There's no place like home

Last night I watched Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC1, featuring John Hurt's efforts to trace his family history. The programme started with Hurt, who was born in England to English parents, telling us how, when he first went to Ireland, he felt like he was 'coming home'. Unfortunately for Hurt, his investigations did not prove any Irish ancestry, and by the end of the programme he was left clearly disappointed.

I have never believed in this phenomenon of 'coming home to the place of my ancestors' - it is no more than wishful thinking. There is no record of 'place' stored in your genes. What Hurt experienced when he first visited Ireland was the beauty of the place and it's people, coupled with an erroneous belief that he shared ancestry with them.

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