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My grandfather was a London Catholic Kerryman. He married a Protestant headmistress. He wrote a book called 'A Vision Beyond' - a wondrous tale of Rebels, landlords and passion for Ireland. I don't think he ever felt at home in England.
... And here am I, in London, continuing the dilemma, wondering what has kept me here so long. ...
My father, an Oxbridge graduate, came to live in Ireland. He married a Belfast Republican. They met in the Air Force during the War. They argued with passion about what it was to be Irish. I don't think he ever felt at home in Dublin.
And here am I, in London, continuing the dilemma, wondering what has kept me here so long. I left Dublin at the time when there kids still sniffing glue on O'Connell Bridge. Despite the fog of unemployment there, I seemed to shimmy throught the Eighties being a very working actress. But something persuaded me to move across the water just like my father and grandfather had done. I cannot help thinking I was upholding some sort of tradition, crossing the divide - my partner is a Limerick Protestant. We are blessed with a son. We are privileged to live among the many peoples of North London. I feel happier than I've ever been.
Of course I think of Ireland. I think about the fresh sea air my son is missing. I think about that sense of hilarity that bubbles under the surface of things there and the compulsion every Irishman seems to have to talk to everybody about everything.
Having a child is making a difference. We suddenly find ourselves in a huge community. People call to our door - we arrive unannounced - we talk to strangers in the streets. Perhaps we make our own world wherever it is.
Could we bring it all 'home' I wonder?
These stories were contributed by individuals who were all involved in Irish Voices a project jointly run by Haringey Libraries and Moving Here.
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