For CHRISSSSSSAKES (and for Halley’s, too)

    “Please blog some Irish stuff … it is St. Patricks Day for CHRISSSSSSAKES! ” says Halley.

Tough assignment. The new job has made a serious dent in my faffing/blogging time, and I’ve been in a New York state of mind since I hit JFK. I’ve Netflixed _My Dinner With Andre_ , _Moonstruck_, and _On the Waterfront_. I made weekend pilgrimages to Chinatown and the Knitting Factory, BAM(Brooklyn Academy of Music) and Sunny’s Bar. I’m even getting the edited highlights of this year’s dragging winter, which I thought I’d managed to skip.

But who can refuse Halley Suitt? So here’s a list, transcribed from my notebook in no particular order, of things that make me glad to be Irish on this St. Patrick’s Day:

* Old men on bicycles
* Seamus Heaney
* Christy Moore
* Women in fleeces marching for exercise
* Bob Geldof
* Phil Lynott
* Father Ted
* John McGahern
* True delight in a fine day
* Garry Hynes
* Bus drivers who shout your stop, and wink when you don’t have enough change for the full fare
* Nancy Blake’s pub
* Smell of turf
* Canal bank walks
* Dublin grafitti
* Irish bloggers
* Rashers and eggs
* Coffee with (proper) whipped cream
* Butter
* Fine teachers
* Wildlife shows on primetime radio
* Wanderly Wagon
* Dervla Murphy
* Taytos
* James Joyce
* Nancy Blake’s pub
* The Bretzel Bakery
* Irish aid workers
* Roddy Doyle
* Everybody’s Bono stories
* Phrases like “a mouthful of prayers”
* Dublin pedestrians advancing against the lights like centurions
* Grown men talking about birds
* Warmth
* Chatting on the bus
* Guinness
* McCambridge’s brown bread
* Mary Coughlan
* Milleens cheese
* Brian Merriman and _The Midnight Court_
* Liam O’Flaherty
* Frank O’Connor
* The Ulster Cycle and the stories of Fionn McCumhaill
* Countess Markiewicz
* The National Gallery–free to all
* Irish placenames
* Nuala O’Faoileain
* Van Morrison
* John Hume
* The winter sky

What would you add or subtract, on this day when anyone can claim kinship?

15 thoughts on “For CHRISSSSSSAKES (and for Halley’s, too)”

  1. Red lemonade.
    The sadly missed Yellow Pack.
    Proper baked beans.
    Saying “proper” with reference to food.
    The Stag’s Head pub (Nancy’s doesn’t deserve to be in twice!)
    The immersion.

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  2. Oh, re “chatting on the bus” — last time I was in Dublin, I overheard a young Irish guy and a recent African immigrant chatting together at the back of the 37 bus upstairs, comparing Irish and Nigerian Guinness 😉

    And hooray for the Stag’s! (Still haven’t managed to ever get a Christmas pint from them though.)

    Happy Paddy’s Day!

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  3. Hurrah for Father Ted!

    Father Dougal: “Do you believe in an afterlife?”
    Father Ted: “Do I what?”
    Dougal: “Do you believe in an afterlife?”
    Ted: “Well, Dougal, generally speaking, priests tend to have a very strong belief in the afterlife.”
    Dougal: “Oh, I wish I had your faith, Ted.”

    I miss that show. At least I have a book of all the scripts.

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  4. Our proud cultural history in music, arts and literature.
    The general warmth of the Irish countryside.
    The cosmopolitan buzz of our capital city, Dublin.
    The highly regarded and preseved Galway arts festival, which I entend to frequent when I’m older.

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  5. It’s important that people know you consider Irish pubs as being Irish. I think being Irish is all about going down to the pub and having the “craic” with your friends and being able to get up for work the next day. The next time you’re back in Ireland, you’ll discover the pubs have become non-smoking. I wonder if that will hurt the conversation that always seems to happen around the cigarettes.

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  6. I think the Irish identity is something that is great to have, especially when travelling. When I was just 14 years old I got to travel to America. I was so excited and the reception I got was amazing. When you’re Irish in America everyone else is too! People love to have a piece of the Irish identity whether they were born in Ireland or whether it was their great great-grandparents they consider themselves Irish! I am really proud of the fact that there are people half a world away, who want a piece of what I have, my Irish identity!

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  7. I’m glad to see that you mentioned some pubs in your list. Irish pubs akin to cheers (where every body knows your name), from frequent visits and the hospitality flows like the guinness. This is one of my reasons to be proud to be Irish.

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  8. The best place in Ireland to celebrate St. Patricks day is from the window of your local pub with a pint of Guinness sheltered from the Irish weather.

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  9. You forgot Flann! (sob)
    And I’d feckin murder a full Irish breakfast right now (though I doubt if I’d keep it down for long…)

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  10. Surfing Irish blogs this morning, I come across not one but two references to Nancy Blakes, a Limerick pub whose discreet charms are matched by monumental drawbacks, not the least of which is its jocky clientele.

    To add to the torrent of cliché, Irishry on which to groove includes;

    the constant change of mood lighting in the Hag’s Glen and the Black Valley as the sky descends to caress the moss and densly woven grasses covering the peaty soil of the Macgillicuddy Reeks,

    Arts degrees at NUI colleges,

    swimming in the gulf stream in October, (single digit dates only)

    coffee shops, (no Starbucks yet, praise be unto Allah)

    Dubarry shoe-bops,

    sailing on Lough Derg,

    megalithic tombs,

    norman keeps,

    the poetry of Yeats and the prose of Flann O’Brien,

    whatever you’re having yourself.

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  11. BEWLEYS!
    Bewleys Brack
    Seapoint on a blustery day
    The snot-green sea
    David Norris, a national treasure
    People who know Your People (a mixed blessing)
    Dollymount strand
    Waiting for the train after a match at Landsdowne Road
    Martello Towers
    The Queens in Dalkey
    Doheny and Nesbitts
    Sandymount on a Saturday morning
    Women hobbling across Trinity College in high heels

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