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I was at a festival last week that combined up-to-the-minute economic analysis with raucous no-holds-barred comedy. It sounds like a strange mix – but it worked. Maybe that’s because this unique hybrid event took place in Ireland where, even in the teeth of adversity, folk see the funny side of life.

Kilkenomics is staged annually in the elegant bijou city of Kilkenny, in the south east of the Emerald Isle. Dubbed “Davos with laughs”, it attracts a high-powered crowd of economists hailing from central banks, financial institutions and some of the world’s top universities – together with the odd renegade dismal scientist such as me.

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