In researching my family history recently I discovered a few amazing facts. My maternal grandmother, Bridie Barry Sullivan, grew up on a remote isle off the cost of southern County Kerry, Ireland. Every day she and her family would catch fresh fish and would take a small boat into the shores of Chirseveen, Ireland for school times. Life was not only simpler back then but also a lot more efficient and self-sustaining. If they wanted a glass of milk, they’d take a boat ashore to buy some from a local farmer. If they wanted to warm up the place, they would simply put another log on the fireplace in the living room of the house her father built with his own two hands.
The wonderful legacy that brought both sides of my family from Ireland to America has results that are both far-reaching and, overall, very positive today. Another distinct advantage is that I have two identities: one as an American and another as an Irishman. Okay I’m not 100% Irish; there is 25% Polish in the mix on my dad’s side but it’s not as easy to embrace such a small percentage. In having this dual identity I also have the legal right to dual citizenship. This means if I become a full-fledged Irish citizen I can vote in their elections, buy property in the European Union and even collect both an American and Irish retirement plan when I’m old and gray. In a time when America feels more like a third world country and jobs and resources are becoming more and more scarce in battle ridden political strife, becoming an Irish citizen and a member of the European Union seems more and more appealing.
Beyond politics, beyond flags and beyond the fact that it would be a great place to claim refuge in case the bottom truly falls out in the US, it sounds like fun. Now if you’ve read the news in Ireland you’ll needless to say learn that the bottom has fallen out there too; Ireland is in trouble both politically and financially. Nonetheless, citizenship is a gateway to the European Union. Once you’re a dual citizen you can plop yourself not only in the far away remote Irish countryside but in any country that is a member of the union throughout all of Europe. My godfather owns a small farm house and property he inherited from my mothers side years back that I can visit and stay in as a sort of family bed and breakfast. It’s in a part of Ireland so remote that it’s hard to get a WIFI signal if the weather is rainy, which it is often — but milk, eggs, cheese, and freshly caught fish or butchered beef are only a bike ride away from local farms. Some might argue you can find this same simple life in America. Then maybe it means I’m partial to living in Europe. I think it satisfies some innate craving to return to the old country we all came from at some point in our pilgrimage to America. In many ways, beyond politics it’s poetic for me.
Not only would this simple life be of value to me, but also to my wife and our future children who could legally take part in the benefits of Irish citizenship. They could get free educations at top tier EU countries as well as full healthcare coverage — something we have yet to achieve in the US. Beyond political borders and blind American patriotism, I want a nice safe life for my family and myself. Ireland — or any place for that matter but the US — just might be that solution.