Beyond the conversations of political anoraks and the medium of Twitter, the question of the constitutional future of Northern Ireland is gaining legs.
The injection of life into this debate was substantiated by results of a new poll carried out by LucidTalk for the Sunday Times only a few weeks ago, which indicated a majority of voters in Northern Ireland want a border poll to be held in the next five years.
It seems quite a stretch to imagine that in the space of five years we will be in a place where preparations for a referendum on Northern Ireland's constitutional future - not yet under way in a consolidated, or official, manner - will be near completion, an island-wide campaign in motion and the date for a border poll set in stone.
While the timeline of any future referendum is unclear, constitutional realignment on the island of Ireland - once perceived as a notion held onto only by Irish nationalists - has been undeniably thrust into the immediacy by Brexit and now sits at the centre of constitutional political discourse in a way that no group or political party could have manufactured in a decade.
As the debate hastens, we are beginning to see - and rightly so - the verbal commitment of New Irelanders to involve unionists in this conversation.
Rest assured, you will hear this commitment in party conference speeches, interviews and forums moving forward, but for it to be meaningful and substantive, any posturing or condescension must go. Intentions in striking up this engagement must run deeper than mere political strategy.
In recent weeks, we have seen the senior DUP figures, a party more known for its sneering at the idea of there ever even being a referendum on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland, let alone consider a majority vote in favour of change, now vocalising the need for unionism to prepare for one - an admission long overdue.
Previously, Peter Robinson had been a lone voice when he expressed the need for unionism to prepare for a border poll when speaking at the MacGill Summer School in July 2018; yet the rolling in of East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson behind the former First Minister's remarks reveal in itself that this discussion is no longer something that can be dismissed out of hand.
Moving forward, no conversation on constitutional realignment should be avoided or stalled because unionists feel uneasy. In fact, it would do unionism, as a brand, the world of good to come out swinging (metaphorically) in defence of the Union.
It would be refreshing to watch the pro-Union message, as we know it in Northern Ireland, delve into new waters, casting its electoral net wider so as to appeal to communities, households and individuals which it has never before electorally relied upon, as the core unionist vote alone would prove deficient in any forthcoming referendum.
But this is about more than sparring with political unionism on the merits of the Union or otherwise. Rather, engagement with those who identify as unionist, whether by osmosis or by choice, is less about canvassing for constitutional change and more about working in an authentic and gracious way to minimise genuine fears of those unionists who agonise at the prospect of constitutional change. That said, reassurance from afar will ring hollow.
In the words of C S Lewis, "what you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing" and, by goodness, we are not nearly standing close enough to communities fearful of change for our promises of inclusion to be worth their salt.
As I see it, the most important task of all lies not in detailing the plans or choreographing the campaign, but rather preventing this conversation from pushing communities further apart in the process.
We are already seeing objections to the new Irish Sea border sprayed on the gable end walls of loyalist communities who see its implementation as a much bigger symbolic threat than the actual problems it logistically presents.
The war of words now underway as a result of the irrational decision by the European Commission to trigger Article 16 on Friday, before moving back from the brink mere hours later, has distracted from the calm political environment needed to see through these difficulties.
A debacle that serves as a sharp reminder that dialogue, even with those whom we stand ideologically a world apart, is the only way forward. When all is said and done, a New Ireland which inherits decades of unconfronted division, with whole groups of people feeling displaced, would be the furthest thing from a New Ireland in all but name. Generosity will be tested and flexibility required.
Any pre-conceived ideas about a New Ireland will be put to the test; not everyone will get everything they want, but everything must be on the table.
There may only be one canvas, but we must make that canvas as big as possible and ensure there are plenty of paintbrushes to pass around.
Heather Wilson is the SDLP's first representative from a unionist background to stand for council. She writes in a personal capacity