7 December 2012

The Irish

Never wrestle with pigs. You get dirty and the pig likes it. George Bernard Shaw said this about the Irish.

Or something like it. 

He was Irish himself. 

There are quite a few Irish in my life and I like them all. They are gobby, loud and cocky. They enjoy good banter. They have a great sense of humor and don't mind self deprecation. I thoroughly enjoy their company. My very good mate James has told me on a number of occasions that if it were not for alcohol the Irish would dominate the world. I believe him. I think this is true. The Irish I know and have known are all hard core drinkers. They love it.

They really love it.

I was out for a while with Jimbo tonight. He was ordering buckets of beer just for himself. The company we were with were all drinking wine. It was good company too. It was nice to see you Ingrid, Cehra and Alana. I was sipping a coke. There are 6 beers in a bucket. I was only there for an hour or so and Jimbo was well into his second bucket when I left. I only stopped by because there was carnage on the MRT tonight. I was tired and wanted to go home. 

It has been a long week. 

It has been a long year.

The MRT is the Singaporean train system. I think it stands for Mass Rapid Transit. There was certainly Mass tonight. No Rapid. No Transit. It is the first time I have seen such chaos. The Singaporean train system is usually as smooth as silk and it runs like a Swiss clock. Like most things in this country. There was a rare signal fault or some technical glitch this evening and all the trains had stopped. It was a shocker and it was a mess. I had to wield my umbrella and beat a path through the stunned Singaporeans just to get out of the station. I battered them to clear the way. 

I showed no mercy. 

I rarely do.

I was at the Raffles station when the chaos commenced. The Raffles station is named after the dude who set up modern Singapore. He was English. Not Irish. The train problem was the reason I went for a drink with Jimbo rather than head straight home. I was delayed. 

Some of the great writers of the world are Irish. They have penned incredible works of pain, love and misery. Their numbers are disproportionate to the population of the country. When I think of Ireland my first thought is of their magnificent writers. This Irish literature often moans and whinges but it is done in a very beautiful and poetic way. 

James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathon Swift, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats and Bram Stoker are classic and renowned novelists. Their modern day equivalents include Roddy Doyle, The McCourt brothers, and Medbh McGukian. I have read them all. They make words sing.

They really do. 

The Irish mostly write of tragedy and misery and pain. They are a passionate and vibrant race. They don't like the English very much. Either do I actually. 

We have that and more in common.    

Many of we Australians have Irish roots. They put the larrikin in the Australian gene pool. They are part of the Australian character. I have some Irish blood - on my father's side. My Irish kinfolk came from county Wicklow. There are still quite a few Irish Hepenstalls. I know this because I have looked them up. Two of the brothers Hepenstall drank and gambled away the family fortune in Wicklow in the early 1800's and they made their way to Australia with the last of their funds. They came to seek their fortune. They failed miserably but they bred prolifically. They spread the Hepenstall seed. 

I am a direct descendant. 

Both were jailed in the colony. One supposedly for fucking a sheep. This event is a stain on our otherwise noble family tree.

The great father of psychiatry Sigmund Freud described the Irish as "a race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.” 

Well said Sigmund. I think you nailed it with that observation. 

Yeats himself said, "being Irish we have an abiding sense of tragedy which sustain us through temporary periods of joy". 

The Irish love their misery. They wallow in it. It is the source of their happiness - that and alcohol. 

The sad but brilliant Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that “to be Irish is to know that in the end the world will break your heart.”. 

The poignant Edna O'Brien wrote, “When anyone asks me about the Irish character I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.”

 Her novel "A House of Splendid Isolation" is one of the best books I have ever read. 

Edna is Irish through and through. 

My favorite quote of all about the Irish is by a South American named Maria Araoz. 

She wrote, “If there were only three Irishmen in the world you'd find two of them in a corner talking about the other.” 

The Irish.

I like them a lot. 

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