A Sense of what being Irish means to Me

At this moment in time as we approach our national holiday we will be organising parades, cultural events and all sorts of activities to acknowledge and give expression to our sense of Irishness. We will feel a pride in who we are that is perhaps heightened around St. Patrick’s Day.

At this moment in time we are at war. Even if bombs are not dropping on our island we are engaged in an economic and ideological battle. Our Ukrainian neighbours are more directly under attack and need our help. Their response to aggression from a neighbour with vastly superior fire power has shown the strength of their feeling of what it means to be Ukrainian. Unfortunately this will cost many of them their lives.

We all want to help. I have written some poetry for pleasure over the last two years, since the first lockdown began. As a small gesture any profits from the sale of this poetry will be donated to the Irish Red Cross to help with their work for the Ukrainian people.

It may be purchased for €4 via this link.

A Sense of what being Irish means to me

What does being Irish mean to me?

More than just a legal definition of nationality.

It is a personal, multifaceted, sense of being.

That depending on context can be somewhat changeable.

And so to some extend undefinable.

Words like heritage, culture, race, nationality come to mind.

Yet each of these in turn are not easily defined.

A birthright tied to a sense of place.

A sense of belonging to a Celtic race.

Like our diaspora, who around the world do roam,

I grow more conscious of it when away from home.

A sense of belonging; to a place, a people, a tribe.

A sense of connection I struggle to describe.

I feel drawn to the land where I and my ancestors were conceived.

To a land into which others, once strangers, are now received.

It is a sense of shared experience.

In a sense a kind of indefinable mystery.

Music, language, history.

No one aspect can define it.

Nor is any one aspect required.

An eclectic mix of many things.

Some things of conscious mind and some of feeling heart.

The total greater than the sum of every part.

Embedded memories of lived experience and folk memory.

My Irishness is an innate sense of identity.

It’s an identity that I hold with pride.

Something held deep inside.

It’s a fundamental aspect of my being.

I can feel it more than explain what it is I mean.

That is what a sense of being Irish means to me.

I am Irish and proud to be.

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