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