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No Corned Beef needed to honor St. Pat

No Corned Beef needed to honor St. Pat Take a look at an interesting article we found.

The Coaster: The James Joyce Martello Tower, near Dublin

The Coaster: The James Joyce Martello Tower, near Dublin Take a look at an interesting article we found.

Revelers Get a Jump on St. Patrick's Day

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Today is the day I forego my native bourbon for Irish whisky and turn to what I love most about Ireland.

Its storytellers.

"Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed."

James Joyce is a fine place to start.

I gingerly open "Ulysses" and read a few pages, but I don’t despair if the meaning is still elusive.

The great author himself used to tell reporters that his work was difficult enough “to keep the critics busy for 300 years." 

You can always re-read his short stories in “the Dubliners” or go to “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.”

“The artist, like the God of creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.”

The great Irish poets.

William Butler Yeats is the first volume I pick up and flip a page open to anywhere and find “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.”

“I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.”

Sean O’Casey was the first playwright to write about the Dublin working classes. He was also, something fairly rare among Irish writers, an optimist. In “Blasts and Benedictions,” he talks about loss, bitter, hurtful loss, then ends with this:

“...Yet, even so, each of us, one time or another, can ride a white horse, can have rings on our fingers and bells on our toes, and, if we keep our senses open to the scents, sounds, and sights all around us, we shall have music wherever we go.”

I also like what he said upon meeting Oscar Wilde. "I never before heard a man talking with perfect sentences, as if he had written them all over night with labour and yet all spontaneous.”

Oscar Wilde, born in Dublin, complained that he couldn’t describe action to save his soul. So his characters would sit and make pronouncements and then stand and make pronouncements.

But what pronouncements.

From "The Picture of Dorian Gray,” his only novel.

“To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable… a map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.”

Samuel Beckett from “Endgame,” where almost no one is capable of making decisions, and almost nothing happens, but his sense of the absurd is always well, absurd.

Nagg: Can you hear me?
Nell: Yes. And you?
Nagg: Yes. (Pause) Our hearing hasn’t failed.
Nell: Our what?
Nagg: Our hearing.

I should stop now, because the more writers I talk about, the more I realize I will leave out.

Fortunately, I have you to fill in the chasms.

So, maybe, hoist a jar or two to some of the luminaries that defined this magical Isle. And more than a llittle bit of life, in the bargain.

Happy St. Pat's, everyone.

J. Peterman


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69 Members’ Opinions
March 17, 2009 12:30 AM
1014 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 karma swim swami said...

The Emerald Isle has produced more than its share of fine wordsmiths. I have often wondered if there is a neurolinguistic origin to this in the way Irish people communicate with each other. I dated a woman from Dublin for about 4 years. In the speech of her and her family, there was absence of cliche, and an almost intrinsic competition between people to adorn their sentences with rhymes or puns or wordplay. It's as if all Irish are fighting a war against platitude.

I would add to JP's list above Brendan Behan, a very talented and underappreciated writer.

I have contemplated James Joyce for 20 years. He had recurrent iridocyclitis, which could render him seriously visually incapacited at times. The relationship he had with his brother Stanislaus would make a great play or film. I really believe that the simultaneous support and writerly competitiveness he afforded James really drove J.J. to new levels of talent.

I own a very rare copy in excellent condition of Joyce's novel Stephen Hero. My understanding is that it was posthumously published, and written between Dubliners  and Ulysses. In it, you see the criitical tramsmogrification of him from conventional and excellent writer into a solipsistic, language-loving, but increasingly inaccesible author. Joyce has often been called an "authors' author,' but I actually find myself agreeing more with Martin Amis's sentiment that in truth Joyce was an "author's author," and that the work for which he is best known was basically Joyce writing for Joyce.

One terrific anecdote about Joyce is that in early adulthood, he took a job teaching English in Trieste. He had to complete an employment application, for which one blank to be filled in was about what religion he belonged to. He wrote "senza" (without).

March 17, 2009 12:34 AM
1014 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 karma swim swami said...

Off-subject: I am having terrific difficulty with downloading pictures to this site.Really. This issue kept me from submitting anything to the photo contest. Any advice or direct instructions would be much appreciated.

To Capt Neptune: I will download to this site that picture I promised as soon as I figure out how to donwload to this site.

March 17, 2009 12:40 AM
1014 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 karma swim swami said...

Since I am dispensing opinions, let me express one other. Samuel Beckett's BEST play is the one-man Krapp's Last Tape. I saw it in London, performed by John Hurt, a few years ago. There is uncanny insight, rather a lot of it, into the human soul in this play.

March 17, 2009 12:55 AM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Anyroads, I wish all the fine boyos and that wee bonnie lass' of the neighborhood a very happy St. Patty's Day, don'tcha know.

Peace out

March 17, 2009 1:13 AM
Img_5428-1 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Capt Neptune said...

Mark Swaim:  I would love to see that photo.  I have been checking for it.  Now, if I can figure out hou to upload photos, YOU are sure to get it worked out.  Now I'm off to find me lucky charms!

March 17, 2009 4:42 AM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...


I agree with you about Brendan Behan. His, "Borstal Boy," was one of the first books that I really loved

Let me add Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney.

Reading him, I can feel the damp and smelly bog giving way beneath my boots; the hot sun on my neck and hear the chorus of insect voices, low to high, all round my head. They are not to be swatted away. It is their space and not my own.

It's kind of like a lovely three-pint buzz but cheaper and it is okay to drive.

March 17, 2009 7:12 AM
10photoviewsFirst-comFirst-photo lowcountrypen said...

Perhaps we need a good old Irish breakfast to fix everything... Guiness and eggs. On another note, since St. Patrick banished all the snakes from Ireland where do you think they went? Happy St. Patricks day to all! 

March 17, 2009 8:40 AM
Com-100Com-300First-comHr-1 MACKDADDY1 said...

Happy Corned Beef and Cabbage Day to ya:

Mine is in the crock pot steeping in Guiness, brown sugar, mustard and seasonings. I love St. Patty's Day.  I love the parade, the comradeship, the symbolism, Celtic folklore, the writers, the whole ball of wax!  I am an Irish Catholic.  My maiden name is McRay.  According to research my family genealogy actually began in Scotland and due to the fact that we were banished and migrated to Ireland (also got kicked out of there) we ended up in America.  I am not bitter...I guess we have had murderers and thieves in our family somewhere along the line or maybe it was for religious reasons.  Idunknow!  Anyway...Happy St. Patrick's Day my friends.  "May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far".

March 17, 2009 9:14 AM
3905 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1 cuukoo1 said...

enjoying john mccann's steel cut irish oatmeal on the foggy banks of the river this morning.  my grandfather, bonnie harrel, would always help me find a four leaf clover.  i plan on sitting and looking for one today.  happy st. patricks day to all!

March 17, 2009 9:54 AM
1521 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 Shandonista said...

I'm just looking for a way to include "hegemonic dominance of a moribund constituency" in this conversation....

Stoney:  I'm also sending warm thoughts and good wishes your way. 

March 17, 2009 9:55 AM
Me 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Cynthia said...

My father never came in the house but what he had at least one four leaf clover. The rest of the family could look for hours only to have him come our walk directly to a four leaf clover without a moments hesitation, usually in the very spot where a group of us had been searching. We had dried four leaf clovers all over the house and in every vehicle and he gave us each one to carry with us at all times.

From one Sassy Irish Lassie ~ I wish you all a blessed St. Patrick's Day!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

March 17, 2009 10:38 AM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

I think I posted a photo of Yeates grave over in the travel section.  I'll check later today when I have a minute, if its not there I'll load it again.

For all you who want to visit Eire, go here...

From Boston, during the travel dates, $300 round trip is a very good deal.  If I weren't being the frugal (ok, semi-frugal) responsible bread-winning adult I would so be booking a flight right now.  I just realised that its been almost 10 years since I lived in Ireland...when did I get old and boring?  *sigh*

March 17, 2009 10:39 AM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

Hey Mark, did you get my e-mail?  If not, let me know and I'll try to send another one.

March 17, 2009 10:39 AM
Me 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Cynthia said...

"Corned Beef and Cabbage...Mine is in the crock pot steeping in Guiness, brown sugar, mustard and seasonings." Me mout' is waterin' at da mear thot o' da magnificent meal you are a preparin' this fine day.
My Irish grandfather came over from County Cork during the potato famine.  He brought with him the talent for making liquor, telling' stories and making music. Oh how I looked forward to Saturday nights as a child; that's when my fathers family got together to "test the liquor" which gave them the ability to "tell a fine story or two." The music was wonderful! Instruments would be passed around, everything from guitars, banjos, fiddles, harmonica, mandolins - my husband got my fathers mandolin and my daughter got my fathers autoharp. I do love St. Patrick's Day!

March 17, 2009 10:49 AM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

I wanted to get a plug in for some friends, and friends of friends of mine.  If you want some trad or celtic rock or just music by Irish/Scottish folk then please checkout the following bands.

I'm listening to Gaelic Storm's album "Bring your wellies" right now.  If you are more into fiddling you should check out Eileen Ivers, Natalie McMaster, Ellery Klein, and Kathleen Keane.  Of course you could always go old school and listen to some Christie Moore or Dubliners, but for the love of Shep please don't put on that tired old Tommy Makem record.

March 17, 2009 10:50 AM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

I just spelled Christy Moore's name wrong *head slap* DOH!

March 17, 2009 10:58 AM
293 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 rings90 said...

When I worked at a Medical Records Sorting facility we were allowed to listen to our walkmans while we worked. I hated hearing the same songs on all the stations every hour on the hour. So I went to the library & got some unabridged books on tape to listen to. One was James Joyce's Dubliners, since I have always had it on my to read list, yet I still have not gotten around to reading it.

Happy St. Patricks Day to all of you whether you are wearing Green or Orange, may you all have a safe & happy day.


March 17, 2009 10:59 AM
Me 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Cynthia said...

Whether you like Irish Reels or not, you foot will tap when you hear one! Like puttin on a pair of magic dancing shoes!

March 17, 2009 11:04 AM
Com-100Com-300First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Gia said...

I love the picture. Isn't that Mount Croach Patrick, the holy mountain where St. Patrick's statue is?

March 17, 2009 11:07 AM
Com-100First-com Dutchman said...

And after a few Irish whiskys the only snakes are the ones with me in the bar. 

March 17, 2009 11:09 AM
Me 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Cynthia said...


Thanks for the great links!

March 17, 2009 11:14 AM
1198 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Doc Nolan said...

I'm very conflicted about St. Patrick's Day, since (on my mother's side) my family is Irish -- and I early got tired of hearing the hate speech about the English, the nutty exaltation of everything Irish (or faux-Irish), and listening to Celtic music.  My youngest brother, on the other hand, loves everything Irish.... I guess I've just seen too much violence, pain, and silly jingoism rooted in 'love of nation'.  I'm content to be a citizen of the world...

I'll leave green beer, singing 'Irish Eyes Are Smiling', and raising money for the Irish Republican Army murderers to others.  I had my fill long ago....

I guess I should keep my mouth shut while the nationalists go about their way, but ... NO!

March 17, 2009 11:17 AM
Poison_dart_frog_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Miss Blue said...


Don't ya know ,that when St. Patrick banished the snakes from Erie ,they went to Wall street and Washington...

March 17, 2009 11:24 AM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

If we talk about Flogging Molly enough I bet Isles will come out of the wood work ;)

March 17, 2009 11:41 AM
Img_2558 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Jonathan Eells said...

I've been neglecting my friends, haven't I. Unforgivable, but I beg your forgiveness nonetheless!

I've been face down in muck of one form or another for months, all of it enjoyable on some level, naturally (or why bother). But I should shoulder my duties, by gum! And one of my duties is to be an ass, as follows:

It's a fact that the Bluefaced Leicester actually originated in ancient Ireland. So does the phrase "blue in the face". Because the sheep there turned blue in the face trying to tell people what that wanker Padraigh was doing to them when he thought nobody was watching.

Raise a cup of tea (because it's still rather too early for uisghe here on the West Coast) for the ancient and new Irish Heathens!

March 17, 2009 11:48 AM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

Isles, what, no full irish breakfast?  Just tea?  You're slipping man!

March 17, 2009 11:57 AM
Img_2558 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Jonathan Eells said...

You've caught me out again, Nachista. I'm of the mind to return to a lighter, more nimble, I daresay lithe form of m'self. So, it's a somewhat lesser breakfast that I favor these days, followed by a stout constitutional of one kind or another. Today, it was rowing, back on Dread Grey Spear! I love that boat. See, I'll post my hairy mug in my own Rowing Club Regalia (a sweatshirt), looking tousled, and then show you the DGS in her deck-sling glory.

March 17, 2009 12:08 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Here's a band of four that Saint Patty allowed to stay on the Emerald Isle as long as they earned their keep.  

March 17, 2009 12:08 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

just think of them as wee rats....

March 17, 2009 12:18 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

There are some venues where it would be worth the trouble to introduce the introducer- this ain't one of them.

March 17, 2009 12:38 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...


Good to hear from you again! Between you and the rowing references and cuukoo's talk of trout fishing and four-leaf clovers, spring fever has kicked in but good.

On our Sunday walk, we saw cars five miles out on the lake. They were probably six, seven and eight as well, I shouldn't wonder, but these are the eyes of an old man.

Absolutely loved the wine knot video complete with "Uh-ohs" and the artistic Ron Popeil hand gestures. All that remains is for you to remind your audience to: "Call now, because you know we can't offer this all day." Well, that and the double order available to the first ten callers.


March 17, 2009 12:45 PM
1014 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 karma swim swami said...

Hey Naczista:

Sorry---where on this site would a private message come? I've looked through "Eyedentity" section. I think I'm less nimble than many on the features of this site.

March 17, 2009 12:46 PM
Com-100Com-300First-comHr-1 MACKDADDY1 said...

Wanted to respond to Cynthia's creative compliment re: my menu, however, I can't.  I am laughing my arse off!  I went to an irish slang site and can not believe the words and meanings I am seeing.

Remainder of my menu: Cabbage Casserole, Potato Pancakes, Green Beans, and Beer Bread and Tipsy Cake (later...much later). 

Thanks Cynthia! As Emeril says "you should have smellavision!" and I would gladly share if I could.

March 17, 2009 12:49 PM
800 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Michael said...

I'm wearing my green JP shirt in honor of the day!

I love Ireland.  When we went over there, our official tour guide was from London and had never been to Ireland before.  We were his first group ever.  But we had the world's best bus driver for the week we were touring around.  Brendan.  A white-haired imp with a smile in his eyes and a story for every new turn.  He arranged a birthday cake for my mother, told us the best locals for food and drink, and used the bus to help herd some cows down the road.

I'd be looking at my Irish Whiskey Taster's certificate, but it is hanging over my desk in my school office.

March 17, 2009 12:50 PM
1014 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 karma swim swami said...


"Dubliners" is really really worth reading. The stories "Araby," "The Dead," and "Ivy Day in the Committee Room" have all left indelible impressions on me. The story "The Dead" (and a film version of it) are tearjerkers. The other two stories seemed to have permanently influenced certain ways in which I view the world. 

March 17, 2009 12:58 PM
293 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 rings90 said...

MackDaddy ~ We had our Irish feast on Sunday nite ~ There were no leftovers + we even had Cake ~ I have no idea what we're going to do for dinner tonite, maybe just Potoato Pancakes.. 

March 17, 2009 1:27 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

Did somebody say Soda Bread??? Had two slices, lightly toasted already.

As a child, I always felt out of place on St. Patrick's Day.

I think we were the only Luxembourgers living in a predominantly Irish Catholic parish in a city that dyes its river green every year. Our parish priests were named McMahon, Fitzgerald and O'Something-or-another.

This, however, did not stand in our way from enjoying our annual corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes feast. I remember climbing the stairs to our apartment and being bathed in the smell of corned beef at each and every landing. By the time I got to the top floor I would be drooling uncontrollably and my stomach would be growing so loudly that I didn't even have to knock on the door to be let in. I do believe that corned beef was the impetus behind the invention of grainy mustard and rye bread. It also cures whatever ails you.

Well I'll be..... it's lunch time already.

March 17, 2009 1:42 PM
1278 First-comHr-1 Seronac said...

The ultimate contribution of the Irish to English literature: Seamus Heaney's rendition of Beowulf: a sublimly perfect melding of ancient epic legend with modern poetry.

March 17, 2009 2:00 PM
Me 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Cynthia said...

Soda Bread....ah, ramindes me o'da many a times as a wee lass sittin' at me dearly departed grandmoters kitchen table, as it were sopin' up da lovely gravy me granny had made, sippin' sweet milk listen ta me grandfater dispence with the duties o' ta day. Ta grandchildren, ten and seven in all, a hangin' on his every word.

Imagine hearing this in your formative years then going to school only to interject bits-and-pieces of it every-now-and-then having all the other kids looking at you like you were from another planet.  It's a lot of fun NOW.

March 17, 2009 2:05 PM
Img_2558 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Jonathan Eells said...

Well spoken, Seronac! I'm drinking another in your honorable name.

March 17, 2009 2:19 PM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

Never once did I come across corned beef or soda bread when I was living in Cork.  Did have some excellent Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian, French, and neo-Irish-pan-european-fusion.  Lots of lamb and boiled potatoes, and the ever present sausage rolls.  I'm making bangers and mash tonight with apple-cider braised cabbage and a trifle for dessert.  I didn't have time to go down to this place and get me some lilt to drink...

They are my Irish/Scottish/British fix when I'm stuck here in Utah.  You can get all the good cadbury candy.  I always load up on biscuits, candy, sodas, and frozen meat pies.

March 17, 2009 2:21 PM
Me 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300First-comFirst-photoHr-1 Cynthia said...


I have to agree with you on, Seamus Heaney's Beowulf. 

The Irish are a prolific bunch of storytellers. There are so many good Irish writers, from novelists and playwrights to poets and songwriters. - its difficult for me to pick just one to say is my favorite. I do love a good yarn rich with adjectives and adverbs rolling all over each other to get to the nouns and verbs. 

March 17, 2009 2:22 PM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

The last couple of times I was in Ireland for St. Pats it was definitely a non-event.  My favorite St. Pats in Cork was my friend's 40 birthday party, we dressed him up in american gear that had "kiss me I'm Irish" and all that bollox and turned him loose on Grand Parade looking for kisses.  It was brilliant!  People stared at him like he was an alien.

March 17, 2009 3:10 PM
Bwme 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 nachista said...

For all you foodies out there, this is THE market to go to when you are in Cork City.

Then drive out to Kinsale and take in a sampling of the gourmet restaurants while you make your way to the beach.

March 17, 2009 3:34 PM
First-comHr-1 JillyBean said...

I kissed the Blarney Stone when I was in Ireland a few years ago.

It's a strange ritual. 

You have to climb to the top of Blarney Castle, and then lay down on your back, with your head dangling over the side of the building to kiss the stone.  There are bars to grab onto and attendants to hold you, so you don't plunge headfirst toward the ground below.

All to gain "the gift of gab."

I guess it's worth it.  Flattery will get you everywhere...

March 17, 2009 3:43 PM
10photoviewsFirst-comFirst-photo lowcountrypen said...

There is a wonderful tasting tour in Ireland of all the whisky distillers.They give a T shirt to everyone who finishes. It starts at 9am and they have never given away a t shirt.

BTW Nachista no wonder I like to read your comments... you put in a link to Seven Nations. I just love a man in a kilt 

March 17, 2009 3:44 PM
790 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-5 MissIve said...

I don't read Joyce often. He's a bit haunting for me. Maybe I'll read one every decade or so, just to keep me running from something new. Smiling.

The one that stands out the most in my memory is The Dead. Does anyone know it? I have a hunch that Stanley Kubrick read it, before writing Eyes Wide Shut.

If you haven't, save it for a day when you want your chest to feel like there's a one- -hundred-pound weight camped on it. And there should be snow falling—I think.

This is the part I always remember.

A wife is telling her husband, in their bedroom, late at night, about a past love. And she does it like Kidman did in Eyes Wide Shut, like she's still there, in that place, and her husband doesn't even exist at that moment. But Joyce spends a lot of time letting you see what happens to him, viscerally, as she speaks so casually.

Spoiler alert. It'll gut you.

"Her voice was veiled and sad. Gabriel, feeling now how vain it would be to try to lead her whither he had purposed, caressed one of her hands and said, also sadly:

'And what did he die of so young, Gretta? Consumption, was it?'

'I think he died for me,' she answered.

A vague terror seized Gabriel at this answer, as if, at that hour when he had hoped to triumph, some impalpable and vindictive being was coming against him, gathering forces against him in its vague world. But he shook himself free of it with an effort of reason and continued to caress her hand. He did not question her again, for he felt that she would tell him of herself. Her hand was warm and moist: it did not respond to his touch, but he continued to caress it just as he had caressed her first letter to him that spring morning.

'It was in the winter,' she said . . . "

I also love the story that Stephen King tells in On Writing, about one of his favorite Joyce anecdotes. He's talking about how writers write. How some pump out volumes, and some labor over every. single. word.

Apparently, Joyce belonged in the latter category. Shocking, I know.

So the story goes like this. One day, Joyce's friend pops in a for a visit around midday. He asks how he day's writing is coming along.

Joyce: I have eight words.
Friend: That's good for you!
Joyce: Yes, but I can't figure out their order.

Always makes me grin.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, friends!

Chista and Isles, 'bout bloody time you brought your ruddy pates back around.


March 17, 2009 4:07 PM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Kindlee said...

Sometimes one author is accidentally discovered during the course of reading the works of other authors. That was how I stumbled across the Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith.

His Victorian novel, "The Vicar of Wakefield" caught my eye when I noticed that the "Vicar" was mentioned, in Charles Dickens' work "David Copperfield," as one of the characters - along with Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, Tom Jones, and others - who would keep young Davy company, as he secretly read books left by his father. He said these books "...kept alive my fancy, and my hope of something beyond that place and time..."

The "Vicar" was also mentioned again in George Eliot's "Middlemarch" and in Jane Austin's "Emma" and in Charlotte Bronte's "The Professor" and in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and several other popular works!

The story, told by the vicar himself, is a charmingly melodramatic tale about the joys and troubles of a parish priest, in the Victorian English countryside.

Oliver Goldsmith was an Irish novelist, playwright ("The Good-Natur'd Man"), poet ("The Deserted Village", "The Traveller") historian, and essayist, who employed the use of satire, humor, irony, farce, and other literary genres.

"I love everything that's old, - old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine" ~ Oliver Goldsmith

...and my soda bread is in the oven, my stomach growling in anticipation, and the Guinness is in the fridge...Slainte!

March 17, 2009 4:37 PM
10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Kindlee said...

My favorite Irish authoress, of late, is our own Olivia, of course.

March 17, 2009 4:48 PM
1046 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Willie Trask said...

Thanks, Kindlee for mentioning Goldsmith, who also wrote the excellent She Stoops to Conquer, a plot which could be transposed today into something by the Coen brothers or even those Weitz kids.


Someone should mention William Trevor, too.


But for my money, it is hard to get past  Myles na gCopaleen, the longtime writer and columnst for the Irish Times, whose real name was Flann O'Brien, or was it Brian O'Nolan. How can ye not admire a man with TWO pseudonyms?

na cGopaleen was famous for stories of Keats and Chpamn, two poets "who would  stoop to any adventure so long as it ended in an epigram."  I do not doubt that Frank Muir learned much from Myles. 

 and then there's this:

March 17, 2009 4:56 PM
1046 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Willie Trask said...


ought to be a hot link


and Chpamn  ought to be CHAPMAN

March 17, 2009 5:18 PM
1046 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Willie Trask said...



I once heard Mr McCourt read, when he was at the height of his fame.  His own may not quite be  Great literature, but he is certainly an entertaining man and most of us need some hamburgers to  tide us over until we run into that occasional steak.


Jillybean, I am sure the local boys who told my friend  about getting tanked and riding out to urinate on the Blarney stone were exaggerating.

March 17, 2009 7:39 PM
1046 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Willie Trask said...

Stoney, this one is for you:


The hunters in the story were the brother of a friend and his nephew ( about 9)  who walked over to investigate what seemed to be a mannequin in a ditch. They were turkey hunting and the youngster was disturbed when they were left the body to continue their stalk of a big Tom.  The uncle explained things:


That turkey is on the move and forty five minutes from now, she'll still be dead.

March 17, 2009 7:40 PM
1046 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Willie Trask said...

poor editing

"when they left the body"

March 17, 2009 7:42 PM
1046 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Willie Trask said...

wrong link, too.


March 17, 2009 9:32 PM
Com-100Com-300First-comHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Gia said...

If Dublin ceased to exist, you would know every single thing about it, every street, every pub, every person, the smells, the heat of the day, (okay, it's a little bit of hyperbole here) if you take that journey. And perhaps that was the greatest accomplishment of Ulysses.

I think Joyce expounded on that thought and proclaimed, "I can do that for any city...just gimme a little time."

more on the honor roll
March 17, 2009 9:34 PM
10photoviewsCom-100First-comFirst-photoHr-1 unhinged said...

Way back when in college in Syracuse NY I had the fortune of studying with a Yeats and Joyce scholar.  At the time down by the cathedral in the 'cuse there were a bunch of Patriots supportin the "liberation".  A lot of guns and money traveled through a few priests at the time.  And a few Patriots showed up at the same time, talking the college circuit.

One night a fella named Bartley Finucane showed up with his poetry and his thoughts.  My professor happened to be there and when Bartley got going on Joyce being a liberation writer, the professor about flipped.  Bear in mind the professor was a good Irish boy, known for stealing buses when he drank a little but that had quieted down.  As Bartley went through "Ulysses" pointing the phrases that called for the liberation of the isle, the professor started funing and finally jumped out of his seat.  After a lot of name calling, threats and "Ya dont kno wah ya farkin talkin about", both gave up and we retired to separate bars.  Peace ensued. 

I dont know whether Bartley took money or guns back, I do know the professor was awarded a chair the next year.  Made for a fun night.

March 17, 2009 9:54 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

Willie Trask,

It's embarrassing to admit laughing at the hunting story and it's GOOD that the link was wrong- just when I thought my child molesting past was beind me.

Great Honor Roll yesterday- just perfect. Not that anyone asked.

March 17, 2009 9:59 PM
1014 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 karma swim swami said...

I give an acknowledging nod on this date to the Chieftains, ostensibly the best Irish musicians ensemble ever. Their performance of "Mna na hEirann" ("Woman of Ireland") in Stanley Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon won them an Oscar.

To men looking to win over a woman's heart, invite her in for coffee or drinks after the date, and finagle an opportunity to play this tune for her on your piano. It's very effective for cultivating things into a good relationship.

March 17, 2009 10:05 PM
1014 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 karma swim swami said...


Actually, Eyes Wide Shut was derived from Traumnovelle, by Arthur Schnitzler. The premise of The Dead is a husband's discovery, from a song his wife sings, that she had had a lover before she met him. This wasn't what she had led him to believe, and it really rips asunder his heart.

It was prophetic that the film presaged the break-up of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and there have been rumors that Kubrick chose them because of rumors that the marriage was little more than a guise.

March 17, 2009 10:48 PM
Img_2558 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Jonathan Eells said...

Here's a new Irish voice. I'm a bit smitten with her lately:

March 17, 2009 11:18 PM
39steps3 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Olivia said...

In Ireland, the celebration for St Patrick's day is not very different than the way of Thanksgiving here. It's a day to count your blessings, be with family, watch a parade, maybe a sports match on telly. We eat a grand sitdown dinner together, and there might be an Irish coffee in the offing, or a wee nip of the creature (pronounced 'crether', and referring to the real Irish uisquebaugh, thrice-distilled, which is just one of the many reasons why it's so superior to Scotch :P). Nobody gets pinched for not wearing green, and no one would be daft enough to ruin a good pint with green food colouring. The Irish are ever tolerant of the mad Yanks, though, and view their antics over the way with amusement. There are many who bend an elbow, to be sure, but wouldn't they be doin' it anyroad? They would, and no mistake.

There are those who make the pilgrimage up Croagh Patrick, there are those who stay at Mass the day away. there are those to whom it's just another day.

I can't help but wonder at the holiday cards. In many of them, we're still depicted as cartoonish, drunken brawlers, not unlike the apish caricatures found in Punch a century ago. Is there another ethnic group that it's still ok to lampoon so? The Irish just carry on, trying to get the leg up. Nivver borrer (never bother) your wee head, lassie, they'd say to me when I'd be all outraged in Chicago, or Newcastle, or San Francisco. Sure, aren't we that used to it, we take no notice. Aye, we'll just take solace in our poitin (poteen, potcheen, moonshine) and our taties, so we will...

Can't decide between Tommy Sands, Moving Hearts (incredible Celtic/jazz fusion) and the Pogues, who would no doubt like to wish one and all Pogue Mahone...

March 17, 2009 11:22 PM
39steps3 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Olivia said...

I put up my photo of today's green J Peterman dress for St Patrick's day, but it seems to take forever to load...if in fact it has done. Curious.

March 17, 2009 11:25 PM
39steps3 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Olivia said...

Nobody I know in Ireland has a clue about corned beef, either...

March 17, 2009 11:29 PM
185 First-com 200 years too late said...

Having a bit o' the Mountain Dew in me I'm willing to share a little secret and an impossible, but true tale. If you're truly interested in Joyce, make a journey to the snow-capped Tulsa Mountains where the finest repository of Joyce's works reside...and a little story on meself....The Better Half and I were at an Invitation only Irish-won at a fundraiser-cocktail and dinner party at the Parish when, after a few tee many martoonies, I told BOTH Padre's my 2nd favorite Irish joke.......

 "O'Brian was stumbling home one night when he chanced upon a terrible tragedy...seems a man had been hit by a train and all around him were many beautiful Irish Lasses sobbing "DOYLE IS DEAD...DOYLE IS DEAD!!! Their level of grief O'Brian had not before seen... he made his way to the scene of the accident through throngs of women and there, before him, lay the man killed by the train. A two foot severed "member" alongside him...OBrian worked his way home, burst through the door and said to his wife, "you won't believe this, but I just saw a man killed by a train and he had a two-foot penis!!!!....his wife wailed "DOYLE IS DEAD..............DOYLE IS DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!...

 I'm told there was a very pregnant pause before my wife excused herself, my friends vacated and the two Priests and I shared a nice Cuban...cigar that is....

 Anyway Peterman, I still have the "other" Domino humidor and still, will not part with it...

March 17, 2009 11:37 PM
39steps3 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Olivia said...

Kissing the Blarney Stone is what is circumspectly referred to as a residential amusement. It pleases the locals to extract money from tourists to allow them to carry out a fabricated ritual, and it's silly and a tiny bit dangerous. All the makings of good blarney, to be sure.

Suz, Kinsale is a wonder of a wee harbour town, so it is. I've had many a good dinner there, and a lunch and tea as well. It's rumoured that you must run up the bluff to get your high tea (always a good joke, sure, for taking the mickey out of the visitors)...

Pam-you are too kind, my dear friend, and totally biased as well. Away on outa that, my dear...

March 18, 2009 12:06 AM
39steps3 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Olivia said...

200, I lived that joke, and even though a guy died, there was a lighter side. One night in the ICU, a not-that-elderly gentleman of colour came to the end of his way. He had been a cantankerous patient, lived a hard life, and his poor heart just gave out. We coded him for almost an hour before the doctor gave up and called it. We of course whipped off his hospital gown so he could receive chest compression, intubation, and medications, and I had all I could do to contain a gasp of surprise, for this man had the biggest business I'd EVER seen. My RT partner caught me staring, and announced to one and all, making sure they knew he was referring to me "I'm jealous-what's YOUR excuse?" All I could think of was that must be painful-for someone, but when we broke for dinner and walked down the hall past the ICU waiting area, we were met with a loud wailing and keening the like of which I hadn't heard since my last wake.

The man's wife and several girlfriends had collapsed upon hearing the news of his final exit...

March 18, 2009 2:30 AM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

Shandonista & Olivia,

I was remiss in not thanking you both for kind thoughts.


Prime Web

The History of St. Patrick's Day

The History of St. Patrick's Day Take a look at an interesting article we found.

Irish Whisky

Irish Whisky Take a look at an interesting article we found.

5 great Irish writers

5 great Irish writers Take a look at an interesting article we found.

Honor Roll

If Dublin ceased to exist, you would know every single thing about it, every street, every pub, e...


Mar. 17, 2009 9:32 PM

read full opinion


What's your favorite part of St. Patrick's Day?

  • Hoisting a few at my local Hoisting a few at my local 14%
  • The wearing of the green The wearing of the green 27%
  • Corned beef and cabbage Corned beef and cabbage 45%
  • Reading your favorite Irish writer Reading your favorite Irish writer 9%
  • You tell us You tell us 5%

Yesterday's Discussion

Next I hop in a cab and head to Kensington to admire Holland Park, a tranquil delight and a convenient introduction to the work of England's greatest gardener, Lancelot "Capability" Brown.


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