My name is Scott de Buitléir. In March 2018, my book The Irish Outlander: Discovering the Irish Meaning of Home was published. The book mixes my story with those of other Irish emigrants (living in UK, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and many other countries around the world), to find out what 'home' means to a people for whom emigration is part of the national psyche. The book came about as a result of me living in Nottingham for a year. I was home for Christmas, sitting in a café in Dublin city centre. I found myself having a strange moment: I was in my home city but I didn't live there. I've always been passionate and proud of Ireland and Irish culture, but now I was an Irish person living aboard, just visiting. In the UK, I often found myself connecting to Irish culture day-to-day - whether seeing signs on an Irish bar or meeting other Irish people. I certainly wasn't the first Irish person to live abroad, so it made me wonder whether others felt the same way? Do I place same level of weight and importance on these moments as others? I think of migration, and especially emigration, as a core part of Irish culture. We've been leaving Ireland not just since the Famine times, but long before too. For example, Irish monks in Leuven, the Flight of the Earls or the San Patricio army in Mexico. We've an ancient culture of going elsewhere. It's ingrained into the Irish psyche. I started to write about this from my own perspective. I wondered whether I noticed the same type of things and felt the same emotions as other Irish people? So I began to ask other people these questions: what does home mean to you? If you returned to Ireland, what brought you back? In some ways, the results were as I expected. Some people were very homesick, with a great affinity for Ireland. Some were happy to be abroad, proud of being Irish, but with no desire to return more than for a visit. The strength of responses really hit me. One of my favourites was from a man from Kilkenny who lived in Canada for twenty years. He said: "We have a connection with Ireland, rooted in the land. It goes down for miles and miles and centuries and centuries." It's such a meaningful description, and very characteristic of Irish art. Through the book, and the contributions, I came to realise that, personally, I don't just have one home, but several. I have connections to Dublin (where I grew up, where my parents live), Cork (where I live now), Nottingham (where I lived for a year) and Belfast (where I lived for 6 months during a formative period of my life) Home is not just one place, but many places or periods of time.
|Subject Terms||Ireland, Eire, Human migration, Cultural identity, Cultural alienation|