• This Time and Now: identity & belonging in the Irish Diaspora: the Irish in Britain and second generational silence

      McCrory, Moy; University of Derby (Rodopi Press, 2012)
      The Irish in Britain have only recently been granted ethnic status. This blind spot which existed towards the Irish community, even as highly visible negative assumptions about the Irish circulated, resulted in a strange invisibility which simultaneously derided as it denied Irish identity, and failed to acknowledge the Irish as an ethnic group. This has effected how the generation born from the 1950’s/60’s migration into England can both consider and describe their notion of identity. Silence, denial and over identification reveal how the sense of non belonging, or ‘otherness’ is a common touch stone, and identification as a constant outsider is a prominent note. Criticisms of national identity levelled against the second generation from within the community reveal attitudes about ownership of a ‘nationhood’ which is still contested ground. Identity displayed through those visible traditions which are frequently stronger in displaced communities can not be taken as the sole markers of national belonging as memories, silences and post memories impact on such constantly evolving groups as are created by emigration. Historic patterns and beliefs which are traceable through the images, stories and customs which were originally brought over create an image bank with which the generation born in England might consider and negotiate its relationship to nation and home. This paper asks whether the models this generation grew up with, and which have begun the journey from lived experience into literature and into folklore, can still have a relevant social function when we consider the idea of identity and belonging?