Tag Archives: Irish

A Little Irish

St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday, so here are some numbers and facts on Ireland and the Irish.

1.76 million = Irish who say they speak Irish on occasion, when filing an affirmative action claim, or when they’re drunk
73 thousand = Irish who claim to speak it daily (source)

Irish does not have yes and no as words. Instead they respond affirmatively or negatively, such as “Sure, we do,” or “I wouldn’t say that.” Many of them follow this pattern in English too. (source)

6 = Number of times more likely you will be murdered in Ireland than in England or Wales. (source)

“It would be great then if the Americans and the Germans who come to Dublin in large numbers, and claim to love the city, had [Karl] Whitney’s book in hand rather than, say, Ulysses, or some official guide book, and began to pay attention to the city’s underground rivers and its great unfinished estates, not to speak of the strange bus routes and the many holes in the ground, the hidden and essential life of Dublin.”

All Irish can sing; many can dance. “Most – if not all – people I’ve met can do at least part of the original Riverdance. They bring it out at nightclubs, weddings, funerals. They also stand on tables and sing the national anthem at the end of the night. In Australia this only happens at sporting events, school assemblies and anti-immigration rallies but here it’s just the bar’s way of telling you to bugger off home. “

Death is a big deal. “I’ve been to better Irish funerals than Australian weddings. ” (source – cautions)

And from 2017 Port Music Series on Trad Tg4 Irish Music Channel comes this marvelous piece of singing.

Photo by Diogo Palhais on Unsplash

Longing of Two Kinds

I’ve let other things crowd out St. Patrick’s Day for me. My days have plodded steadily this year. I haven’t given much thought to future plans, but remained within the day.

Still, out of respect for the day, here are two poems with kinds of longing.

Patrick Pearse, “On the Strand of Howth” : (Entire poem)

Speaking in the night;
Of the voice of the birds
In Glenasmole

Happily, with melody,
Chanting music.

Seamus Heaney, “Mid-Term Break”

I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand
And tell me they were ‘sorry for my trouble’.
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest
Read more through the links.

Song of the Sea Movie

In case you didn’t see this at the beginning of summer, here’s the teaser trailer for the next animation from the people who brought us The Secret of Kells.

“SONG OF THE SEA tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse — the last Seal-child — who embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea. The film takes inspiration from the mythological Selkies of Irish folklore, who live as seals in the sea but become humans on land. SONG OF THE SEA features the voices of Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, David Rawle, Lisa Hannigan, Pat Shortt, Jon Kenny, Lucy O’Connell, Liam Hourican and Kevin Swierszsz. Music is by composer Bruno Coulais and Irish band Kíla, both of whom previously collaborated on The Secret of Kells.