Two different kinds of Irishness
“If you think of Michael and myself as comprising a microcosm of Irishness, it’s interesting,” says Richman Kenneally.
“Michael has a traditional Irish diaspora story. He came here from Ireland after high school. He still goes back and has lots of family members there.”
In contrast, “I don’t have one molecule of Irishness in my DNA,” Richman Kenneally notes. “My father and maternal grandparents emigrated to Canada to escape antisemitism. So, Michael is an immigrant, and I chose to embrace Irishness as another facet of my already rich heritage.”
Richman Kenneally is now an Irish citizen who has been travelling to Ireland since the two were married 41 years ago. “I have become a diasporic person and feel that affinity, although not in the same way Michael does, but through my own visceral attachment,” she says.
“These are two distinct kinds of Irishness, and each of us understands this award in separate ways.”