23 October 2018

A few days in Seville
as I enjoy travelling on
my new Irish passport

I am staying in the Hotel Las Casas de la Judería de Sevilla, in the heart of the old Jewish quarter of Seville (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

I will arise and go now,
and go to Inisfree,
And a small cabin build there
of clay and wattles made

I arose early this morning and caught a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Seville, and I am here for the next few days on a city break, having arrived late this afternoon [23 October 2018].

I am staying in the Hotel Las Casas de la Judería de Sevilla, an unusual hotel complex made up of 27 traditional houses, where the 134 different rooms are linked through 40 patios, courtyards, gardens and a labyrinth of small passageways, balconies and Roman-style tunnels.

The hotel takes its name from its location in the heart of the old Jewish quarter of Seville, just minutes away from the main landmarks in the city.

Houses continue to be added to this intriguing hotel, and it is a pleasure and a surprise to be lost by the fountains, in the vegetation of the courtyards as I wander through this maze.

This interesting location is an invitation to spend time over the next few days exploring the Jewish quarter on my doorstep, and to get lost in the labyrinth of alleys in this area.

This is my sixth passport and just my third time to travel with my new Irish passport issued in August. The features on this newly-designed passport include those opening lines from ‘The Lake Isle of Inisfree’ by William Butler Yeats, as well as excerpts from poems in Irish by Nuala Ní Dhommhnaill and in Ulster Scots, as well as the score of the National Anthem.

The new passport includes images of Irish landmarks and Irish scenery, including Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo, Kylemore Abbey, Co Galway, the Convention Centre in Dublin, the Samuel Beckett Bridge, the Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary, the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare, the Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road and Croke Park, as well depictions of Irish music and dance, Irish wildlife the Tara Brooch, the Book of Kells and Gaelic games – including the Sam Maguire Cup for football and the Liam McCarthy Cup for hurling – and horse racing.

The passport also quotes the words: ‘It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish nation.’

One nine-year-old born in Dublin has found in recent days that this does not apply to him, and faces deportation China, and perhaps 3,000 to 5,000 vulnerable children, who are undocumented or whose birth does not give them automatic Irish citizenship, may be facing the threat of deportation.

I am thinking of their vulnerability and yet cherishing my own freedom to travel as I invite you to join me over these next few days as I travel freely through southern Spain and hopefully into Morocco in north Africa later this week and to share my experiences with me.

My new Irish passport quotes a birthright that not every person born in Ireland seems to be able to claim (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

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