A lot of people are quite sensitive about where they come from. For example when people whack out their HILARIOUS Brummie accent impressions it doesn’t exactly endear me to them. Seriously guys, cut it out. We all know what the accent sounds like. While people who get overly stressed out about people insulting their home town/country do tend to grate on my nerves a bit, I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else who paints their face for rugby games or hunts for distant Irish relatives for St Paddy’s day. Why are people so desperate to find these mysterious Irish ancestors? Well, A, it’s probably quite easy ’cause we’re at it like bunnies and we’ve created clans in EVERY country there is and B, we’re just pretty damn cool. It’s good to be mental sometimes. I was born in Cork, my dad’s family are from there too and my mum’s side are from County Mayo. I have had irishness drilled into me from a young age. I like to think however that I’m the happy hybrid of Englishness and Irishidity. The perfect balance of repression, drama and tea, (herbal for me please).
SO, I thought I’d jot down some of my thoughts on why being Irish is freakin’ awesome. True story.
NUMBER 1: We’ve got the comedy.
Represented by Mr Tommy Tiernan there who I saw on his ‘World tour of Mayo’, we’re not short of people who are totally prepared to take the piss out of us. We’re aware of our cultural weird points, and we’re ready to joke it out. Dara O’briain, Dylan Moran, Ed Byrne, Jason Byrne, Ardal O’Hanlon, Dave Allen, we’re not doing too badly! In fact Tommy himself has a great way of describing this..we don’t know why we’re so fiercly proud of being Irish, we just are, ‘We’re IRISH! What does that mean? No fucking idea…It means we’re not fuckin’ English that’s what it means’. We have a cracking sense of humour, it helps us deal with life in general.
NUMBER 2: The swearing
Who can resist a good ‘feck’ now and then? There’s just something about the Irish ability to express any emotion in the most emphatic way with a hanful of ‘Jesus christ”s and a sprinkling of ‘arse”s that warms the heart. We have enough inspiration, there’s a wealth of Irish authors who’ve been providing us with top notch swear words and phrases for generations.
NUMBER 3: The family
You’ll always find relatives in obscure parts of the world. We’re everywhere. You could travel to the remotest desert on Mars and you can bet there’d be at least one pale freckled person there waiting. Take advantage.
NUMBER 4: The drama.
Irish people, as Dylan Moran points out, have drama woven into the fabric of everyday life. We’re aware of our demons so we get them out once in a while to do a little dance and generally create chaos and havoc. There’s never a dull moment in an Irish conversation, even if we’re jut discussing the drizzle and peat bogs you can be there’ll be something scandalous to talk about.
NUMBER 5: The food and drink
There’s no danger of starving in an Irish household. You will be fed, you will be given tea, whether you want it or not. Come in and sit down, have a sandwich, have some brown bread, have a drink, have some cake, enjoy yourself!
I was looking around on the Irish Times website, and these ones caught my eye, so I thought why not let’s chuck these on the list as well…
29. Because we’re good at funerals. Who does funerals better than the Irish? Even when dealing with early death such as those of Páidí Ó Sé or Minister of State Shane McEntee recently, it was inspiring to see the way Irish people in both contexts gathered around the bereaved to give what little comfort they could. What was particularly moving was the sincerity of the grief. When funerals are due to natural death, it can be merry as well as sad. Tales told lighten the load on family and friends, as years of life are distilled into pithy quote or hilarious anecdote. In countryside, small town, big town or city, the kinship’s the same. – PATSY McGARRY
39. Because of Brian O’Driscoll. Is there a finer Irish sportsman? Even now, in the twilight of his brilliant career, he still puts his body on the line in every game. In victory, of course, but also in defeat, such as the games Ireland suffered recently against England and Scotland. And in the fractious post mortem after that Scotland game, who stepped in with a word to help save the coach, Declan Kidney, and the captain, Jamie Heaslip? None other than Brian O’Driscoll who, just weeks before, had been sacked as captain by Kidney. He has nothing to prove but he keeps on going. It is why he is our greatest player ever. Sadie did well in choosing her Daddy. – PATSY McGARRY
49. Because of our sense of humour. “I wonder whether Chinese people get as much of a laugh out of watching us do Kung Fu as I did playing football with them.” – DES BISHOP
13. Because of our cloudscapes. Okay, so they might dump large amounts of water on us – 141 millimetres so far this year if you live in Dublin; a whopping 353 if you’re a Valentia islander – but with their kaleidoscope of moods and textures, from wispy to whimsical, scuddy to scary, Irish skies are a cloud-spotter’s paradise. – ARMINTA WALLACEFINALLY, my own personaly favourite, piggy racing. Never, have I witnessed something so fantastically weird and wonderful. Thank you County Mayo, thank you prize porkys and goodnight.