Why It’s Good to be Irish

clover-1023234-mI’m not just one of those people who is “Irish” on Saint Patrick’s Day, I’m of Irish descent. I’m also of English descent, which is why I’m always at odds with myself. 🙂 But that’s another story.

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I give you ten awesome reasons why it’s good to be Irish 365/24/7:

10. We can talk circles around anyone. Ever heard of the gift of gab? It’s not a rumor.

9. We value the written word. Four Irish writers have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, among them, demi-god George Bernard Shaw. The Irish also protected the Book of Kells from Viking invaders in the 10th century. If we turn to Irish Americans, eight signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Irish descent. And then there’s F. Scott Fitzgerald. There’s really no need to continue after naming him, is there?

8. We persevere. Potato famine? No worries. Pick up and go. There are more people of Irish descent living in America than in Ireland, and this is a testament to our adaptability.

7. We are hard workers. The Irish worked alongside the Chinese on the early railroads of America and paid the price. Still, we did not quit. We stayed the course and made our fortunes.

6. We’re witty. Here is a quote from George Bernard Shaw: “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

5. We’re clever. My grandfather shook the family tree and found Richard the Litigious, so named for fighting his battles in court. When the English stole his land, he waited for the war to blow over and then sued the occupant to get his land back. He won.

On the left, the ideal "white woman." On the right, the Irish immigrant.

On the left, the ideal “white woman.” On the right, the Irish immigrant.

4. We’re patient. Okay, as individuals we are rather quick-tempered. But as a race of people, we excel at the long game. At one point in history, Irish Americans were denied jobs, college entry, and the ability to hold public office. My immigrant ancestors faced a fair amount of discrimination, I’m sure. A hundred and fifty years later, they dye the Chicago River green to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.


3. We’re ingenious. I won’t say we’re a scientifically-minded bunch (on the whole). That honor belongs to the Germans, who have more Nobel Prize winners in the sciences than you can shake a shillelagh at. But we’re inventive, giving the world the tractor, the steam turbine, and the hypodermic needle. In these cases, there was a need and an Irishman to fill it. These inventors didn’t set out to change the world, only their small problem, but they did anyway.

2. We are ponderous. No one can break your heart like the Irish: sad music, sad poetry, sad literature. The tragedy of the Irish is well chronicled in story and song. Here’s a weighty quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “At eighteen, our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five, they are caves in which we hide.” Still not convinced? I give you Danny Boy…

1. We are EVERYWHERE. Even Muhammad Ali has some Irish ancestry. I bet you do, too. 🙂 If not, you can pretend–just for today.


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