The gifting of a Certificate of Irish Heritage to actor Tom Cruise seems to be generating more outrage than good will for Irish tourism. Here’s a sample of reader comments from The Irish Times story:
Millionaire American discovered to have Irish ancestry. This wouldn’t be the Year Of The Gathering would it?
Anything to get the tourists in! What next? Osama Bin Ladens great great granny was from Aran Mór?
This desperate need to claim everyone and everything as Irish is pathetic.
The Times also did a story in October about how the CIH wasn’t attracting much support. It suggested “a paltry 0.00167 per cent of our 60 million diaspora are willing to shell out €40 for a piece of paper that proclaims their right to eat Taytos and to stand up when the DJ plays the national anthem doesn’t bode well for The Gathering 2013, our ‘spectacular, year-long celebration of all things Irish.’ “
Besides, “Far and Away” was horrible, in part because of TC’s terrible Irish accent.
So was the Foreign Births Registration of Irish citizenship I obtained in 1997 a similar sentimental shakedown? I don’t think so. At least I’ve known most of my Irish relatives in person. And the Ireland/EU passport I hold is a real document, hardly something “suitable for framing.”
At least it lets me walk through the “Irish Only” line at Dublin Airport.