A befuddled relationship: Readers on their ‘Irishness’

50 people responded to Roisín O’Donnell’s article on her ‘mental knuckle-fight’ with Irish identity, having grown up in England

“Better a stranger in a strange land than a stranger in your homeland,” commented one of the many readers who got in touch, following the publication of my article ‘My mental knuckle-fight with Irishness’. In the article, I related my befuddled relationship with Irish identity, having grown up in England with parents from Northern Ireland, and having moved to Ireland at the age of 18. I had always considered myself Irish, but on moving to Dublin I found my claim to Irish identity under almost-constant scrutiny.

It’s a familiar experience for many people; “Having moved here from Zimbabwe as a child I can relate to both the children you describe and to your own experience,” says Sam Huleatt-James, who finds it a pity that a “members only” attitude still exists around the idea of Irishness. “To avoid this I try to surround myself with people for whom nationality is not an issue,” says Sam, “but unfortunately one can be sideswiped every now and then when one least expects it!”

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