Friday, 2 April 2010


Last night at the airport, as we waited for our flight to Dublin, Bug called me ‘Mammy’. Somehow during the 15 minute drive from Sale her lively brain had transformed me from her English ‘Mum’ into her Irish ‘Mammy’. “Mammy” she asks “Why do the Grannies talk about ‘Home’? You know, when they ask me are we looking forward to coming Home? Is Ireland really our Home? “ I reply with the truth “Well, I still call Ireland Home too...”. She’s so excited, “So Home is where you’re really from, where your family is...does that mean we really are Irish then?”. And so this morning walking from my Parent’s place, along the main road, I wave or nod at every driver that passes, not because I know them, but because they might know me. So long gone from this place, I can no longer remember their names nor they mine. But still they know me, even if they can’t put a name to me, because my heritage is written on my face and on my form – they will know which family I am from and before I get back will be reporting –“Saw an O’Connor on the road and she never recked* me”. Now I am not an O’Connor and never have been, but as one of my Aunts’ friends said on being introduced “We’ve never met, but I know you - I’ve seen your face before”. In Irish the word for ‘from’ is ‘as’ which literally means ‘of’ – so you are never ‘from’ but ‘of’ somewhere – that place formed you, your history is intertwined with it, and it never leaves you. ”You can take the man out of the bog but you can never take the bog out of the man” the joke goes, and in every joke there runs a vein of truth... I walk for an hour, in beautiful spring weather, the mountains white with yesterday’s snow, reflecting on the place and the people and what it means to me, and how it might still inform and influence my thoughts in the ‘real’ world today. Walking back along the same grey granite wall I walked at dawn after my Farewell party, just weeks before I emigrated, I realise I am indeed ‘of’ this place, in a way I can never be ‘of’ London or Surrey or Manchester and think yes, I am ‘Home’. *Recognised (Acknowledged)

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