Monday, 5 February 2018

Ireland Is




What does Ireland mean to me ? 
To answer this question I must use an analogy, it is if I was an orphaned child seeking its Mother before I came here.

Prior to my first arrival in the Belfast area, in 1986, and then later that year after travelling down to Cork in July, there occurred what I can only describe as a mystical experience. She, who I call Mother Ireland, stepped silently into my inner core, where she still resides and continues to nurture my very essence for which I am very grateful.

I can tell you that there have been a few times since living here when I have been very ashamed of my birth country England because of its inhumane actions and deeds towards Ireland and the Irish people.

Such have been my experiences that I no longer have any desire to visit England and nor do I have any pride of place towards it. 
For Ireland is my home. I do acknowledge that England is the country of my birth and I was educated there from childhood to be discerning.

So today this migrant looks back at England and the changes that have taken place over the years. That I see a nation skewered by authoritarianism and indignation that knows not how to care for all of its citizens. There appears to be no love or tolerance. These gifts seem to be so rare and generally misunderstood, instead there is a dichotomy of fear and punishment pervading the land of my birth. Perhaps it has always been present and I failed to recognise the fact?

If you are a migrant do you feel truly at home in the country of your choice ?

40 comments:

  1. ... on paper and per passport
    it's all right, friend Heron ...
    but if the color of you skin is not right
    or
    accent is not right
    or
    your sexual orientation is not right

    ... what ever, hmmm? ...

    ... there is always problems, friend ...

    So keep on truckin, friend.

    Love, cat.

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    1. Yes you are correct in the majority of countries those negative items come into play, though thankfully not
      so much in Ireland which is much more liberal.

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    2. In many ways I agree with you Heron and I'll probably comment more fully on this exceptionally interesting post when I get to the end of the comments. However I have had a great deal of experience of Irish people (the salt of the earth) having been born in Liverpool (called the Capital of Ireland for a very good reason). Many of the nurses I worked with when I was a youngster around 1960 were from Ireland (or Wales or West Indian countries). I nearly married a girl from the deep south as she called it occasionally. She loved her country and was a great advocate for it. However the one thing she did tell me was that there was a huge amount of fear and intolerance associated with religion. At the time I was C of E and, of course, she was a Roman Catholic. As it happens the question of religion never entered our considerations so far as our relationship was concerned. However had we eventually decided to get married I fear that she would have had an exceptionally rough time.

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    3. Thank you for your comment Graham and I very much appreciate all that you have written.

      In relation to what where known over here as 'mixed marriages' they where quite common.
      In fact I had friends who were the issue of one of them and as far as I was able to make out it was never a problem for them. They may well have been in the minority. For I am aware of some people who are when 'in their cups' are extremely obnoxious towards some of their relatives who are in such relationships.

      I have an anecdote to share with you:
      During my first visit I was told by a N.I. work colleague that the proprietors of a certain Hotel were in a mixed marriage. So one night I visited the establishment and spoke to both of them and left feeling confused. Next morning I told my colleague that he had misinformed me because I found that both of them where white.
      I then realised that the perceptions of what we were brought up to believe must be reassessed and matured humanitarian knowledge; thus I threw out my beliefs.

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  2. I find it interesting Heron that you refer to Ireland as 'much more liberal' because that is not the impression we get from reading the British newspapers is it? I must say I have been on a couple of holidays and found the countryside beautiful (I adored the Burren) and the people lovely.

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    1. Weaver thank you for the comment.
      I have not read a British newspaper since moving here so I really do not know what they say.
      I can only presume from your comment that they are as bigoted as they were when I first left to come here 32 years ago. Ireland now is far removed from what it was and yes it is as I said in the comment above.

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  3. For all our faults we don't force women to die instead of performing a termination, although hopefully not for much longer

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    1. Your comment is not entirely truthful Simon for there are facts that you are unaware of and other medical terms are used other than the word abortion and I will not mention them on here lest it clouds the legal process which is in hand.

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  4. I think it's the same wherever capitalism rules.

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  5. St Patrick was born in England too and look where HE ended up! I'm glad that Ireland entered your soul!

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  6. I will have to say that, for the past couple of years, I have felt like an alien, trapped in a country I no longer recognize as my own. Ireland seems like a kinder place; a more humane place.

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    1. Sorry that you feel that way about the country that you were born in and I know what that feels like too.
      Ireland is what you say: more humane.

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  7. I'm not an immigrant, but I often feel like a stranger in a strange land. I tell our daughter that this is not the country that I grew up in. Mr. Trump is just that latest in a long line of awful people in Washington.

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    1. That is a very sad announcement to make Janet.

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  8. I said yesterday with some vehemence 'I love my country but not those who run it'. I think England is in a mess but for me its landscape is a constant joy, as I am sure it is for you in Ireland. Too old to migrate now, and there is nowhere I want to go ;)

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    1. I greatly appreciate your point of view Thelma. England has for me has always been a land in conflict with its self a country of split values.

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  9. I know how you feel about that lady Ireland, Mel. I think any place in the world can be home, no matter where you are born. To some people the roots of their origin is so strong so they feel both lost and bewildered anywhere else.
    But my experience is, both on my own part and from the many friends I've made during the many years of refugees coming, that you can settle down where your heart is at ease and you are welcome. Feeling at ease and welcome is almost a spiritual thing, I'm not an immigrant but I've left my home county.
    In my heart and soul I feel welcome, no part of me wants To be where I was born. I think I could feel this way in many places, even on the green island😊😊😊
    This was a lovely praise for Ireland, and as Weaver points out, there can for sure be political issues to be pondered on, Cat points it out as well. But I think the love for a country can be blind to politics, at least to some extent. That doesn't mean you have to like it.....or not fight it.

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    1. Hello Solveig !
      I knew that this blog post would take your interest and it certainly has :)
      One of the big differences between my birth country and here that I noticed was that this is a land of first names. So everyone is addressed the same way from the Politicians to your neighbours and that makes for relaxed attitudes.
      Fading into obscurity is the religious power that Rome's agents once held over its people, so now people can marry who they are in love with regardless of their sexuality; recently we had two heterosexual men marry each other, you see it does not matter or only love rules. There is a term here for people whose forbears came from Spain they are called 'the Black Irish' and in the Irish language the word 'garam' used for the black people, the word translates as blue.
      I think that the twenty-six counties of Ireland as a partially rekindled nation has done and is doing remarkably well both socially and politically since gaining its freedom from the UK and I long to see the thirty-county country united into wholeness.

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  10. The thing I like most of living in Ireland is there is very little or any different social classes.

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    1. Thank you for bringing that up Dave and I completely agree with you !

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    2. Indeed Dave !
      I do remember getting a lift back in '86 from a man who was a stockbroker in Belfast and on our journey we stopped to get an ice cream from a small roadside kiosk and then we both sat in a hedge to eat them
      and I thought then "This is all completely different to England"

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  11. I know what you feel about England, Mel. I still love its beauty, but not much else and I am glad I no longer call it home. I do not feel the same depth of affection for the Netherlands as you feel for Ireland (I think it might get me that way too, by the way) but this country is home now. I find great beauty in its calm scenery only really relieved by trees, water and dykes. I love its great skyscapes too. But apart from that, I feel it is a generally decent and humane society in which to live...for as long as that lasts

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    1. Many thanks for your comment Val and for your appreciation. It would seem that we are both content with the countries in which we now reside.

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  12. Jack L said:
    Hi Mel,
    Thanks for posting this very thoughtful and introspective blog piece. It seems that you have spent nearly and equal amount of time of your life, between your country of birth..and your home in Ireland which you've come to love so very obviously.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Jack my attraction to this country was like that of steel to a magnet :) !

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  13. I love my adopted country; I have spent well over half my life here. I don't really recognise your description of England. However, I do think it pays to be employed, reasonably well paid, and living in the south. Life there, otherwise, could be seen to be difficult; but even that is mostly Corbyn's propaganda.

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    1. Cro I would agree with your second sentence up to a point. I think the South is the last place I would want to live. Apart from crime and the like I would choose one other example to illustrate my point. Most of my friends there if they cannot afford private health care treatment have a miserable time waiting up to two years for operations such as hip and knee replacements. Here on Lewis (and you don't get much further north) not only am I safe but when I needed a new knee there was no waiting time at all. I'm sure there are benefits to being a Southerner over being a Northerner but I'm pushed to think what they are.

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  14. Thanks for your point of view Cro and it is nice to know that one migrant enjoys his visits to England.

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  15. I left my first comment and had to go out. I've now read the rest of the comments and your response to my first one. I live in Scotland which is a very different place from England so I suppose, in a way, I'm in the same situation that you are in except that Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and many of the people who perpetrated the deeds that you allude to were Scots and Welsh. Indeed many of the great explorers, conquerors and empire builders were Scots and Glasgow as much as Liverpool was built on the back of slavery and the goods it produced in the colonies for importation. However as I look out from my window all those miles across to the Mainland of Scotland I think that my life on Lewis is much nearer to yours than it is to anyone living in England or the Scottish Central Belt.

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    1. I think you correct Graham, we are nearer in many respects. I also agree with your other comments ; Bristol too was built on the slave trade and if we look back in history then a great many of the Indian fighters in the United States were Irish.
      I have visited the West coast of Scotland in recent years and I must say it was in some parts very much like Ireland.
      Thank you for returning and leaving extra comments, which are greatly appreciated !

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  16. It can be a sad thing to look at the place from whence you came. I'm so glad you've made Ireland your home, and its home is in you.

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    1. Thank you Robyn for your astute and wise words :-)

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  17. Hi Mel - we can feel your love of your beloved Ireland ... I feel the same for Cornwall, though not a country ... and in fact I've never lived there. I've never emigrated per se, just moved to live for a while and am happy to experience other areas ... but travel opens one's eyes ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you for the comments Hilary.
      About Cornwall... you seem to have overlooked the fact that it is a country in its own right with a separate language ....A millennium after they were subsumed into the English state and 15 years since efforts began to have them formally declared a distinct people, the Cornish have been now recognised as a national minority.
      The status of a national minority group, made under a European convention to protect them, means that the Cornish now have the same rights and protections as the more established members of Britain’s Celtic group.

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  18. Sorry to say I cannot answer your intriguing question, but I enjoyed reading all the interesting comments and your responses. Born and raised in Southern Califoria and still here 67 years later I don't foresee migrating anywhere in the future, but never say never! My grandparents migrated to California from other states in the nation and my parents were born here. They used to tell us kids it was rare to find a second-generation Californian, back then everyone came here from somewhere else. That's not quite true, but only how they saw it. This naturally does seem like home to me and I'd be a bit disoriented living anywhere not bordered by the Pacific Ocean. Anyway, thank you for this post!

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    1. Thank You Sara for the very interesting information about your family and your thoughts. I can only imagine that by living in a warm climate anyone would be loathe to leave.

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  19. .....stepped silently into my inner core. Nicely put. I can feel how Ireland has a nurturing effect on you - heart and soul. She's claimed you, welcomed you and it seems that this is where you belong.

    I felt her welcome the one time I visited a few years back. Her land was peaceful, gentle, loving and kind. Somehow it was like finding a kindred spirit and I hope to return one day.

    I'm sorry you feel that way about the country of your birth. I was born in Canada and although I'm not living in the city of my birth, I'm not too far away, so cannot answer your thought-provoking question.

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  20. Hello Wendy !
    Very nice to make your acquaintance and thank you for your considered opinions.

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