A moving and intimate portrayal of the Irish diaspora, filled with humor, personal anecdotes, and insightful observations.
Publisher: Earnshaw Books
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During a family dinner when Mark O’Neill was in his early teens, his father suddenly spoke in his long-hidden Irish accent, sparking a lifelong journey for Mark to discover his Irish roots. This journey took him through Scotland, where he worked as a reporter in Belfast during the Troubles, and eventually led him to the Far East in 1978, where he continued his search for what it meant to be Irish.
Mark discovered the deep influence of Irish culture in Hong Kong, China, and Japan, where he encountered Irish missionaries, doctors, judges, authors, and even a bandmaster who composed Japan’s national anthem. He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, a Presbyterian missionary who had lived in northeast China for 45 years, and was overjoyed to find the church his grandfather built still standing, with a congregation happy to welcome him.
The Irish have a long history of emigrating from their homeland, and since the 19th century, they have established a presence in Asia. Now, the trend has reversed, with the Chinese migrating to Ireland, including the likes of Hazel Chu, elected Lord Mayor of Dublin in 2020, and various IT experts and celebrity chefs. This touching and personal account of the Irish diaspora is filled with humor, anecdotes, and insightful observations.