I don't believe in ghosts. But if I did, and I had to choose a living Irish celebrity to be haunted by, it would probably be John Creedon. You imagine he'd be a nice sort of house ghost, respectful yet with little nuggets of interesting Irish geographical trivia reminding you what a great country you live in. He'd surprise you at 2am, hovering on the landing, polishing the bannisters.
"Ah, it's yourself. The midnight pee. We're all getting old, eh? But not as old as the Wonderful Barn, built by Catherine Connolly in Leixlip in 1743 as an act of famine relief, and well worth a visit for the views alone. You're nearly out of Pledge, by the way."
He could haunt the houses of the nation reminding us all, as he does on his TV shows, that there are huge tranches of this country, from our towns and cities to our parks and lakes, that take one's breath away on a half-decent summer's evening. If anything, the greatest enemy of us grasping the physical magnificence of our island is either the lack of or rapid multiplicity of seasons.
Of course, I'd wager I wouldn't get Creedo. I'd be haunted by Jedward or Nigel Farage, wait and see. But I digress.
If we had just three months of good weather a year we'd be a different people altogether.
When you watch programmes like Nationwide or John Creedon's The Road Less Travelled (both an ad for public-service broadcasting and a confirmation of the acceptance of one's middle age) you realise that this country is awash with scenic and architectural treasure, in towns and villages you've never heard of, never mind visited.
This is ours, one of the most beautiful, agriculturally bountiful and temperate lands on Earth.
Yes, I know, it all sounds a bit naff and maudlin but that doesn't make it less true.
Yet we have a curious lack of pride about it. Look at photos of amenities in this country after a long weekend, covered in discarded rubbish, bottles and cans.
Why is it that people can go to an area they themselves regard as desirable enough to actually visit and yet leave it desecrated?
In the 1980 referendum on Quebec independence, the future Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien once challenged les Quebecois as to whether they wished to surrender the Rockies, which they owned, as they did all Canada, and would lose if they left.
It was a powerful argument especially in a country as varied, beautiful and simply majestic as that country is, and it was almost certainly one of the factors that kept Quebec within Canada.
Canadians, including Quebecois, own Canada.
Why do so many Irish have a difficulty regarding our public amenities as their property, and treat it as such?
How can you claim a park or a beach is nothing to do with you if you use it?
How can you claim the buses or the Luas or the Dart are nothing to you if they transport you?
Go and look in those parks at the absolutely world-class playgrounds so many of our county councils provide for free.
Look at our (again, free) well-stocked libraries and helpful library staff.
In fact, answer the ever-asked question, the one that Americans take for normal yet gets cynical sneers in Ireland: what are you doing for your country?
What does Ireland get out of you?
Being Irish is a two-way street, and the privileges of being Irish come with duties and obligations as well.
That duty comes in many forms, from serving in the emergency services or crucial public services to simply obeying the law, paying your taxes, and respecting your fellow citizens and our public property.
This land is not a windfall, it's an inheritance, and as with so many priceless inheritances, it comes with duties and obligations. It's not a class thing, it's a patriotic thing, and being a patriot is not about hating the Brits, but loving Ireland. And no, they're not the same thing.
That's something we never discuss in Ireland, the difference between patriotism and nationalism.
Nationalism in its ugliest form is measuring your homeland up against someone else's, looking for inferiorities on their part and conceding none on your own. So many in this country measure us against You Know Who, and regard that as a measure, often The Measure, of being Irish.
They're the fellas who fall into angry fits when they see a Union Jack flying. To them, that chronic insecurity seems to be the definition of what it means to be Irish.
Being patriotic is not only about acknowledging the beauty of the homeland, but not regarding it as a sign of weakness to share it.
You see weirdos on the internet who erupt into furious rages at the sight of a young black American woman Irish dancing, many of them Irish-Americans with a poisoned view of an exclusionary Irishness frozen in time. And don't get me started on our homegrown far-right loons and their Celtic bloodlines and great replacement nonsense.
What greater tribute can be paid to a culture than the fact that others outside it see it and wish to emulate it?
We're not better than anyone else, we just have a beautiful thing going here, and we need to remind ourselves of that occasionally.
Otherwise, John Creedon might haunt you.