With St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, it’s time to get our Irish on, regardless of our background or ethnicity. I am a good quarter Irish, so I especially enjoy this holiday, wearing ‘o the green and listening to my favorite Celtic musicians.
We can thank the Irish for more than Guinness beer, named after Irish brew master Arthur Guinness, whose famous “Pint of Plain” is the best-selling alcoholic drink of all time in Ireland.
Those of us who are teetotalers appreciate some of the other gifts of Ireland such as …
… musicians like the female group Celtic Woman, flutist James Galway, the late Irish tenor Frank Patterson, Eithne Ni Bhraonain, better known as Enya, Paul David Hewson, better known as Bono, the main vocalist of U2, and of course my favorite, Christian singer/songwriter Robin Mark of Belfast who said in an interview, “God heals in the midst of worship and touches lives and saves people.” That is certainly true of worship services where Robin Mark is present.
… actors like Liam Neeson, who started out as a forklift operator for Guinness, and has worked in such films as “Schindler’s List;” Colin Farrell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers,
Pierce Brosnan (my favorite Bond), Gabriel Byrne, David Kelly, Barry Fitzgerald, Fionnula Flanagan and the great and still beautiful at age 92 Maureen O’Hara, whose original name was Maureen FitzSimons.
… authors such as Elizabeth Ashbridge, Edmund Burke, Oliver Goldsmith, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Frank O’Connor, John O’Keefe, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Sir Richard Steele, pseudonym of Isaac Bickerstaff, Jonathan Swift, Oscar O’Flahertie Fingal Wills Wilde, George William Russell who said, “We may fight against what is wrong, but if we allow ourselves to hate, that is to insure our spiritual defeat and our likeness to what we hate,” and of course C.S. Lewis who said, “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”
… poets like William Butler Yeats, who said, “Out of the quarrel with others, we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves poetry.” When he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923, he was recognized “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.” Some of his other famous quotes include, “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking” and “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” The daughter of a cattle rancher, Katharine Tynan was another Irish poet who ironically was proposed to by Yeats, but she fell in love with and married someone else. She remained friends with Yeats, however. A prolific writer, she penned two anthologies, 16 other collections of poetry, five plays, seven books of devotion, one book about her dogs, more than 105 popular novels, 12 collections of short stories, and innumerable newspaper articles.
… scientists such as Vincent Barry who led a medical research team that discovered a compound that ultimately led to a treatment for leprosy; Robert Collis, a Dublin doctor who pioneered the technique for feeding premature infants via a nasal tube and invented a simple, but affordable incubator for premature infants; Francis Rynd, also a Dublin-based doctor, who invented the hypodermic syringe and administered the world’s first subcutaneous injection; and Earnest Walton, who with John Cockcroft, was the first to artificially split the atom, ushering in the nuclear age. In 1951 the two were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, making Walton Ireland’s first and only Nobel science laureate.
… other inventors like John Phillip Holland, who is accredited with launching the world’s first successful submarine, the ‘Fenian Ram’, in 1881; Sir James Martin, who invented the world’s first ejector seat; Harry Ferguson who invented the modern tractor and the first four-wheel drive Formula One car; and my favorite, John Robert Gregg whose shorthand system of speed writing I use every day.
… great names like Sean, Liam, Orla, Patrick, Ronan, Danny and anything with an O’— O’Shea, O’Sullivan, O’Hara, O’Rorke, O’Connor, O’Toole and O’Malley.
… sad stories and silly jokes like: What’s the difference between an Irish wedding, and an Irish funeral? There’s one less drunk; and Why can’t you borrow money from a leprechaun? Because they’re always a little short.
… and blessings, which I wish to all of you on St. Patrick’s Day and every other day …
Like the warmth of the sun
And the light of the day,
May the luck of the Irish
Shine bright on your way.