On being Irish causes a lot of friction in our English – Irish household (alphabetically put!). Irish Mum. English Dad. DD and DS1 born in London. DS2 born in Dublin. All now living in Dubai. For the kids, Dubai makes up the majority chunk of their tender years.
For as long as I can remember, DS2 has insisted that he is fully, 100% Irish. He does not entertain the thought that there is an ounce of English blood in his scrawny 6 year old body. Indeed he seems quite repulsed by the suggestion that this is the case. His rationale is that ‘if you are born in Ireland, you are fully Irish’. Having parents from different countries is irrelevant. So, following his thinking his siblings are English (something which they are happy to agree with, but which I suspect is more out of a feeling that they have potentially more international sports teams for which they could play compared to those which their Irish genes could offer!).
Each St. Patrick’s Day, I send the kids to school with treats and a little info on why the Irish celebrate March 17th. They skip to school excitedly with a tricolour of balloons, tagged with Irish blessigs, and of course a sugary treat to share with their friends. Last year a teacher (with an Irish sounding name) said to DD:
‘I didn’t know you were Irish!’
As quick as anything the little Madam responded:
‘I’m not. I’m English‘!
St. Patrick would turn in his grave!!!
Back to DS2. The fact that the country of birth is irrelevant in determining nationality is a difficult concept for a 6 year old to comprehend. But he is adamant he is Irish and only he and I are the true blue Greens. The fact that all 3 have Irish passports is lost on him!
He wants to be the future Johnny Sexton of Irish rugby. He wants to play for Donegal’s Gaelic Football team. He wants to be the next Liam Brady of international Irish football. For such a small country, he has so many heroes and icons to look up to, and aspire to be.
At the end of the day, I honestly think it is more about colour preference. He likes ‘green’ (Ireland). ‘White’ (England) for him is ‘meh’.