New Hibernia Review, Vol. 11.3, Autumn 2007

Kieran Bonner
Publisher: Center for Irish Studies at the University of St.Thomas
ISBN: 1092-3977

ISBN: 1092-3977

When Bewley’s Café closed in November, 2004, it seemed as if everyone in Dublin had an opinion on the matter — a “flurry of interpretations,” in the phrase of urban sociologist Kieran Bonner. We open this issue with Bonner’s own survey of this transforming moment on Grafton and Westmoreland Streets. After recounting the history — and the paradox — of the famous coffee shops, Bonner goes on to employ present-day commentary on globalization, the “Culture of Cities” model being advanced in several Canadian sociology departments, and especially Ray Oldenburg’s concept of the “third place” that is both like and unlike home, to interpret the closing and reopening of the Dublin institution. He notes that the matter of changing taste is not ephemeral, but rather “a deeply political issue.” The author of A Great Place to Raise Kids: Interpretation, Science, and the Urban-Rural Debate (2003), Dr. Bonner is active in the Canadian Association for Irish Studies. [From James Silas Rogers, "Editors' Notes"]