I would grin, relieved they liked me since most of them carried guns, while not knowing quite what to say. One day I responded by reciting the first verse of W.B. Yeats’ “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”. That did the trick. In Australia, where I now live, people also say they like my accent but they don’t ask for more.
I had joined the Irish abroad, the “diaspora” as Mary Robinson, our ex-president christened us. She started the tradition of keeping a candle lighting in a front window of the presidential residence to remind those still living in Ireland of those of us who don’t. As soon as I left Ireland the Celtic Tiger was born and the economy flourished.