Even hardened republicans and loyalists around today can’t have failed to notice that the world around them is changing.
It must surely be dawning on them that England, Scotland, Wales and both Northern and Southern Ireland are inextricably intertwined.
I would even hazard a guess that their own extended families are decidedly mixed up.
There are, no doubt, staunch republicans with lots of English grandchildren or hardened loyalists with all sorts of Catholic connections.
Whether they like it or not both Protestants and Catholics in N Ireland, and also in the Republic, are a hybrid of British and Irish characteristics and identity.
We have a long, albeit bumpy, shared history on these two islands and there are possibly larger numbers living in Britain of Irish descent than the current population of Ireland.
Very significantly we are the only peoples for 3,000 miles for whom English is the main first language.
This has a huge effect and means we are connected in ways we will never be, for example, with France or Germany.
Just look at how our modern-day culture and celebrities on both islands are so utterly shared.
Indeed Ireland’s input seems disproportionate to its size. The late Terry Wogan, Bob Geldof, Gloria Honeyford, Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Graham Norton, James Galway, Dara O’Briain, AP, McCoy, Rory McIlroy, Seamus Heaney, U2, Westlife, Boyzone, Mrs Brown`s Boys and Father Ted are just some.
From X-Factor to Strictly, with all the poets, writers, actors, rock bands, celebrities and football teams in between, the contribution from Britain is enormous.
Yes there are differences, and the variations between us can be enriching, however it seems to me that we share much of our mental space.
A person from Cork could easily be as fascinated with the doings of the Royal Family, Manchester United or the Rolling Stones as someone in England might be with Seamus Heaney, Mrs Brown’s boys or Rory McIlroy.
All the travel, technology and instant communication of our modern digital world connect and bind us as never before in human history.
The question here in Northern Ireland is – when we are going to acknowledge this?
S Martin, Co Antrim