A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
It takes more than a green t-shirt and a belly full of beer to make you Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Well, no. Actually, it doesn’t. However, if you want to appear to be more than just a Liam-come-lately to the party, you need to know a little bit about the Emerald Isle. Here are a few quick and dirties to help you out:
“I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen,” that great Irish ballad, was written in Indiana by Thomas Westendorf, a German-American (whose wife’s name, BTW, was Jennie.)
The O’Connell Bridge across the River Liffey is the only bridge in Europe that’s wider than it is long.
The windmills in Ireland turn clockwise, which is exactly the opposite of the way they turn everyplace else on the planet.
What’s the difference between Bono and God? God doesn’t walk around acting as if he’s Bono.
There are two official languages in Ireland: English and Irish. Most stuff is bilingual and everybody speaks English, but if you act like a jackass, especially in the West Country, you might find yourself facing a solid wall of no comprendo Gaelic. Just sayin’.
The Guinness Book of World Records holds the Guinness World Record for books most often stolen from public libraries.
In Dublin, between 6 pm Friday and 3 am Monday, approximately 10,000 pints of beer are consumed — every hour.
The remains of St Valentine (who isn’t a saint, anymore)are in Ireland. You can visit the shrine at Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin.
And speaking of saints, Saint Patrick isn’t one. There is no evidence that St. Patrick was ever canonized.
And, hold on to your shillelagh: Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish! In fact, chances are good, he was — OMG — English.
A word to the wise though: don’t go spouting those last two nuggets of knowledge promiscuously around the pub. It just might put the ire in your Irish friends — permanently. As my great uncle used to say, “You never want to give a Celt an opportunity to hate you.” Sound advice.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.