarist Gaz Coombes's experience of being arrested by the police for possession of cannabis. The limited release of vinyl copies sold out thanks in part to support from John Peel on his Radio One show; the Parlophone label re-released the single in the autumn of the same year. It achieved the rare feat of both NME and Melody Maker "Single Of The Week" status in the same week."Mansize Rooster", released in February 1995, peaked at number 20 in the UK Singles Chart and "Lenny" was the band's first top 10 single.
"Lenny" was followed soon afterwards by the band's debut album, I Should Coco, which entered the UK Albums Chart at number one. It achieved half a million sales over a million worldwide. NME reviewer Steve Sutherland gave the album a nine out of ten rating, writing, "These freaks shall inherit the earth." The album's fourth single, the double A-side release "Alright"/"Time", stayed in the UK Top Three for a month, peaking at number two. Supergrass followed I Should Coco with 18 months of heavy touring, appearing at festivals such as Scotland's T In The Park and the Glastonbury Festival. After Performing at Rio's Hollywood Rock Festival in April 1996, Supergrass met the train robber Ronnie Biggs, said to him, "I was frightened for my life when I heard there was a supergrass in the area." A photograph of Ronnie Biggs and Gaz together was subsequently included in the music video for their 1996 single "Going Out". Recorded at Great Linford Manor the single peaked at number five in the UK charts, but was the last song produced by Sam Williams.
Supergrass returned to Sawmills Studio to co-produce follow up album, In It For The Money (released A
Alternative rock is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became popular in the 1990s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music; the term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, seen to be descended from punk rock. Alternative rock broadly consists of music that differs in terms of its sound, social context and regional roots. By the end of the 1980s, magazines and zines, college radio airplay, word of mouth had increased the prominence and highlighted the diversity of alternative rock, helping to define a number of distinct styles such as noise pop, indie rock and shoegaze.
Most of these subgenres had achieved minor mainstream notice and a few bands representing them, such as Hüsker Dü and R. E. M. had signed to major labels. But most alternative bands' commercial success was limited in comparison to other genres of rock and pop music at the time, most acts remained signed to independent labels and received little attention from mainstream radio, television, or newspapers. With the breakthrough of Nirvana and the popularity of the grunge and Britpop movements in the 1990s, alternative rock entered the musical mainstream and many alternative bands became successful. In the past, popular music tastes were dictated by music executives within large entertainment corporations. Record companies signed contracts with those entertainers who were thought to become the most popular, therefore who could generate the most sales; these bands were able to record their songs in expensive studios, their works sold through record store chains that were owned by the entertainment corporations.
The record companies worked with radio and television companies to get the most exposure for their artists. The people making the decisions were business people dealing with music as a product, those bands who were not making the expected sales figures were excluded from this system. Before the term alternative rock came into common usage around 1990, the sort of music to which it refers was known by a variety of terms. In 1979, Terry Tolkin used the term Alternative Music to describe the groups. In 1979 Dallas radio station KZEW had a late night new wave show entitled "Rock and Roll Alternative". "College rock" was used in the United States to describe the music during the 1980s due to its links to the college radio circuit and the tastes of college students. In the United Kingdom, dozens of small do it yourself record labels emerged as a result of the punk subculture. According to the founder of one of these labels, Cherry Red, NME and Sounds magazines published charts based on small record stores called "Alternative Charts".
The first national chart based on distribution called the Indie Chart was published in January 1980. At the time, the term indie was used to describe independently distributed records. By 1985, indie' had come to mean a particular genre, or group of subgenres, rather than distribution status; the use of the term alternative to describe rock music originated around the mid-1980s. Individuals who worked as DJs and promoters during the 1980s claim the term originates from American FM radio of the 1970s, which served as a progressive alternative to top 40 radio formats by featuring longer songs and giving DJs more freedom in song selection. According to one former DJ and promoter, "Somehow this term'alternative' got rediscovered and heisted by college radio people during the 80s who applied it to new post-punk, indie, or underground-whatever music". At first the term referred to intentionally non–mainstream rock acts that were not influenced by "heavy metal ballads, rarefied new wave" and "high-energy dance anthems".
Usage of the term would broaden to include new wave, punk rock, post-punk, "college"/"indie" rock, all found on the American "commercial alternative" radio stations of the time such as Los Angeles' KROQ-FM. Journalist Jim Gerr wrote that Alternative encompassed variants such as "rap, trash and industrial". In December 1991, Spin magazine noted: "this year, for the first time, it became resoundingly clear that what has been considered alternative rock – a college-centered marketing group with lucrative, if limited, potential- has in fact moved into the mainstream"; the bill of the first Lollapalooza, an itinerant festival in North America conceived by Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, reunited "disparate elements of the alternative rock community" including Henry Rollins, Butthole Surfers, Ice-T, Nine Inch Nails and the Banshees and Jane's Addiction. That same year, Farrell coined the term Alternative Nation. In the late 1990s, the definition again became more specific. In 1997, Neil Strauss of The New York Times defined alternative rock as "hard-edged rock distinguished by brittle,'70s-inspired guitar riffing and singers agonizing over their problems until they take on epic proportions".
Defining music as alt
Raidió Teilifís Éireann
Raidió Teilifís Éireann is a semi-state company and the national public service media of Ireland. It both produces programmes and broadcasts them on television and the Internet; the radio service began on 1 January 1926, while regular television broadcasts began on 31 December 1961, making it one of the oldest continuously operating public service broadcasters in the world. RTÉ publishes a weekly lifestyle magazine called the RTÉ Guide. RTÉ is financed through advertising; some RTÉ services are only funded by advertising, while other RTÉ services are only funded by the licence fee. RTÉ is a statutory body, run by a board appointed by the Government of Ireland. General management of the organisation is in the hands of the Executive Board headed by the Director-General. RTÉ is regulated by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Radio Éireann, RTÉ's predecessor and at the time a section of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, was one of 23 founding organisations of the European Broadcasting Union in 1950.
This section deals with the history of RTÉ as an organisation. For details on this history of the various services see the separate articles on those services. For history of the broadcasting service prior to 1960, see Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and RTÉ Radio 1. Broadcasting in Ireland began in 1926 with 2RN in Dublin. From that date until June 1960 the broadcasting service operated as a section of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, those working for the service were directly employed by the Irish Government and regarded as civil servants. RTÉ was established on 1 June 1960 under the Broadcasting Authority Act 1960, the principal legislation under which it operates; the existing Radio Éireann service was transferred to the new authority, made responsible for the new television service. The television service started broadcasting on 31 December 1961, from the Kippure transmitter site near Dublin. Eamonn Andrews was the first Chairman of Radio Éireann, the first director general was Edward Roth.
The name of the authority was changed, at the suggestion of Áine Ní Cheanainn, to Radio Telefís Éireann by the Broadcasting Authority Act 1966, both the radio and television services became known as RTÉ in that year. The Broadcasting Act 2009 changed the name of the organisation from "Radio Telefís Éireann" to "Raidió Teilifís Éireann", to reflect the proper spelling of the name in Irish. However, the station retains "Radio Telefís Éireann" carved in stone at the entrance to its Donnybrook headquarters in Dublin. Under Section 31 of the Broadcasting Authority Act, 1960 the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs of the day could direct RTÉ "not to broadcast any matter, or any matter of any particular class". In 1971 the first such directive was issued by Gerry Collins, directing RTÉ not to broadcast "any matter that could be calculated to promote the aims or activities of any organisation which engages in, encourages or advocates the attaining of any particular objective by violent means". A year Collins dismissed the entire RTÉ Authority over a report of an interview with Seán Mac Stíofáin, the chief of staff of the Provisional IRA.
RTÉ reporter Kevin O'Kelly, who reported the Mac Stiofáin interview, was jailed for contempt in a court case arising out of the interview. Kelly refused to identify Mac Stiofáin's as the voice on a tape seized from his house by the Garda Síochána. In 1976 Conor Cruise O'Brien, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, amended Section 31 and thereafter issued a new annually-based directive to the RTÉ authority. RTÉ was now explicitly banned from broadcasting interviews or reports of interviews with spokespersons for Sinn Féin, the Provisional IRA, or any organisation banned in Northern Ireland under the UK's Northern Ireland Act 1973; these directives were reissued on an annual basis until the final one appeared in January 1993. During the late 1970s RTÉ was accused of extending the censorship rules into a system of self-censorship. A small minority of programme makers emerged who approved of Section 31 supporters of the Workers' Party, including Eoghan Harris, Gerry Gregg who opposed that party's official policy.
Opponents of censorship were portrayed as secret IRA sympathizers. The effect of this ban was greater than and similar to, though less harsh than, the censorship provision introduced in 1988 in the United Kingdom; the UK ban did not prevent reports of interviews with spokespersons. This allowed interviews using actors' voices dubbing the direct speech of censored persons; this was not permissible on RTÉ. In 1992–93, in O'Toole vs RTÉ, RTÉ was found by the High Court and Supreme Court to have illegally and unconstitutionally extended the censorship ban to Sinn Féin members who were not speaking on behalf of the party; the RTÉ ban did not affect UK stations broadcasting in the Republic of Ireland as, until 1988 at least, viewers in the Republic were still able to hear the voices of Sinn Féin representatives. The following figures were issued by RTÉ as part of their annual report in 2012. In 2012 RTÉ received in total €180,894,000 in public funding from the licence fee, it received €127,100,000 in commercial revenue.
RTÉ total expenditure in 2012 was €327,023,000. They had restructuring costs of €46,161,000 in 2012. Losses for the year came to €65,147,000. Profit and Loss across radio and online services. RTÉ receives income from two main sources: The television licence fee. Within the State, it is necessary to pay a fee of €160 per annum to possess any piece of
Republic of Ireland
Ireland known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located on the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with a part of the United Kingdom, it is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, the Irish Sea to the east. It is a parliamentary republic; the legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, an elected President who serves as the ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state.
It was declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955, it joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973. The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but during the 1980s and 1990s the British and Irish governments worked with the Northern Ireland parties towards a resolution to "the Troubles". Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the Irish government and Northern Ireland Executive have co-operated on a number of policy areas under the North-South Ministerial Council created by the Agreement. Ireland ranks among the top twenty-five wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, as the tenth most prosperous country in the world according to The Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. After joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index, it performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD; the Irish government has followed a policy of military neutrality through non-alignment since prior to World War II and the country is not a member of NATO, although it is a member of Partnership for Peace. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was "styled and known as the Irish Free State".
The Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that "the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland". Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, "It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland." The 1948 Act does not name the state as "Republic of Ireland", because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name "Eire" and, from 1949, "Republic of Ireland", for the state; as well as "Ireland", "Éire" or "the Republic of Ireland", the state is referred to as "the Republic", "Southern Ireland" or "the South". In an Irish republican context it is referred to as "the Free State" or "the 26 Counties". From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, the island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the island's population of over 8 million fell by 30%. One million Irish died of starvation and/or disease and another 1.5 million emigrated to the United States.
This set the pattern of emigration for the century to come, resulting in constant population decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, under Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880, the Irish Parliamentary Party gained prominence; this was firstly through widespread agrarian agitation via the Irish Land League, that won land reforms for tenants in the form of the Irish Land Acts, secondly through its attempts to achieve Home Rule, via two unsuccessful bills which would have granted Ireland limited national autonomy. These led to "grass-roots" control of national affairs, under the Local Government Act 1898, in the hands of landlord-dominated grand juries of the Protestant Ascendancy. Home Rule seemed certain when the Parliament Act 1911 abolished the veto of the House of Lords, John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act in 1914. However, the Unionist movement had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants after the introduction of the first home rule bill, fearing discrimination and loss of economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics achieved real political power