Every publisher or agent I've ever met told me the same thing - that Irish readers don't want to read about the bad old days of the Troubles; neither do the English and Americans - they only want to read about the Ireland of The Quiet Man, when red-haired widows are riding bicycles and everyone else is on a horse.
I don't know if that's a year's bad luck, or if that's how it works. But stealing a Christmas tree - that can't be a good thing, karma-wise.
Irish fathers still have certain responsibilities, and by the time my two daughters turned seven, they could swim, ride a bike, sing at least one part of a Woody Guthrie song, and recite all of W. B. Yeats's 'The Song of Wandering Aengus.'
Because of England's lack of social mobility, unless they make truly heroic efforts, writers who are privately educated and then go on to Oxbridge or an institution like the BBC will generally embarrass themselves when they attempt to have a go at working- or lower middle-class characters.
After secondary school, the big thing to do was apply for uni in England or Scotland and then just stay there.