Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish wit, humour and folklore


                 HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY

The Irish are renowned for their wit and their humour.  On St. Patrick's Day, Number 16 is proud to present some of that fine Irish drollery.


An Irishman was asked if the Irish always answered one question with another.  'Who told you that?' he replied. 

- Niall Toibin
Irish comedian and actor, born November 21, 1929 in Cork

Did you hear about the Kerryman with the inferiority complex?  He thought he was only as good as everyone else.

- John Brendan.Keane (July 21, 1928 - May 30, 2002), Irish playwright and novelist from Listowel, County Kerry

St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland.  It's a pity the idea never caught on.

- Attributed to George Bernard Shaw (July 26, 1856 - November 2, 1950), Irish playwright, born in Dublin

A man who says his wife can't take a joke forgets that she took him.

- Attributed to Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854 - November 30, 1900, Irish writer and poet, born in Dublin

I was travelling in County Mayo late one evening and stopped outside a little boarding house.  I knocked on the door and a second later the top floor window opened and a woman yelled down, "What do you want so late in the evening?  I asked, "Could I stay here for the evening?"  The woman yelled down to me, "YES!" and then closed the window.

- Hal Roach

A man buys a jigsaw puzzle with eight pieces.  Nine months later he has managed to put it all together and is delighted with himself.  He thinks he has done well because on the box it says "four to six years."

- Hal Roach

This fellow Casey went to the dentist.  He said to the dentist, "All my teeth are turning yellow.  What can I do?"  The dentist said, "Wear a brown tie."

- Hal Roach

Murphy found himself very late one night in London in the underground subway station.  He walked along to the escalator.  And on the escalator it is written, "Dogs must be carried on the escalator."  And he thought, "Where am I going to find a dog at this hour of the night?"

- Hal Roach

(Hal Roach, described as Ireland's international comedian and the King of Blarney, passed away recently.  He died on February 28, 2012 at the age of 84.  Roach was born in Waterford, Ireland.)

Reilly went to trial for armed robbery.  The jury foreman came out and announced, "Not guilty."  "That's grand," shouted Reilly.  Does that mean I can keep the money?"

- Source unknown


Two of the most famous characters in Irish folklore are leprechauns and banshees.  The word "leprechaun" is the Gaelic tern for shoemaker.  According to Leprechauns, Legends and Irish Tales by Hugh McGowan, the old book of Irish folklore tells us that a leprechaun  is "a tiny man, though not so small that he could hide under a mushroom or dance on a blade of grass."   Any further details?  Well, yes.  "His countenance is a mixture of crankiness and humour.  He has a pair of piercing black eyes which twinkle with mirth or mischief.  His nose is hooked and his mouth grins from ear to ear."

McGowan describes a banshee as "a spirit whose sad song warns of  imminent death.  She takes the shape of a beautiful girl dressed in flowing white and has siren quality which attracts the listener in spite of its sad prophecy.  She appears and disappears on dark windy nights and those who hear her chant know that a death will shortly follow."

- Joanne

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