Today is my last MA class in Queens for this year. I know that certain people scoff at adult learners, indeed in my day it was quite an embarrassment. But returning to Queens, graduating and going on to start my MA has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I have ever done in my life.
We are never too old to be challenged, and there is no doubt that studying a subject with which you feel you are completely familiar is a robust challenge. The first time I read Liam Kennedy's MOPE article, I threw it across the room in rage and disgust. I thought the man was bonkers, to be honest, or that he was missing some deep understanding of the Irish psyche.
It has taken some time to realise that we have created this 'imagined Ireland' concept, and it has been a construct in many ways. One of the best books on the subject is Eric Hosbawm's 'Invented Traditions'. He explores and explodes many myths about the things we feel have been 'there forever'. More to the point, he looks at the reasons for doing so.
I am always preaching that we should never be comfortable in our views, we should always search seek and challenge what we believe in and why.