We've just returned home from a St Patrick's Day outing with a couple dozen friends from church. As we sat on a hill overlooking the Irish Sea and our children chased kites and sliotars and dogs, I couldn't help but think:
Ireland is a breaker of many hearts.
The Irish diaspora is far and wide, with millions of Irish souls living in distant lands. My own great-great-grandparents were among those who left Ireland during a famine which saw a quarter of its population die or emigrate.
But there's a good number of us - the blow-ins who came for a time, grew to love the island and her people, and for reasons beyond our control have had to move on - who live with the ache of a place they once called home.
We've spent our own fair share of time on both sides of the sea, and as I share photos or a Paddy's Day post, I'm mindful of those who have loved Ireland and left it behind.
For those who once were paddies, as you are missing Ireland today, know that we are missing you, too.
PS - a collection of all things Irish on ye auld blog.