I said, “Ye are a breath of fresh air when ye come over and we need that.”
And I said, “There are many millions more of ye than there are of us here at home, and with such a small genetic stock to draw from sure we are all cousins at this stage, even the MacConnells from the North and the O’Sullivans from Cork are probably about 33rd cousins 10 times removed both by geography and wide water.”
I told him to be proud to be called a Yank when in Ireland.
And do you know what else I told him which I hope was useful during his final days here?
I told him that there are still, sadly, just a few natives who try to take advantage of visiting Yanks by engaging them in conversation in bars and cafes in the hope of getting a few free drinks in return for their unmitigated blarneyed bull. I told him to, yes, buy such stage Irishmen just one drink and then ensure that he bought no more, not even water, until the native stood him a round in return. I hope he did not encounter such a character in the days and hours after we parted in Bunratty.
I think the couple clearly understood in the end that, though I did not say it directly lest it be over the top (and we are inhibited that way) that we love our Yanks and are very proud of them. And that is the truth.