Thursday, March 17, 2011

Here's to the Irish on Saint Patrick's Day


When Irish eyes are smiling,

Sure, ‘tis like the morn in Spring.

In the lilt of Irish laughter

You can hear the angels sing.

When Irish hearts are happy,

All the world seems bright and gay.

And when Irish eyes are smiling,

Sure, they steal your heart away.

- The lyrics to When Irish Eyes are Smiling were written by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr. and set to the music of Enerst Ball for Ocott’s production of The Isle O’ Dreams.  The music was published in 1912.

A Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all! Everyone is Irish on this day. I’m no Maureen O’Hara and I don’t have a drop of Irish blood in me, but today I can share in the spirit of the Irish.

On St. Paddy’s Day, Number 16 presents some amusing and thought-provoking quotes about Ireland and the Irish.

In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs.

- John Pentland Mahaffy (1839-1919], Irish writer
From Mahaffy; W.B. Stanford and R.B. McDowell [1971]

Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.

- James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish novelist
From Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man [1916]

I'm Irish. We think sideways.

- Spike Milligan (1918-2002), Irish comedian
In Independent on Sunday, June 20, 1999

God made the grass, the air and the rain; and the grass, the air and the rain made the Irish; and the Irish turned the grass, the air and the rain back into God.

- Sean O’Faolain (1900-1991), Irish writer
From Holiday {June 1958}

English, Scotchmen, Jews, do well in Ireland – Irishmen never; even the patriot has to leave Ireland to get a hearing.

- George Moore (1852-1933)
From Ave [1911]. Overture

I am troubled. I’m dissatisfied, I’m Irish.

- Marianne Moore
From Spenser’s Ireland [1941]

And if ever ye ride in Ireland,
The jest may yet be said,
There is the land of broken hearts,
And the land of broken heads.

- Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)
From The Ballad of the White Horse {1911], book V

I could wish that the English kept history in mind more, that the Irish kept it in mind less.

- Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), Anglo-Irish novelist
From Notes on Eire, November 1949

The moment the very name of Ireland is mentioned, the English seem to bid adieu to common feeling, common prudence, and common sense, and to act with the barbarity of tyrants, and the fatuity of idiots.

- Sydney Smith {1771-1845, English clergyman and essayist
From Letters of Peter Plymley [1807]

* For an island with a small population, Ireland has produced a number of the world's most acclaimed writers and poets.  Among them are William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Moore and the great James Joyce.  It has also produced great actors of the stage such as Siobhan McKenna and Peter O'Toole.

* According to its Central Statistics Office, the Republic of Ireland has an estimated population of just under 4.5. million people.  A new census will  be conducted in the Republic of Ireland on April 10, 2011. 

* According to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, the estimated 2011 population of Northern Ireland is 1.8 million.  A 2011 census will be carried out in Northern Ireland on March 27.  It will be possible to complete the questionnaire online


On March 17, 1845,  Stephen Perry patented the rubber band in England.  Perry, of the London manufacturing company Messers Perrry and Co., invented the rubber band to hold papers or envelopes together.  His corporation made products from vulcanized rubber.  Hence. the first elastic bands were made of vulcanized rubber.


On the feast day of  St. Patrick, the great patron saint of Ireland, I leave you with an Irish blessing.

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields and,

Until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.      

- Joanne

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