I'm Welsh and mightily proud of it. But I'm also a Celt - I feel it in my bones.
I have a particular pull towards Ireland which goes back to before I can remember. Listening to my father's Daniel O'Donnell tapes in the car as a child imparted in me that balladic Irish sound and the names of the geographic landmarks of the Emerald Isle.
I find its history and politics fascinating and for followers of my blog that will have been clear by my regular posts on the recent general election there.
I've been to Belfast twice and fell in love with the city instantly. Despite the troubles, it has grown into a confident new 21st century city whilst still holding onto some of those old enmities. I've been up to (London) Derry too and it's another beautiful city. So enraptured was I of my first experience there in May 2007 that I got together a rag-bag group of 8 of us to go there to celebrate the '08/'09 New Year there too! I've only been to Dublin on one very brief though memorable occasion back in 2002 but I do desperately want to explore south and western Ireland. The Cork's, Limerick's and Galway's of the world are high up on my list of places that I want to visit.
There's something about the culture of the place and of the Irish joy de vivre that just bowls me over.
Nowhere can it be encapsulated better than in the memorising, hypnotic Riverdance. Here are Michael Flatley and Jean Butler leading the case as the interval act at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin in 1994.
For me, it sums up everything that is uniquely Irish. The passion, the history, the wonderful wonderful music, the melancholy, the precise, the sublime.
I love Ireland and if I ever had had the great misfortune of not being born Welsh and had had the choice of nationality left with me then I'd have chosen to have been Irish.