Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Irish: An Elusive, Unmistakable Character

"The Great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad, for all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad." -- G.K. Chesterton

Beneath the surface charm of quaint thatched cottages, beautiful rolling green countryside, and the lilt of Irish voices, lays an anguished and tragic history.

Like Ireland's weather, with its constant changes in light, color and atmosphere, the Irish are a people of baffling inconsistencies. Wit, whimsy, charisma and the easygoing charm of the Irish people often richly blend with an unpredictable, feisty, stubborn independence and deeply felt melancholy, grappling with the paradoxes woven so intrinsically into the fabric of its land and people. It could be that these contradictions of character may be one of the reasons Ireland has produced many of the world's finest writers.

However, at the root of all that characterize the Irish is their strong sense of loyalty and clannish spirit. After all, emerging distinctly Irish, following over 700-years of resisting assimilation by the British, their cohesive tendencies must have served them well in preserving their unequivocal singularity .

Oh, Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news
that's goin' round?
The shamrock is by law forbid to grow
on Irish ground.
No more Saint Patrick's Day we'll keep,
his color can't be seen,
For there's a cruel law ag'in in the Wearin'
o' the Green...


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