An Irish journey, shared by all: We are a nation of exiles

Sean Carlson // Twitter: @seancarlson

The notion that St. Patrick wasn’t Irish may sound sacrilegious, but Ireland’s most famous patron saint was, in fact, born abroad.

Captured from mainland Britain — which was at the time under Roman rule — he arrived in his adopted land against his wishes. Eventually escaping Ireland, he later returned there on his own volition, leaving his mark as the religious figure we celebrate.

Today, crowds gather — as they do every year — on account of a saint who lived 16 centuries ago. It isn’t simply that everybody becomes Irish for a day. It’s rather that the Irish experience, like the experience of St. Patrick, resonates so broadly. Theirs is a story of departure as well as arrival, a reminder of leaving home, of those left behind.

My mom’s parents lived their entire lives outside a small village in the southwest of Ireland. My grandmother visited England once, but my grandfather never left his country. He insisted that if the Lord had meant for him to be anywhere else, He would have put him there.

Over the course of 24 years, my grandparents had 16 children: 8 daughters, 8 sons, no twins. My mom was the 15th…

The remainder of the essay can be read through the New York Daily News.

Sean Carlson, will be reading on Tuesday, March 18 at the Irish American Writers & Artists salon at the Cell Theatre (338 W 23rd St., New York).

* Formerly a manager of global communications and public affairs at Google, Sean Carlson recently finished writing his first book, a family memoir of love and loss set against the struggles of a community and its country experiencing the great changes of the twentieth century. Learn more at: