Irishness has always been a tricky one for me, because I am what the Irish would call a blow-in. Growing up in Ireland, I don't know if I felt English but I definitely felt different to everyone else.
What does "blow-in" mean?
He is an Englishman, who apparently came to Ireland at an early age -"growing up in Ireland".
So - not being Irish by birth, he is seen as 'separate', 'different', like something blown in on the wind from overseas and landing on their shores.