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Ireland

  • In some parts of Ireland the sleep which knows no waking is always followed by a wake which knows no sleeping.

  • Kathleen Mavourneen! the gray dawn is breaking, / The horn of the hunter is heard on the hill. /... / It may be for years, and it may be forever; / Oh, why art thou silent, thou voice of my heart?

    • Julia Crawford,
    • "Kathleen Mavourneen," in The Metropolitan Magazine ()
  • We Irish are a queer unbalanced lot, but God knows what a cold, hard place the world would be without us!

  • The Irish have a flair for wringing from death the last drop of emotion and they do not quite understand those who react otherwise.

  • Not in vain is Ireland pouring itself all over the earth. ... The Irish, with their glowing hearts and reverent credulity, are needed in this cold age of intellect and skepticism.

  • Ireland's greatest export has always been her people.

  • The Irish sometimes make and keep a vow against whiskey; these vows are usually limited to a short time.

  • [On the Irish:] Strange race ... Don't know what they want, but want it like the devil.

  • Hindered characters / seldom have mothers / in Irish stories, but they all have grandmothers.

  • I am troubled, I'm dissatisfied, I'm Irish.

  • Where would the Irish be without someone to be Irish at?

  • The Irish landowner, partly from laziness but also from an indifferent delicacy, does not interfere in the lives of the people round. Sport and death are the two great socializing factors in Ireland, but these cannot operate the whole time: on the whole, the landowner leaves his tenants and work-people to make their own mistakes, while he makes his.

  • Ireland is a great country to die or be married in.

  • It's a great wonder to me, the Irish attachment to our history. What is it but a series of lamentations?

  • The Irish never listen / We hear everything / But we wouldn't be caught dead / Listening.

  • ... like any Irish mother, I am scar tissue to the bone.

  • Weary men, what reap ye? — Gold corn for the stranger. / What sow ye? — Human corpses that wait for the avenger. / Fainting forms, hunger stricken, what see ye in the offing? / Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger's scoffing. / There's a proud array of soldiers — what do they round your door? / They guard our master's granaries from the thin hands of the poor. / Pale mothers, wherefore weeping? Would to God that we were dead — / Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.

    • Lady Speranza Wilde,
    • "The Famine Year," in M.J. Brown, ed., Historical Ballad Poetry of Ireland ()
  • ... he had the Irish eye that takes the audience into its confidence at once ...

    • Martin Ross,
    • 1905, in Gifford Lewis, ed., The Selected Letters of Somerville and Ross ()
  • ... Ireland is a wonderful place to write in. Even although the atmosphere was so Faith-laden that I was often worried that I was not writing a book to the glory of God, I had to admit that words flowed from my pen like all-get-out. To be honest, there is nothing to do in Ireland but write.

  • The Irish question is this: Do the Irish know the answer to everything? ... And the answer to that is that we know fifteen different answers to every question. All of them right.

  • The Irish aren't great singers, but they have great songs.

  • Among the best traitors Ireland has ever had, Mother Church ranks at the very top, a massive obstacle in the path to equality and freedom.

  • Should an anthropologist or a sociologist be looking for a bizarre society to study, I would suggest he come to Ulster. It is one of Europe's oddest countries. Here, in the middle of the twentieth century, with modern technology transforming everybody's lives, you find a medieval mentality that is being dragged painfully into the eighteenth century by some forward-looking people.

  • [On the Irish language:] It is really astonishing of what various and comprehensive powers this neglected language is possessed. In the pathetic it breathes the most beautiful and affecting simplicity; and in the bolder species of composition it is distinguished by a freedom of expression, a sublime dignity, and rapid energy, which it is scarcely possible for any translation fully to convey.

  • ... Dublin ... is not only the capital of a nation, but the capital of an idea. The idea of Irishness is not universally beloved. Some people mock it, some hate it, some fear it. On the whole, though, I think it fair to say, the world interprets it chiefly as a particular kind of happiness, a happiness sometimes boozy and violent, but essentially innocent: and this ineradicable spirit of merriment informs the Dublin genius to this day ...

    • Jan Morris,
    • "Do You Think Should He Have Gone Over?" (1974), Among the Cities ()
  • For 'tis green, green, green, where the ruined towers are gray, / And it's green, green, green, all the happy night and day; / Green of leaf and green of sod, green of ivy on the wall, / And the blessed Irish shamrock with the fairest green of all.

    • Mary Elizabeth Blake,
    • "The Dawning of the Year," in Edmund Clarence Stedman, An American Anthology 1787-1900 ()
  • All ye who love the springtime — and who but loves it well / When the little birds do sing, and the buds begin to swell! — / Think not ye ken its beauty or know its face so dear, / Till ye look upon old Ireland, in the dawning o' the year!

    • Mary Elizabeth Blake,
    • "The Dawning of the Year," in Edmund Clarence Stedman, An American Anthology 1787-1900 ()
  • ... a person born Irish bears somewhat of a curse, / But not to be Irish is a fate even worse.

  • ... the Irish ... are full of the fear of the Lord and the joy of living, and they don't know how to combine the two, but they'll sure have a good time trying.

  • The little lawyer roused himself long enough to wonder why it was that whenever four men sing in a barroom, three of them turn out to be Irish.

  • My mother was Irish and she was superstitious, if you'll forgive the tautology.

  • It is said the Irish get more Irish the farther they get from Ireland.

  • We in Ireland are gifted beyond most peoples with a talent for acting, and in Dublin especially, while scorning culture, which indeed we have not got, we are possessed of a most futile and diverting cleverness.

  • There has been no lack of courage in Ireland; there never is, but even our courage has a fatal quality.

  • Ireland regards sex, when she regards it at all, with an entirely primitive and practical eye.

  • A typical Irish dinner would be: cream flavored with lobster, cream with bits of veal in it, green peas and cream, cream cheese, cream flavored with strawberries.

  • You may have noticed there are three things an Irishman always puts his soul in: his religion, his sports, and his politics. If you ever find an Irishman who is wishy-washy on any one of those, you can make up your mind to it he is not the true article at all.

  • The Irish are never at peace but when they're fighting.

  • An Irish wedding is a tame thing to an Irish funeral.

  • [On Ireland:] 'Why do we laugh?' 'We have to. It's this country. If we didn't laugh we'd might drown in our own tears.'

  • Irish eyes make love of themselves, whenever their owner is too busy about something else to keep a tight rein on them.

  • ... Ireland is not at all a simple place, and in many ways it is spare and sad. It has no wealth, no power, no stability, no influence, no fashion, no size. Its only real arts are song and drama and poem. But Limerick alone has two thousand ruined castles and surely that many practicing poets.

  • There is an Irish way of paying compliments as though they were irresistible truths which makes what otherwise would be an impertinence, delightful.

  • My hills are like great angels, / Whose wide wings sweep the stars ...

  • Irish people have a trick of over-statement, at which one ceases to wince as one grows older.

  • ... Hope is at the bottom of the Pandora's box of Irish troubles, and I believe proudly and firmly in the ultimate destinies of my country.

  • Magical country, full of memories and dreams, / My youth lies in the crevices of your hills; / Here in the silk of your grass by the edge of the meadows, / Every flower and leaf has its memories of you.

  • The country washes to my door / Green miles on miles in soft uproar, / The thunder of the woods, and then / The backwash of green surf again.

  • The trouble with the Irish question always has been that it was an English question.

  • I have often heard it said that the Irish are too ready to forgive. It is a noble failing.

  • The Irish always jest even though they jest with tears.

  • ... the way with Ireland is that no sooner do you get away from her than the golden mists begin to close about her, and she lies, an Island of the Blest, something enchanted in our dreams. When you come back you may think you are disillusioned, but you know well that the fairy mists will begin to gather about her once more.

  • Religion dies hard in the Irish.

  • For the Irish, the present constantly butts up against the past in the form of a political reality that is at once utterly present and archaic.

  • The Irish are masters at the language of concealment.

  • The grand road from the mountain goes shining to the sea, / And there is traffic on it and many a horse and cart, / But the little roads of Cloonaugh are dearer far to me, / And the little roads of Cloonagh go rambling through my heart.

  • We Irish are born dreamers; sometimes we never wake up at all, and then we're counted failures.

  • ... we Irish don't really need thousands of people surging behind a big brass band to have a parade. One guitar player and a few people whistling will do the job.

  • [On visiting Ireland:] ... he was the last person on earth to take upon a pleasure outing, as he regarded all strangers as rogues and villains, and the Irish people as heathen papists, worshiping idols in the few moments unoccupied in breaking each other's heads with shillalahs.

  • In Ireland there’s no such thing as bad weather — only the wrong clothes.

  • The tune was sad, as the best of Ireland was, melancholy and lovely as a lover's tears.