What makes the Irish unique? Why do over 70 million people worldwide embrace their Irish heritage? What does it mean to be Irish today? These and other questions are addressed in this fascinating new book. Being Irish gathers a diverse group of 100 people – including well-known actors, musicians, novelists, sportspeople, journalists, political and religious leaders, community activists, asylum seekers, students and others – each trying to give expression to that special something that is more or less recognisable as Irish. This is not a sociological study; it consists of highly personal responses to a question of identity.
Twenty-one years ago, Paddy Logue compiled the original edition of Being Irish to better understand the recent changes Ireland had undergone. Now his daughter, Derry-based solicitor Marie-Claire Logue, takes up the challenge to take a fresh look at Irishness, this time against a backdrop of Covid-19, Brexit, economic insecurity, weakening influence of the Catholic Church and a rapidly changing Northern Ireland. The contributions come from the ranks of the famous and not so famous, people at the centre of things and people at the margins, people who live in Ireland and those who live abroad, the Irish and not-Irish-but-interested.
Some delve into their personal histories to give meaning to their identities; while others rely on storytelling, humour and lyricism to approach a tentative sense of self. Above all, the reflections in this volume show that we can be Irish by birth, Irish by ancestry, Irish by geography, Irish and British, Northern Irish, Irish by accident, Irish by necessity, Irish and European, Irish by association, Irish by culture, Irish by history, Irish and American and Irish by choice. The life stories contained herein are sure to illuminate and entertain.