Ireland

Today is St Patrick’s Day, cause of much careless misuse of green colouring, rocketing sales of Guinness, and celebrated not only in Ireland and around the world by Irish people nostalgic for their homeland, but – and probably in part because of said Guinness – also by plenty of people who aren’t Irish at all.

As we did in celebration of that other proud and beautiful Celtic nation, Wales Scotland, back in January, I’d like you to join me in thanking this relatively tiny part of the world for giving us so much incredibly good stuff.

I’m thinking, as this is a musician’s blog (no, really, it is), of David’s respected peers; including two very fine guitarists in Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore.

Then there are the literary giants that we all know of, such as Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, and those we have very much grown up with: the wonderful imaginations of C.S. Lewis, Abraham “Bram” Stoker and Jonathan Swift gave the world ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, ‘Dracula’ and ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, for example.

In fact, Ireland perhaps can claim the highest proportion of great writers, poets and playwrights of any nation.

It can also boast plenty of extremely funny men (Dave Allen, Frank Carson, Spike Milligan, Dara O’Briain, Dylan Moran) and one of the most gifted footballers ever to play the beautiful game, and one who truly did make it look beautiful: George Best.

We have Irishmen to thank for the modern tractor (Henry George “Harry” Ferguson), the caterpillar track (John Walker), the hypodermic needle and syringe (Francis Rynd) and the aircraft ejector seat (James Martin).

The man who found a treatment for leprosy (Vincent Barry) was Irish, as were the men whose names science has added to a law of gas (Robert Boyle), a type of algebra (George Boole) and a scale measuring wind strength (Francis Beaufort).

And, of course, there’s also the fearless humanitarian legend that is Bob Geldof, seen here at last month’s One Young World summit in typically charismatic form.

(I’ve not forgotten U2, before you ask, but I haven’t yet found it in my heart to forgive them for a current world tour which is comparable in terms of the carbon emissions it has so far produced to a return flight to Mars. Ah.)

So, there you have it. Your favourite Irish people, places and things, please.

Your opinions on Bob Geldof’s inspirational speech or U2’s arguably overly-excessive tour are also most welcome.

George Bernard Shaw is one of my favourite inspirations to hail from the Emerald Isle (and I think even that much-loved aphorist, Ron Geesin, would be proud of some of G.B.S.’ clever and witty observations):

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.

Our necessities are few, but our wants are endless.

The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.

The best reformers the world has ever seen are those who commence on themselves.

Sir Bob, I think it’s fair to say, would probably wholeheartedly concur.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

57 thoughts on “Ireland”

  1. I will give a shout to the often forgotten band, Thin Lizzy that formed in Ireland. I understand that Phil Lynott was not born in Ireland but that his mom was Irish.

    Although mostly known for their huge hit “The Boys Are Back in Town” their talent and influence was much larger. The release “Jailbreak” is one of my all time favorite albums.

    Thanks.

    Andrew

    1. Actually, a few of the members of Thin Lizzy were originally members of the band Them with Van Morrison. Also, Gary Moore was part of the band at one point as well.

      Thanks.

      Andrew

      PS – I noticed that my avatar is different than what I originally had but I never implemented a change. Or wait, is it because I am using a different e-mail address now?

    2. PS โ€“ I noticed that my avatar is different than what I originally had but I never implemented a change. Or wait, is it because I am using a different e-mail address now?

      Yes. Each avatar is linked to an e-mail address.

  2. Van Morrison, although of Scottish descent, was born in Belfast, N. Ireland. His Album “Astral Weeks” is listed among the top 500 Albums of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.

    Van and U2 are among my favorite Irish things.

  3. Hmmm. Here in the US we’ve twisted St Patrick’s Day around to become a day focused on ruining some decent beer with green food coloring and having to walk around puddles of sick consisting mostly of green beer outside bars, clubs and Irish theme pubs all over the country. Even when I was a drinker I wouldn’t drink on St P’s Day because it’s Amateur Night.

    I have lots of books on Irish history and literature including one volume of Mr. Yeats’ work combined with Lady Gregory’s. I have a lot of Irish music.

    Here when you think of Ireland you tend to think of the Kennedys. We lost Senator Ted Kennedy last year. Faults and virtues counted we will not see his like again and that’s sad. He made a lot of mistakes but in the end he was a legendary worker for the rights of people.

    But to me, despite having met Kevin Burke and keeping Hothouse Flowers & Prenup’s music near me at all time the two people I think of on this day are the sisters who helped raise me, Sister Frances Xavier and Sister Lawrence Marie.

    Sometimes when the mood struck them Sister Lawrence would get out her guitar and Sister Frances would sit at the upright piano and they’d play. They always started with religious songs and then inevitably they’d go into the songs they’d known for years. Which is why I’ve known the words to “The Belle of Belfast City” since I was 12.

    It runs deep in me despite all of my French Canadian history. I am grateful.

  4. I went to see Dara Oโ€™Briain last week. He had food poisoning, but battled through it, and was still really funny!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. My fav Irish person is Katrina, my long term partner of 19 years. Born in a Beautiful part of Northern Ireland called Mullabawn at the foot of Sleive Gullion and on the poet’s trail. This lovely little women has got me through a really crappy 8 months. I will be taking to a big glass of Bushmills washed down with a few pints of Guinness tonight.

    Let’s also raise a glass to the people of Northern Ireland who have put their differences aside and made peace possible, real peace.

  6. My favourite things about Ireland:

    Father Ted
    Dara O’Briain
    Galway
    Magners & Bulmers Cider
    Tommy Bowe (when he plays for the Ospreys, or for Ireland against anyone but Wales)

    My least favourite things about Ireland:

    Tommy Bowe (when he plays for Ireland against Wales)
    Any time Ireland beat Wales at rugby

    1. I share your views on Tommy Bowe, Gareth.

      For Christ’s sake, Lee Byrne; I’d like to put you and Alun Wyn Jones in a small room and bang your heads together.

      Excuse me, it slipped out.

  7. Hi… let’s not forget Henry McCullogh from Portstewart who was the Guitarist with Wings. When Dark Side of The Moon was being recorded at Abbey Road, he said “I don’t know, I was drunk at the time”… great guitarist!

    …and we keep all the good Guinness here and send the rest to the mainland!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜›

    Cheers
    Paul

  8. Hi FEd, David and fellow bloggers!

    Happy St Patty’s Day to you all. As some of you may remember, our baby, James was due today. Well, he decided to come a little early.

    James David Buick was born Monday, March 15th at 6:53 p.m. (local time). He was 8 lbs 9.9 oz and 21 3/4 inches long.

    Hope the link for this picture is OK.

    Since I’m nursing, I won’t be having a beer this St Patty’s Day, so you all have one (or more) for me.

    Peace and Love to you all!

    ~Erin

    1. Oh, what beautiful news, Erin! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Happy St Patrick’s Day to you and to James David.

      Bye, Hydrea

    2. Wow! A new fan!

      Welcome James David, I’m sure you will have a great taste in music. Nice name, too…

    3. Congratulations Erin and Marcus!! I wish you and your new addition health and happiness. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Take Care. Christine

    4. This link should work, and it’s more appropriate for this site.

      Here is James doing his best impression of David. Like the outfit?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    5. Erin, this photo of James is very beautiful!

      He could be a great Guitarist in the next future. 8)

      I want to just book tickets today… :))

      Bye, Hydrea

  9. From Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson:

    “The Irish are not in a conspiracy to cheat the world by false representations of the merits of their countrymen. No, Sir; the Irish are a fair people; they never speak well of one another.”

  10. fed, i love george bernard shaw. he’s my favourite irish man… after colin farrell anyway. :v

    my favourite quote from george bernard shaw is this:

    “2% of the people think, 3% of the people think they think, and 95% of the people would rather die than think.”

    1. He came out with some true gems, that’s for sure. I always liked this one, for example:

      I am an atheist and I thank God for it.

  11. โ€ฆIโ€™ve not forgotten U2, before you ask, but I havenโ€™t yet found it in my heart to forgive them for a current world tour which is comparable in terms of the carbon emissions it has so far produced to a return flight to Mars. Ah.

    Well, in my opinion, artists like U2 could avoid these massive carbon emissions. Could be interesting if they play concerts with alternative energy and save energetic lights. Then, โ€œThe Edgeโ€, could play his guitar with rechargeable energy from the Sun.

    Oh, I know I wish go in the future but we are only in 2010โ€ฆ :))

    I hope that their tour books are made at least with recycled paper.

    Bye, Hydrea

  12. Fave Irish person… the wife!!

    Must mention Rory Gallagher. Did enjoy going to see him and loved his band Taste also.

  13. James Joyce and Oscar Wilde–hands down–are my two favorite Irishmen. A few months back I was reading quite a bit of Joyce and realized I’d forgotten how screamingly funny he is. In Ulysses and F.’s Wake, there’s rarely a page where there isn’t something seriously funny, somewhere.

    Man oh man, I’m enjoying the music mix on the website today. Very, very, nice. I like the sinister, ominous sound of the opening minor notes. Sounds like some terrible thing is about to emerge from the blackness. Very nice. It’s also nice to hear the isolated (on an island) womens’ chorus voices as well, with the synthesizer in the background. Makes you feel like you are floating.

  14. My favorite Irish musicians would include Gary Moore (I thought he was a Scotsman :v ), U2, Clannad, and Sinead O’Connor’s voice, but not her politics.

    My favorite Irish poets are Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon. Thomas Cahill began his Hinges of History series with How the Irish Saved Civilization, a great read. I also love reading about the ancient sites, like Newgrange, and making up my own theories. And the one time I saw it, it was very green from the air.

  15. I never visited Ireland, but a friend of mine has been living there for some time and she always says it’s a magic place, so I hope to go one day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My favourite Irish musicians are Sinead O’Connor, Dolores O’Riordan and The Chieftains.

    I also like The Pogues and Shane MacGowan, as Lorraine said, but I prefer Guinness to whiskey. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. The Cheiftains. Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.

      I don’t think there’s a more beautiful sound than Alison Krauss performing “Molly Ban” with them. It brings tears to my eyes every time.

  16. Happy St. Patty’s Bithday all!

    Just back from vacation in the Dominican Republic and a belated Happy Birthday David.

    Cheers!

  17. I am a substitute teacher who goes into classrooms where the real teacher is either sick or has to be someplace else. Yesterday I was in a classroom where the children were making “lepruchaun traps.” I said out loud that it seemed unwise to trap a lepruchaun. Another adult who was in the room took me aside and told me that the plan was to have the children arrive the following day (today) to find the room all messed up with a note “from the lepruchauns” saying they do not appreciate being trapped. Seemed like a cute, humorous celebration of St Patrick’s Day.

    BTW, many nations have patron saints. St. Patrick for Ireland and St. George for England are examples of this. Does the USA have a patron saint? Or are we as soul-less as it sometimes seems?

  18. As we did in celebration of that other proud and beautiful Celtic nation, Wales Scotland

    You are so funny, FEd! ๐Ÿ˜€

    My memories of when I was a child back in the US was if you did not wear green on St Patrick’s day, then you were pinched. I used to protest at the time, “but I’m English, it doesn’t count” but no-one understood that.

    Anyway do ya’ll still pinch people if they don’t wear green on St Patrick’s day over there in the States? Or is that considered as “anti-social” nowadays.

    Green! My favourite colour.

  19. A note on U2 and their tour…

    I photographed it in London and whilst it was amazing and inspiring up close, I went home and did some research into what it was costing us to move around the globe – I think you’re right to not show so much love, they can buy that when they finish destroying the planet.

    They did look good doing it, though…

    Sime

    1. Thanks guys! It’s a passion though sadly ๐Ÿ™ I never got to photograph some of the people I wanted to photograph. (I think Rossy Halfin shot you last, Dave?)

    2. Sime, Nice photo. At first glance I thought the guitar looked similar to the one David was holding in the Rain Like Hell photo, but upon closer inspection I think that the guitar David was holding in that photo had a different colour pick-guard.

      Lorraine another great photo, I can’t work out weather the guys/gals on the outer are drinking a bit slow, but upon closer inspection the beer in the middle looks a bit flat. So maybe the drinker of that glass (plastic) is one behind.

      I have no idea what sort of guitar the Edge is playing but it looks like something that Kiss would use.

      Thanks for the photos.

  20. I always drink pints of Guinness at my local watering hole, regardless of what day it is.

    Cheers,
    snow.

  21. Hey Fed,

    I will acknowledge St. Patrick’s day when the world puts St George’s day on an equal footing. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Cheers, Howard

    1. Howard,

      I have always thought that not celebrating St George’s day is extremely English behaviour!

      B.

  22. My dog Milly – an Irish Water Spaniel. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Didn’t George Bernard Shaw also say that “Alcohol is the anaesthesia by which we endure the operation of life”?

  23. The idea of U2’s tour causing the same carbon emissions as a return flight to Mars sickens me.

    As does the Greenpeace/KitKat video FEd tweeted about.

    I just this minute passed both these links to my friends to give them something to think about.

    Our necessities are few, but how endless our wants (to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw). It makes me feel ashamed.

    I think George Bernard Shaw also wrote this:

    “If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth – beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals – would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?”

    I will boycott Nestle until their palm oil comes from a sustainable source and hope others join me.

    1. Good for you, Dunc.

      He also wrote a poem called ‘Living Graves’, by the way: ‘We are the living graves of murdered beasts, slaughtered to satisfy our appetites…’

      How very true those words now seem after watching such an unsettling and upsetting video.

    2. Nestle have done worse. The babymilk scandal of the 70s, 80s, 90s etc… While we are thinking of the animals shall we spare a thought for the child slaves?

      Boycotting Nestle is hard work – see here.

      B.

    3. Thanks for the links, Ben. I found the section about supermarkets’ own brand cereals useful.

      Not surprisingly, it says that supermarkets generally refuse to confirm or deny any link to Nestlรฉ. Funny, that.

  24. I have always been a bit suspicious of Shaw and eugenics- how about some Beckett:

    Quote:

    “We are all born mad. Some remain so.”

    Poetry:

    Opening stanza of “Something There”

    something there
    where
    out there
    out where
    outside
    what
    the head what else
    something there somewhere outside
    the head

  25. Just back from Dublin, stayed at Cassidy’s hotel in O’Connell Street. Very expensive though loved the place.

    O’Neils pub good and can recommend Jamieson’s whisky. Lots of touristy things though, especially around Temple Bar area.

    Best show was Francis Bacon in Hugh Lane Galley. Now there was a real artist. Makes my studio look really tidy.

    Ian

  26. Belated St. Patrick’s Day to one and all.

    Some notable Irish legends have already been named, but no one seems to have previously mentioned Enya.

    Here’s a track of hers, which, shock/horror actually features a guitar. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    My! My! Time Flies!

  27. I know I’m a bit late to blog here, but my favorite Irish person right now is Daniel Day Lewis at the moment. Superb actor. Actually a bit scary sometimes, but his performances are always worth watching.

    Bob Geldof is an inspirational speaker. Quite more eloquent than I had any idea. Thank you for included that link.

    U2 is a good band and in these days is probably keeping rock and roll alive, but not living up to the image that Bono wants to project. Sorry, for me the Edge is just not much of a guitarist. I call him Johnny one note.

    Jan

  28. I forgot Peter O’Toole. Has anyone ever had eyes like his in Lawrence of Arabia? Beautiful.

    Best role though was in The Ruling Class.

    Jan

  29. Been out of the loop on these blogs for a long time. But love this topic so I’ll comment… late.

    C.S. Lewis is my fav from Ireland – not just his Chronicles… his non-fiction has been a companion of mine for many years. He writes so personally – I feel like he is one of my dear friends. He is, even if he doesn’t know it.

    U2… I’ll forgive the tour… they contribute as much or more to aid the poor in the 3rd world than any other band; so… they have brought much to the world from a special Irish angst that burns (it is also all through Celtic music). What I wish the would do is go back to some Irish/punk roots in developing their new music – rather than trying to get the Moroccan-or whatever new country it may be-scene enveloped. It just doesn’t work so well.

    I never got Horizon as a great album – relative to their past work. Hopefully, S of A will be better.

  30. hi david gilmour ‘n’ band from waterford city, ireland.

    thanks for your wonderful, inspiring music. listening to your live at the royal albert hall 2006/7 dvds now. absolutely out of this world. i have been a fan for over 30 years.

    thanks ‘n’ all the best. please come to ireland to perform soon.

    breda

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