The Irish diaspora no longer feels so exiled
I do not know who first spoke about the bowl of bitter tears, nor do I know whether it referred to The Irish Sea or The Atlantic Ocean. All I know is that it is no longer relevant: the Irish are no longer exiles in Britain or America. Communications have banished the pain of the long goodbye.
Recently a friend of mine asked a big black man in Times Square for a copy of The Kerryman. The man asked: "Do you want the country edition or the late edition?" Incidentally, do you ever hear of small black men? My friend wasn't taken aback or affront -- he was just delighted to discover a piece of home in that urban jungle.
If you are ever feeling lonely in Birmingham, there is a simple remedy. Go down to the Bridge Bar in New Street Station and take a window seat and survey the passing crowd. By the time you have started your second pint, you are almost certain to be joined by someone from home.