“Being Irish: 101 Views on Irish Identity Today” edited by Marie-Claire Logue is the November selection for the IrishCentral Book Club.

Each month, we will pick a new Irish book or a great book by an Irish author and celebrate the amazing ability of the Irish to tell a good story for the IrishCentral Book Club.

Throughout November, we’ll be reading “Being Irish: 101 Views on Irish Identity Today" edited by Marie-Claire Logue and published by The Liffey Press last month.

Synopsis for “Being Irish” edited by Marie-Claire Logue

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 101 people of all ages and backgrounds, each trying to give expression to that special something that is more or less recognisable as Irishness.

There is a particular emphasis in this collection on a new generation of Irish, both home-grown and recent arrivals. These young people embrace their Irish identity as fervently as do their elders, but don’t necessarily have the same values, concerns, and aspirations. Here the voices of this new generation can now be heard.

No matter the age group, 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.

Among the contributors to Being Irish are Dr. Teresa Lambe, co-inventor of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine; Emma DeSouza, who took the British Government to Court over her Irish identity; General Martin Dempsey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the US; LeAnne Howe, who describes the gift the Choctaw Nation sent to Ireland during the Famine; Dr. Norah Patten, hoping to be Ireland’s first astronaut; Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde’s only grandchild; plus many other well-known people like Gerry Adams, Sonia O’Sullivan, Eamonn Holmes, Micheál Martin, Lisa McGee, Leo Varadkar, AP McCoy, Keith Wood, and Annie MacManus among others.

Taken together, the absorbing life stories contained in "Being Irish" provide an illuminating and entertaining look at what it means to be Irish today.

Select Quotes from “Being Irish” edited by Marie-Claire Logue

On a United Ireland: "It has taken generations, but we are now on the cusp of finding our way back and healing from this trauma. The prospect of Irish unity is a necessary, normalising change which needs to happen for all of the island. This change is happening, and I believe that all of us need to begin preparing for Irish unity and to prepare ourselves for the changes ahead." – Mary-Lou McDonald, Leader of Sinn Féin

The Great and the Good: "There are myriad ways of being Irish, but my indomitable Irishness stems not from touching the surface of daily life, but from living in the wake of our history and arguing with it, being moved by our literature and the physical and intellectual landscape it evokes, and hearing our music chime while having something mysterious inside me sing back." – Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s Ambassador to the US

An American Viewpoint:  "All things Irish is who I am also, how I was raised, and how we raise our son, Aidan. The Irish sense of tradition, faith, resiliency … the Irish love of literature, art, music … the innate Irish way of taking care of one’s neighbor, the land, trying to take life slower and not so seriously – these encompass ‘Irishness’ to me." – Eileen Ivers, musician

On the Irish Abroad: "Once, crossing the frontier between Montenegro and Albania during the Kosovo war, a Serb military checkpoint asked what country we were from. When we said Irish, the commander declared: ‘The Serbs and Irish are brothers.’" – Tony Connelly, Europe Editor for RTÉ News and Current Affairs

About the editor Marie-Claire Logue

Marie-Claire Logue is a solicitor based in Derry, Northern Ireland. You can follow her on Twitter here.

(Synopsis, select quotes, and biography provided by The Liffey Press.)

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