A tune is more lasting than the song of the birds, and a word is more lasting than the wealth of the world. (Irish proverb)
And a happy Saint Patrick’s Day 2 U 2:
Welcomes have been thrown at us in many a place in our time, but of all the welcomes we’ve had in all the places none have equaled the Irish.
Having said that, Bill, our Irish host, replied, “Blarney is the ability to tell a man to go to hell so he’ll look forward to the trip.” Touche!
We went on to other more weighty matters, such as the Global Village concept. It soon became evident we share many things in common with many people, including the Irish — driving for example.
The general rule about driving in Ireland is if you can do something that the Gardi (police) won’t see you doing, or if you don’t crash into anything, it’s all right. And to sum it up we have a Dublin cab driver: “These days and in this traffic, you have to be plenty brave to be a coward.”
Makes you feel right at home, eh?
Riding the buses in cities may be another similarity. In Ireland, according to Molly, talking with visiting friend Bridget, “Riding the bus here is like a religious experience. It always starts with the laying on of hands.”
Then there’s the businessman lunching with a government man in his neighbourhood pub, “Whenever I want to kill time, I call a committee meeting. It’s the ideal weapon.” And there was agreement between them to begin their meeting.
The reality is perhaps revealed in Ken and Brendan’s exchange.
Ken: “Some people don’t like the Irish — I do.” (So do I Ken!)
Brendan: “We’re very popular among ourselves.”
‘Tis true, it is. It’s as if these put downs were designed to be applied to any given peoples at any time, for over time you find them applied to all races, including your own.
“What is the Irishman doing when he holds his hands tightly over his ears?”
“Trying to hold onto a thought.”
Ah, but, like all people of every race, they have many, many thoughts worth holding onto, and repeating.
There are copious examples, enough to make me agree with John Millington Synge: “There’s no language like the Irish for soothing and quieting.” And learning too, I might add, for they’re surely right when they advise: “A good word never broke a tooth,” or “A closed mouth — a wise head.”
Though I do indeed favour “A friend’s eye is a good mirror” and “Though there’s no bone in the tongue, it has frequently broken a man’s head.”
One has to wonder, and ask, from where does poetic language among Irishmen spring? Who among us, in our courting days, wouldn’t have given a day’s pay to have put such an invitation to our favorite lass?
“Won’t you come into the garden? I’d like my roses to see you.”
We have no less a personage than Lady Randolph, Winston Churchill’s mother, confirming such ability is abundant among men on the Emerald Isle, or were, when she was around. “I have been three years in Ireland and never found a dull man.”
Then there’s the drink and the drugs. Oh they’re over there too. Shock, then wonder, were our reactions to Maude’s comment at breakfast, “That was sure good “crack” last night.”
“Crack” in their lingo is good talk. Good conversation wins over all. TV is banned, a sip of the craither may be offered, but the talk is paramount. Talk filled with a quick turn of a phrase, and a twist of humour, to keep the mind lit up like an environmentally friendly twisted light bulb. Such “crack” does indeed outdo many TV program I’ve met lately.
Anyway, some toasts to you and yours, to end the “crack;” and another sip of the “craither” if you wish.
“May God grant you many years to live, for sure he must be knowing, the Earth has angels all too few and heaven is overflowing.”
“We drink to your coffin. May it be built from the wood of a 100-year-old oak tree that I shall plant tomorrow.”
A toast, and a tip of the hat to the Irish, and to all those who wish they were.
May your island on this Global Village flourish; may your language delights keep flowing around the globe, and may a day come when our Global Village becomes a true village, and the universal greeting will become hugs, not weapons.