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Ireland by Accident

Notes from an incoming foreigner and a returning emigrant

Peter Vandermeersch and Francine Cunningham

‘On a per-head basis, Ireland has a good claim to be the world’s most diplomatically powerful country.’ The Economist, Charlemagne, 18 July 2020


‘Step by step, Ireland’s old nationalist politics, shaped by Britain in so many ways, have moved on. Ireland is prospering by doing things more rationally and in ways that are firmly rooted in the state’s membership of multilateral institutions. The many in these islands who yearn for Britain to do likewise can only look on as, in Ireland, an enviable beauty is born.’ The Guardian, editorial, 20 July 2020.


“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.” Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, 1996

“My name is Barack Obama of the Moneygall Obamas, and I’ve come home to find the apostrophe we lost somewhere along the way.” Barack Obama, 2011 

“That’s the Irish people all over – they treat a serious thing as a joke and a joke as a serious thing.” Dramatist Sean O’Casey, 1923


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