My Heart Tonight Is Far Away, Across The Rolling Sea.

This moment is not a gift from Ireland to LGBT community. It’s the other way round. Thanks for making us proud of ourselves again. – Fintan O’Toole.

It is an historic occasion, of course: The first time a country has put the question of gay marriage to a national referendum. But it is a vanishingly tiny event, and yet somehow an enormous, epochal moment. It is not just that the overwhelmingly Catholic Irish voted Tá, Comhionannas – Yes, Equality – it’s that the Yes vote came out of the lace-curtain districts of South Dublin as well as Dublin’s working class districts of Darndale and Ballymun, and it was Tá in my late dad’s hills around Midleton and Glanmire in East Cork and in the old Barony of Upper Tulla in East Clare around my mum’s family’s farm, between Bodyke and Tuamgraney.

My column this week was in anticipation of it. If the Yes side wins on Friday, the great cause that Daniel O’Connell championed will not be betrayed. It will be vindicated. The Emancipation of 1826 will at last count within its embrace those who were “stamped by the Creator with no inferiority,” and yet were set apart even so by Ireland’s 1937 constitution as aliens and outcasts. Tá, comhionannas — Yes, equality — would stand not only as an overdue triumph in the cause of the emancipation of the Catholic Irish. It would stand as well as another small assurance, a tiny bit of hope, that the unjustly treated, everywhere, will one day win.

While I’m at it here’s from my column last weekWell thanks a lot, Alan Borovoy, you noodge. Now of all times you choose to die. Grand old man of Canadian liberty. Scourge of racist bosses, bullying speech codes and the state’s outrages against equality, fair play and decency. Five rough-and-tumble decades of struggle since the days of Africville in Nova Scotia. And just when we needed the moral clarity of your voice the most, just when the principles you spent your life defending have started to sink in a swamp of nonsense and incoherence, you decide to leave us.

I’ll leave the last word to Una MullallyThe decency of the Irish people was not limited to the liberal leafy suburbs of Dublin, nor the solidarity from the flats, but that decency came from the cliffs of Donegal, the lakes of Cavan, the farmyards of Kildare, the lanes of Kerry. . . I burst into tears after I voted yesterday.

I am happy to join a great many people from all over the earth who are thanking you for this, Ireland. Go raibh maith agaibh.

About Terry Glavin

Terry Glavin has worked as a reporter, columnist and editor for a variety of newspapers. His assignments in recent years have taken him to Afghanistan, Israel, the Russian Far East, the Eastern Himalayas, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Geneva, China and Central America. He is the author of seven books and the co-author of three. His books have been published in Canada, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. He has won more than a dozen literary and journalism awards, including the Hubert Evans Prize and several National Magazine Awards, and the B.C. Lieutenant-Governor's Award for Literary Excellence. Terry's most recent book is Come From the Shadows - The Long and Lonely Struggle For Peace in Afghanistan.
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1 Response to My Heart Tonight Is Far Away, Across The Rolling Sea.

  1. magick2015 says:


    Excellent column, we’re giving it a wide distribution. We have been watching this vote very closely and it is indeed wonderful news and an important new liberty for the Irish. We are delighted and singing for joy….long past due.

    My late mother and all her family were Irish and thus the reason I have an Irish name, as is my wife Marie. I have always loved Ireland so much I had hoped that when we retired we would live there permanently, but alas my life was profoundly affected by the way the Canadian foreign service did horrible things for decades to try to destroy me, which believe me is a book in itself, besides the corruption, crime and espionage I discovered and reported.

    We made an annual trips to visit family in Ireland before the sudden end of my career in 1993 and my subsequent depression, but when I was at my worst, my wife returned alone each year.

    Now that I am back to normal, our trips together are once again an annual event. Unfortunately, during the Celtic Tiger, house prices soared and while they have since dropped they are still far higher than the value of our house in sleepy, boring Ottawa.

    Marie was born in Dublin, eldest of eight children and one adopted orphan boy, she lived there until her early adulthood, when a sense of adventure brought her to Canada. Most of her relatives live in south Dublin, Kildare and Wexford.

    I know that all of her relatives and others will be delighted to read your very moving column as she has done, which I am now forwarding to them.


    Erin go Bragh




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