Yes, it’s that time of year again when it seems everyone wants to be Irish, at least for a day (or night). St. Patrick’s Day is certainly one of most widely celebrated national holidays on the planet. And, sure, why wouldn’t it be? The Irish and their descendants are to be found all over the world, as are their pubs (or reasonable facsimiles of them, anyway). There are 80 million people who claim Irish ancestry, 34 million of them in the United States alone. Since 1700, it is estimated that around 10 million people, born in Ireland, emigrated. Astonishing, considering the population of Ireland today is only around 5 million.
What did all those Irish people bring to the world? Fun, music, wit and friendliness (or craic, as we call it), and you’re very welcome indeed. I mean, almost everyone knows songs like Molly Malone, the Wild Rover, and Black Velvet Band. How many popular can you sing from Japan, Hungary, Peru, or Germany (unless you’re from there, of course)? Then there’s Gulliver’s Travels, Dracula, Waiting for Godot, My Fair Lady, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Chronicles of Narnia, and hundreds of other works.
Do you want wit and wisdom? Try these:
The majority of the members of the Irish parliament are professional politicians, in the sense that otherwise they would not be given jobs minding mice at crossroads. – Flann O’Brien.
Notice in a Co. Down field …. “TRESPASSERS PROSECUTED – PLEASE SHUT THE GATE”.
My grandmother made dying her life’s work. – Hugh Leonard.
He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career. -George Bernard Shaw.
Rome wasn’t built in A.D. – Flann O’Brien.
It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody. – Brendan Behan.
God then made man. The Italians for their beauty. The French for their cuisine. The Welsh for their voices. The Germans for their cars. And on and on until He looked at what He had created and said, “This is all very well, but no-one is having fun. I’ll have to make an Irishman.”
Being Irish, I have an abiding sense of tragedy which sustains me through temporary periods of joy. – W.B. Yeats.
All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed. – Sean O’Casey.
A newspaper in Ireland published the headline: “Half the council are crooks”, but was asked to retract it. The following week it ran the heading: “Half the council are NOT crooks”.
Have you heard about the Irish boomerang? It doesn’t come back, it just sings sad songs about how much it wants to.
The vote means nothing to women. We should be armed. – Edna O’Brien.
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go. – Oscar Wilde.