Iʻm a quarter Irish. My father’s mother was named Theresa Mallon and her parents were from Inishtrahull, the Northernmost island in Ireland. So we’re island people through and through – Inishtrahull is only about a mile across and seems less than 100 yards wide at one point. It is hard to imagine more humble beginnings. It’s a rock. No one lives there now, but it was a fishing community – there was no way to make a living off that little land. The pictures of it give a sense of deep peace and serenity, but the conditions must have been brutal for all its inhabitants to leave. Iʻm not sure about it, but the timing of my great-grandparents’ departure is consistent with being due to the Potato famine. We think they were related to the Irish revolutionary Seamus Mallon, though Inishtrahull is in the Irish Republic, not Northern Ireland.