It has long been said that everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, at least if they want to be.
And that, we know, is a kind gesture, a most generous offer on our part.
For who wouldn’t want to be Irish for at least one day a year, right?
Well, strange as it may seem, there are people in this world who would run for the hills at the very idea. We can’t be too hard on them of course.
They are clearly just possessed of a wrong idea or two.
In most recent years there has been an expanding sense of what it actually means to be year-round Irish.
Ireland itself has been going through profound changes. Many inhabitants of the island were born elsewhere but have adopted Irish norms and attitudes and speak with accents that the native-born have no trouble understanding, indeed find to be, well, native.
The New York Times recently ran a front page story on an Ireland that is no longer the sole preserve of, as the paper put it, “red-haired Marys and blue-eyed Seans.”
The island for sure has gone through a most profound demographic makeover in just a few short years.
At the rate things are going the new, more broadly defined Irishness might even take hold in some of the more recalcitrant corners of Northern Ireland Britishness.
We live in hope.
In the meantime, we can only watch with wonder and awe as our Irish world goes through a metamorphosis the like of which haven’t been seen since St. Patrick gave those fusty old druids their marching orders.