Sunday 20 August 2017

Martina Devlin: 'Diploma of Irishness' a mawkish conceit too far

Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

YOU don't have to be blood to be family. But does the same apply to nationality: can you be Irish even if you've never set foot on the island, and couldn't tell a soda farl from a Colin Farrell or a dry-stone wall from a wallaby?

Can you be Irish if your notions of it are informed by John Hinde postcards and sentimental ballads? And who is the final arbiter on what constitutes Irishness, anyhow?

It's a thorny question for a nation partly defined by its emigrant tradition -- whether Irishness can be interpreted as a general sense of belonging to the tribe, ignoring the information conveyed by your birth certificate, passport or address.

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