Home is Where the Heart is

Irish Hero
Irish Dances

I was born in Glasgow. Most of my forebears, however, were Irish immigrants who had come to Scotland due to the potato famines.

I am proud to be Irish-Scots. The Irish worked in the mines, steelworks and factories in the late 19th and 20th centuries and, despite considerable poverty and hardship, contributed greatly to the economic, cultural and social expansion of Scotland.

As children growing up in the mid-20th century, my siblings and I were exposed to both Scottish and Irish traditions in music, art and literature. This rich Celtic heritage is one I have come to value more and more as I grow older.

I have lived in England most of my adult life but still feel that sense of home which is Glasgow. Indeed, I often experience a strong sense of nostalgia when I recall my life and my family in Scotland.

However, I have strong roots in England too. All my children are Anglo-French ( Michèle was French) and all my grandchildren are English-born. I feel at home here in England and have developed a close affinity with its people and culture. So where is home?

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that “home” is not a physical place. Rather, “home” is a state of being – a felt sense of love and belonging. It resides internally, a part of my own personal “inscape”. In other words “Home is where my Heart is”

The music I have selected above forms part of this “inscape”, this sense of home in all its guises. “Home” is a pretty little melody and is essentially my “English home“. “Nostalgia” represents my feelings of longing for Scotland. “Irish Hero” is dedicated to all those Irish Scots who have contributed so much to Scotland’s way of life. Finally, “Irish Dances” recalls memories of a happy childhood with my family where Irish and Scottish music (plus a wee bit of Sinatra and Tchaikovsky) cohabited sweetly in my heart.


John sharing a piano moment with his cousin, Michelle. Please note his sisters’ Irish dancing cups on the piano and the ‘Sacred Heart’ picture which was a feature of many Scottish and Irish Catholic homes.

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