I have spent much time this year attempting to reconnect with my Irish ethnicity and to foster a re-discovered sense of Irishness. Many of the internal struggles I’ve had lurked in my poem “Tiocfaidh ár lá,” which I will quote in this article.
As an Irish-American whose most recent immigrant ancestor was my Quebec-born grandfather, my ties to Irishness have historically been very plastic. I was a plastic paddy, knowing little of Irish culture beyond my immediate family’s love of Irish alcohol, the Irish Rovers, and a still burning disdain for all things English and Protestant. I distinctly remember my father insisting to me that the Irish had it the worst of any people who ever crossed the Atlantic and how the Ku Klux Klan’s greatest target was Catholics. Here we have the seeds of an ideology that amounts to the Great White Hope of racism. That is, whataboutism with…
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