Being Irish, you live in a very small community. You have different groups of friends, family, first cousins, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbours in generally a small area. You probably frequent one area more than others for most of your life. You move around, you see how others live in the country, in the next county over and realize that have one very common and special bond, being Irish. Even if you move away, you have one eye over your shoulder to see what the mood, the form, the craic is at home.
The celebrations of the Easter rising last month were special. We celebrated being a nation one hundred years and commemorated the people who gave their lives that it might be so. And more than a collective coming of age it celebrated a country who at last is very much, as the French would say, feeling good in her own skin. In the celebrations, the nation’s trek to the capital or the local commemorations of our own here in Ardoughtar, there was an air of confidence that was never, in my memory seen before. We rallied this last century trying to feel at home, understand at length what it means to be Irish, rebuilding broken spirits, settling into ourselves, growing up. And there, in our casuals, on stage, in the audience, on the streets, on parade, waving tricolors we were, at last, quietly and cooly confident to call ourselves a nation of Irish citizens.
And with that comes, as always, great responsiblity. It goes without saying. Every country, especially a little one on the periphery of a continent must do it’s best to represent its population and will, as a country on this Earth of humans make mistakes, fall foul to pride and then get back in line again. So here we are, open for business as always, in the aftermath of the party, clearing up with the memory of the lovely festivities that allowed us to party and call ourselves Irish in a new and very special way. Realizing that we have a lot to offer, are beautiful and are now mature enough to really live it. Is mise Eire freisin.