As Ambassador of Ireland to Israel, an important part of my job is to enhance the bilateral relationship between our two countries. One way to do that is to explore the history of that relationship and to make it available to the general public. Another way is to record some of the activities that come my way that offer insights into aspects of the life of both countries, sometimes related and sometimes not. This is what you will find on my blog. The blog about the history of the Litvak community in Ireland, my tour of Yad Vashem and my visit to UNTSO are the first examples of this from my new home here in Israel.
Prior to Israel, I served as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea and to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, both complex societies with deep historical roots. The exploration of the history of relations between Korea and Ireland turned out to be quite compelling: themes of empire, war and faith (both spiritual and secular) over-lapped and intersected. As the accredited Ambassador, I had the opportunity of visiting Pyongyang and taking field trips to see the work of Irish NGO Concern and UN agencies, particularly the WFP.
Over the years of my posting (2009-13) I issued a series of Ambassador’s Messages via email to the Irish community in Korea and friends and contacts, including Koreans interested in the Irish relationship with Korea. Many of these messages were of only contemporary interest such as assessments of the Irish economy or contingency planning during an emergency. Some others though may have more enduring interest, such as information on the first Irishmen in Korea, the Irish Columban mission to Korea and Irish involvement in the Korean War. They are now available on this blog.
The content of this blog is then offered by a serving Ambassador but the views expressed are my own. You will notice themes that personally interest me; Ireland naturally and the stories of the Irish abroad, history and how its shapes us, culture and how it informs us, and the serendipitous connections that not only surprise us but in themselves create new narratives or recover lost ones.
As I found with the Ambassador’s Messages, the internet is a fertile new dimension enriching relations between people, connecting their current interests and activities, recovering their lost or forgotten stories. I hope that this blog, from my privileged position between Ireland and Israel, helps to do just that.