Being Irish in England

Sir, – I welcome Kevin Croke's balanced opinions on his experiences of being Irish in London (November 1st). I too, having hailed from Tipperary, have lived in both England and Northern Ireland since the late 1960s. What I had to acknowledge to myself early in my time in England was the fact that I was not the Irish ambassador. Yes, I sounded Irish whenever I opened my mouth – a reality that taught me to open it sparingly and to be disciplined with what came out of it when I did. But in over 40 years of teaching, I found that being Irish was a positive advantage. I stood outside the class and "regions" system of England, a freedom I would not have enjoyed had I stayed in Ireland, where I would have trundled my origins with me, tiresomely.

Only recently on a hospital visit, the receptionist commented warmly on how she loved my accent. I never got that in Tipp! – Yours, etc,