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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 25 February, 2020

"I see myself as 90% Irish...with some Brit bits"

Sean Moncrieff’s new book is about the Irish Paradox.

Source: Video

SEAN MONCRIEFF’S NEW book is an area of fertile ground: a study in the contradictions which make up Irish people.

Moncrieff, the host of the eponymous Newstalk programme, has penned The Irish Paradox, a study in what makes us tick as a nation which also weaves in his own experiences growing up.

Raised as the only son of an Irish mother and Scottish father in London, Moncrieff was raised believing that his Irishness set him apart, that it was special.

However, after moving to Ireland aged 12, he realised that Irishness is something the Irish jealously guarded. At one point, a schoolmate even called him a “Brit bastard”.

Speaking to this week, Moncrieff said that he discovered when he was in his 20s that his Irishness is not like others’.

“I see myself as Irish, but I always have.

“But it’s something that I had to figure out in my 20s that it was different than if you’d grown up in the same town and died in the same town and knew everyone in the same town.

“I’m 90% Irish…with some Brit bits and that’s ok.”

Moncrieff says his “Brit bits” include a “penchant for safety” and a strict adherence to rules.

I think growing up in England, you inhale the idea that there are rules and the rules are there to be obeyed, whereas in Ireland there’s an attitude of “well, they’re not adhering to the rules, why should I?

The book goes into Moncrieff’s own search to work out more about his parents, particularly his mother.

“I think my mother almost was a symbol of Ireland in that she was guarded and closed off.

“She didn’t even tell us why she ended up in London…so there’s a lot of me speculating.

“You have to leave gaps, it can’t all make sense.

“Being Irish doesn’t make sense, really.”

Tomorrow we bring you Sean’s take on taxes, drinking, and a United Ireland.

Video by Daragh Brophy.

The Irish Paradox is out now and can be bought here.

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