Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Our Man In Hibernia

In the summer of 2008 I emigrated to Ireland. ‘Emigrated’ is a strong word and sounds odd when applied to a mere decampment from London to Dublin, not least when Irish history is riddled with far more distant and traumatic emigrations than mine, but as the Leaving The United Kingdom forms I filed with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs confirmed (I thought briefly about enclosing a photo of my bare bottom and inviting them to pucker up), I’d left one country for another. I am that scourge of the right wing press: an immigrant.

Our Man In Hibernia follows my attempts to assimilate in Ireland, matching the image of the nation I’d gleaned through a couple of dozen London St Patrick’s Days, countless theme pubs and a low-wattage career as a musician on the UK Irish music circuit with the reality of living here. A kind of Driving Over Potatoes, if you like, only with worse jokes.

As well as chugging around the country getting into scrapes and making the usual fool of myself (although I should stress that at no stage did I ever take a fridge with me) I also set about tracing my hitherto unexplored Irish roots. What I found was an essentially Irish story and one that surprised me; shocked me even. It was a story that gave me an idea as to why despite being born and raised in London I’ve always felt drawn to the western side of the Irish Sea and why I am glad that Ireland is my home.

The book will be published by Little, Brown in September this year. This blog accompanies the book: with its regular updates and dispatches from this sleek suite of offices full of nubile and sexy young things, or something, it’s the internet equivalent of pressing the red button on your remote control.

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