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Ireland is a north-west European island lying to the west of Great Britain. The island was partitioned in 1921, Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom while the Republic of Ireland achieved independence.


  • It is a nation of contradictions, sir. Consider this: Ireland is an island nation that has never developed a navy; a music-loving people who have produced only those harmless lilting ditties as their musical legacy; a bellicose people who have never known the sweet savor of victory in a single war; a Catholic country that has never produced a single doctor of the Church; a magnificently beautiful country, a country to inspire artists, but a country not yet immortalized in art; a philosophic people yet to produce a single philosopher of note; a sensual people who have never mastered the art of preparing food.
  • There have been many definitions of hell, but for the English the best definition is that it is the place where the Germans are the police, the Swedish are the comedians, the Italians are the defense force, Frenchmen dig the roads, the Belgians are the pop singers, the Spanish run the railways, the Turks cook the food, the Irish are the waiters, the Greeks run the government, and the common language is Dutch.
    • David Frost and Anthony Jay
  • The truth is, the people here know nothing of the republican Negro hate prevalent in our glorious land. They measure and esteem men according to their moral and intellectual worth, and not according to the color of their skin. Whatever may be said of the aristocracies here, there is none based on the color of a man's skin.
  • German Bismarck said that the solution of the Irish question lay in having the Irish to swap countries with the Dutch. He added that the Dutch would make Ireland the most beautiful island in the world while the Irish would neglect to mend the dykes left to them by the Dutch and therefore would be drowned.
    • John Green Sims Whither, World? (Privately published, 1938) p. 78.
    • The attribution to Bismarck has not been confirmed./definitely not Bismark, it was an English Lord, now trying to find.
  • I met with Napper Tandy, and he took me by the hand,
    And he said, "How's poor ould Ireland, and how does she stand?"
    "She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen,
    For they're hanging men and women for the Wearin' o' the Green.
    • "The Wearin' o' the Green" (an anonymous Irish street ballad, c. 1798), line 5; cited from Stephen Regan (ed.) Irish Writing (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) p. 176.
  • In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs.
    • Sir John Pentland Mahaffy, quoted in W. B. Stanford and R. B. McDowell Mahaffy (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971) p. 79.
  • The moment the very name of Ireland is mentioned, the English seem to bid adieu to common feeling, common prudence, and to common sense, and to act with the barbarity of tyrants, and the fatuity of idiots.
    • Sydney Smith Two Letters on the Subject of the Catholics (London: J. Budd, 1807), Letter 2, p. 23.
  • Thus you have a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, and an alien Church, and in addition the weakest executive in the world. That is the Irish Question.
  • We are bound to lose Ireland in consequence of years of cruelty, stupidity and misgovernment and I would rather lose her as a friend than a foe.
    • W. E. Gladstone in conversation with Margot Asquith, quoted in her More Memories (London: Cassell, 1933), p. 213.
  • What captivity has been to the Jews, exile has been to the Irish. For us, the romance of our native land begins only after we have left home; it is really only with other people that we become Irishmen.
  • Stony seaboard, far and foreign,
    Stony hills poured over space,
    Stony outcrop of the Burren,
    Stones in every fertile place,
    Little fields with boulders dotted,
    Grey-stone shoulders saffron-spotted,
    Stone-walled cabins thatched with reeds,
    Where a Stone Age people breeds
    The last of Europe's stone age race.
    • John Betjeman, "Ireland with Emily", in New Bats in Old Belfries (1945).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 400-01.
  • There came to the beach a poor exile of Erin,
    * * * * * *
    But the day star attracted his eyes' sad devotion,
    For it rose o'er his own native isle of the ocean,
    Where once in the fire of his youthful emotion
    He sang the bold anthem of Erin-go-bragh.
  • There's a dear little plant that grows in our isle,
    'Twas St. Patrick himself sure that set it;
    And the sun on his labor with pleasure did smile,
    And with dew from his eye often wet it.
    It thrives through the bog, through the brake, and the mireland;
    And he called it the dear little shamrock of Ireland—
    The sweet little shamrock, the dear little shamrock,
    The sweet little, green little, shamrock of Ireland!
  • Dear Erin, how sweetly thy green bosom rises!
    An emerald set in the ring of the sea.
    Each blade of thy meadows my faithful heart prizes,
    Thou queen of the west, the world's cushla ma chree.
  • When Erin first rose from the dark-swelling flood,
    God blessed the green island, he saw it was good.
    The Emerald of Europe, it sparkled and shone
    In the ring of this world, the most precious stone.
    • William Drennan, Erin. Supposed to be origin of term "Emerald Isle." Phrase taken from an old song, "Erin to her own Tune" (1795).
  • Arm of Erin, prove strong, but be gentle as brave,
    And, uplifted to strike, still be ready to save;
    Nor one feeling of vengeance presume to defile
    The cause or the men of the Emerald Isle.
  • Every Irishman has a potatoe in his head.
    • J. C. and A. W. Hare, Guesses at Truth.
  • The dust of some is Irish earth,
    Among their own they rest.
  • Old Dublin City there is no doubtin'
    Bates every city upon the say.
    'Tis there you'd hear O'Connell spoutin'
    And Lady Morgan making tay.
    For 'tis the capital of the finest nation,
    With charmin' pisintry upon a fruitful sod,
    Fightin' like devils for conciliation,
    And hatin' each other for the Love of God.
    • Charles J. Lever. Attributed to him in article in Notes and Queries (Jan. 2, 1897), p. 14. Claimed to be an old Irish song by Lady Morgan in her Diary, Oct. 10, 1826.
  • Th' an'am an Dhia, but there it is—
    The dawn on the hills of Ireland.
    God's angels lifting the night's black veil
    From the fair sweet face of my sireland!
    O Ireland, isn't it grand, you look
    Like a bride in her rich adornin',
    And with all the pent up love of my heart
    I bid you the top of the morning.
  • The groves of Blarney
    They look so charming
    Down by the purling
    Of sweet, silent brooks.
  • There is a stone there,
    That whoever kisses,
    Oh! he never misses
    To grow eloquent.
    'Tis he may clamber
    To a lady's chamber
    Or become a member
    Of Parliament.
    • Father Prout's addition to Groves of Blarney. In Reliques of Father Prout.
  • When law can stop the blades of grass from growing as they grow;
    And when the leaves in Summer-time their colour dare not show;
    Then will I change the colour too, I wear in my caubeen;
    But till that day, plaze God, I'll stick to wearin' o' the Green.
    • Wearin' o' the Green. (Shan-Van-Voght.) Old Irish Song found in W. Steuart Trench's Realities of Irish Life. Dion Boucicault used the first four lines, and added the rest himself, in Arrah-na-Pogue. See article in The Citizen, Dublin (1841), Volume III, p. 65.
  • For dear is the Emerald Isle of the ocean,
    Whose daughters are fair as the foam of the wave,
    Whose sons unaccustom'd to rebel commotion,
    Tho' joyous, are sober—tho' peaceful, are brave.
    • Horace and James Smith, Rejected Addresses, Imitation of Moore.
  • O, love is the soul of a true Irishman;
    He loves all that's lovely, loves all that he can,
    With his sprig of shillelagh and shamrock so green.
    • Sprig of Shillelagh. Claimed for Lysaght.
  • Whether on the scaffold high
    Or on the battle-field we die,
    Oh, what matter, when for Erin dear we fall.

The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)[edit]

Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 107.
  • A very old author discoursing upon Irishmen, says, " Where Irishmen are good, it is impossible to find better, where they are bad, it is impossible to find worse." I am afraid we have got to this alternative. Treachery was never the character of Irishmen. Courage and intrepidity were their characteristics. Every creature is taught to fight, but boldly and fairly.
    • Earl of Clonwell, L.C.J. (Ir.), Case of Glennan and others (1796), 26 How. St. Tr. 462.
  • God and nature have joined England and Ireland together. It is impossible to separate them.
    • Earl of Clonwell, L.C.J. (Ir.), Case of Glennan and others (1796), 26 How. St. Tr. 460.
  • The common law of England is the common law of Ireland, where the latter is not altered by statute.
    • Perrin, J., Queen v. O'Connell (1843), 5 St. Tr. (N. S.) 63.
  • Decisions of the Irish Courts, though entitled to the highest respect. are not binding on English Judges.
    • Kay, J., In re Parsons, Stockley v. Parsons (1890), L. R. 45 C. D. 62. See also earlier decision of Lord Esher in The Queen v. Commissioners of Income Tax (1888), L. R. 22 Q. B. D. 306; 58 L. J. Q. B. 199.

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