I was born in Cork and grew up there. I went to school with Cork children. My mother was considered mildly exotic because she came from Limerick (adjoining county about 40 miles away). We had a girl in our class in primary school whose mother came from Dubin and this was considered so exotic that there was an article about her mother in the Evening Echo. As I remember it, the headline was something like “Dublin Woman moves to Cork”; it’s not as though her mother was famous or had done anything very thrilling once she got to Cork. I suppose I’m saying that Cork in the 70s and 80s was a pretty homogenous place.
Obviously, going to school in Belgium, the Princess was never going to be in a class full of her compatriots but what amazes me is the range of nationalities in her class alone: Poles, Belgians, Pakistanis, North Africans, South Americans and one Irish girl. This morning she explained to me that she had a cooked lunch in school yesterday (itself a matter calling for some investigation as she had left the house with a sandwich, but we will leave that to one side) but not the same as the “musulmans” because they don’t eat meat. I explained to her that the English word was Muslims and they do eat meat but it has to be prepared in a particular way. It is amazing to me that she knows more about other religions and other cultures at four than I did at fourteen. I can’t help feeling that there is quite a lot to be said for globalisation all the same.