A day for the Irish.

This is the day for we Irish. A difficult history has turned us from an insular people into a diaspora nation.

This is the day for we Irish. A difficult history has turned us from an insular people into a diaspora nation.

These words blink to life in sight of Clew Bay where I played in rowing boats as a boy on summer vacation and where my father before me fished and worked around the small islands.

I’m home.

I know that in every part of me.

I also know that many Irish are not.

We are, again, exporting our young people because of economic failure.

Today there are many Irish people around the planet missing home.

So this is really their day.

If you have any gradh for Eirinn sean and you’re not here today on this little island then Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig ar gach duine.

It is with some sadness that I know that in my native city celebrating Patrick’s day is still, to an extent, verboten.

Had my father and mother made it to, say, New York, Buenos Aries, London or Melbourne in the 1950s then I could say that there was a big joyous Paddy’s day party going on in my native city.

I’m a Glaswegian. So I can’t say that and remain faithful to the truth.

I spent some time last night booking flights with herself.

Wherever the aircraft takes us this year I’ll check in and be recognised as Irish.

That suits me fine.

Had I grown up in Brooklyn then it would be a given that I was an Irish kid from the Big Apple.

Being  Irish and  Glaswegian isn’t something that is available to me in my native city.

From every quarter Irishness is assailed and sneered at where I was born and reared.

The descendants of Famine survivors are mocked and taunted and told to go home.

Officialdom is silent on this racism.

This happens in no other city where the Irish settled.

I thought that this might change, but by the mid-1990s I realised that there was no chance in this generation or the next that Glasgow’s attitude to Ireland and the Irish could mature.

So I made a choice for my brood and me.

Eldest of brood has his own passport and is getting ready to fly the nest.

Wherever his journey takes him my tall Irish-speaking son knows who he is.

He will be welcome everywhere as an Irishman.

Only in his dad’s native City is that not the case.

So I’m glad we’re home.

Enjoy Patrick’s day wherever you are.