I love St. Patrick’s Day, and, in two more sleeps, we’re going to be practically bathing in everything Irish. However, before I write another word I have to tell you I’ve got so much Irish in my gene pool that the deep end is bright green. Half my family came from the Land of Blarney, so on St. Paddy’s Day, I’ve got a ton more right to have a howl and a dance than most people singing “Whiskey in the Jar” and sucking on the Bushmills. And, truth be told, I’ve done my share of singing and sucking over the years. With that in mind, here is some interesting stuff about Ireland.
The reason they call it “The Emerald Isle” is it rains in Ireland — a lot. In any given 24 hour period — summer or winter — it will rain for 12 of them. However, it’s a little known fact that the rainstorms in Ireland last exactly the amount of time it takes to drink a Guinness (2 Carlsbergs.) So as the Irish go about their business, every day when it starts to rain, they nip into a pub, order a pint and wait it out. This is why the Irish have a reputation for drinking — they’re smart enough to come in out of the rain.
James Joyce is a wonderful writer — a Nobel Prize winner. He wrote The Dubliners, The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses — all worthy efforts. However, in the English-speaking world James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake is the international symbol for Bullshit! If you meet someone who has read/is reading/is thinking about reading or even owns a copy of Finnegan’s Wake, stop — don’t make eye contact, and back away slowly. You have encountered A Pompous Ass. The fact is Finnegan’s Wake is unreadable — anybody who tells you any different is an off-the-charts intellectual git. And I can’t prove it, but I think the only reason Joyce wrote Finnegan’s Wake is so the world would have an easy way to recognize this brand of Academic Nincompoopery.
There are no female leprechauns. This is yet another example of the Irish constantly getting screwed. Simple biology aside, what other culture has an all-male mythology? Hell, even the Smurfs got a girl — eventually.
“The Luck Of The Irish” is a total misnomer. Think about it! The history of Ireland is a litany of war, conquest, rebellion, oppression, famine, another rebellion — oh yeah, a little more famine — oppression again, one more rebellion, even more oppression, civil war, soul-eating poverty, a couple of economic tsunamis and yet another civil war. Plus, on the days the Irish weren’t shooting at each other or slowly starving to death, they were leaving Ireland in a Diaspora of biblical proportion. LUCK? I don’t think so! But the weird thing is even after a millennia of catastrophe and calamity, the Irish are still the friendliest people on this planet. They’re worse than Texans! Show up in Ireland with a smile on your face and you’ll think you landed in Celtic Disneyland. The locals simply can’t do enough for you.
And that’s Ireland’s gift to the world. If they can still live, love, laugh and be happy after all the crap they’ve been through, there’s hope for the rest of us. So, on March 17th, go out and have a grand time.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.
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.