Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic separated from the west coast of Great Britain by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. It is the second-largest island of the British Isles after Great Britain, the third-largest in Europe and the twentieth-largest on Earth. Politically, since 1921, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, which covers the remaining area and is located in the north-east of the island. The population of Ireland is about 6.4 million. Just under 4.6 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland.
- 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)
- War tore the guts out of the British empire, weakening it in resources and morale. The first major loss was Ireland.
- Jeremy Black, A History of the British Isles (1996)
- Only those without a drop of Celtic blood believe there’s any magic in the Irish.
- Richard Bowes, If Angels Fight (2008), reprinted in Rich Horton (ed.), The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2009 (p. 461)
- There is one thing that the people of Ireland know how to do and that is to survive.
- For the great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry,
And all their songs are sad.
- It wasn’t the gays who trashed marriage (in Ireland); it was the straights.
- Michael Cook, What lies ahead for marriage in Ireland?, Mercatornet, 25th May 2015
- The ideal Ireland that we would have, the Ireland that we dreamed of, would be the home of a people who valued material wealth only as a basis for right living, of a people who, satisfied with frugal comfort, devoted their leisure to the things of the spirit – a land whose countryside would be bright with cosy homesteads, whose fields and villages would be joyous with the sounds of industry, with the romping of sturdy children, the contest of athletic youths and the laughter of happy maidens, whose firesides would be forums for the wisdom of serene old age. The home, in short, of a people living the life that God desires that men should live. With the tidings that make such an Ireland possible, St. Patrick came to our ancestors fifteen hundred years ago promising happiness here no less than happiness hereafter. It was the pursuit of such an Ireland that later made our country worthy to be called the island of saints and scholars. It was the idea of such an Ireland - happy, vigorous, spiritual - that fired the imagination of our poets; that made successive generations of patriotic men give their lives to win religious and political liberty; and that will urge men in our own and future generations to die, if need be, so that these liberties may be preserved.
- 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.
- I must say there is to me nothing more extraordinary than the determination of the Irish people to proclaim to the world that they are a conquered race. I have been always surprised that a people gifted with so much genius, so much sentiment, such winning qualities should be—I am sure they will pardon me saying it; my remark is an abstract and not a personal one—should be so deficient in self-respect. I deny that the Irish people are conquered as they are proud to tell us; I deny that they have any ground for that pride... I deny that the Irish are an ancient nation that have been conquered more than all ancient nations have been. I deny that the Irish have been conquered more than, or even as often, as the English. You never hear of an Englishman going about and boasting of his subjection. He boasts sometimes of having come over with William the Conqueror or rather of his ancestors having done so. The Irish have been conquered by the Normans and so have we, and in modern times I will not deny that Oliver Cromwell conquered Ireland, but it was after he had conquered England. William III could not have succeeded in conquering Ireland if he had not previously conquered England.
- The changes brought about in the late ’80s and early ’90s only went so far. A self-congratulatory lay culture of unreflective Catholicism was easily transformed into a self-congratulatory culture of unreflective semi-liberalism.
- Henry Farrell, Boston Review, 11th November 2014
- 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.
- I have long wished that the Irish literature were cultivated. Ireland is known by tradition to have been once the seat of piety and learning; and surely it would be very acceptable to all those who are curious either in the original of nations, or the affinities of languages, to be further informed of the revolutions of a people so ancient, and once so illustrious.
- Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.
- Up to mighty London
Came an Irishman one day.
As the streets are paved with gold
Sure, everyone was gay,
Singing songs of Piccadilly,
Strand and Leicester Square,
Till Paddy got excited,
Then he shouted to them there:
It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary,
To the sweetest girl I know!
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.
- Jack Judge, "It's a Long Way To Tipperary" (1912)
- Soldiers are we,
whose lives are pledged to Ireland,
Some have come
from a land beyond the wave,
Sworn to be free,
no more our ancient sireland,
Shall shelter the despot or the slave.
Tonight we man the "bearna bhaoil",
In Erin's cause, come woe or weal,
'Mid cannons' roar and rifles' peal,
We'll chant a soldier's song.
- Peadar Kearney, "Amhrán na bhFiann" ("The Soldier's Song") (1909)
In valley green, on towering crag,
Our fathers fought before us,
And conquered 'neath the same old flag
That's proudly floating o'er us.
We're children of a fighting race,
That never yet has known disgrace,
And as we march, the foe to face,
We'll chant a soldier's song.
- Peadar Kearney, "Amhrán na bhFiann" ("The Soldier's Song") (1909)
- In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs.
- Sir John Pentland Mahaffy, as quoted in W. B. Stanford and R. B. McDowell Mahaffy (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971) p. 79
- Yet, it is a regrettable fact of life that most Irish people are quite unaware of the very high calibre of individuals who presently comprise their country's navy and of the tremendous contribution they make to Ireland. Some have attributed this unfortunate situation to the reputed indifference and even hostility of the Irish people to all things maritime. The absence of a memorial in the form of a plaque or a street named in honour of Commander S. O'Muiris, founder of Ireland's wartime navy, is an indication of this indifference. Sadly, during the course of his research in Ireland, the author can testify to encountering on numerous occasions, a wilful indifference among the general population towards Irish naval and maritime achievements. Many Irish people prefer to content themselves with an image of the Irish Naval Service, as portrayed in the mid-1960s by the renowned folk group, the Dubliners ("When the captain blows his whistle, the ship goes home for tea"). One of the obvious reasons why so few Irish people have an opportunity to update their perception of their country's navy by at least 30 years, is that the INS rarely comes into contact with the wider population. The patrol ships are always "out of sight and out of mind", that is, they are at sea for 180 days a year. When not on patrol, they are normally tried up alongside in the country's only naval base, Haulbowline Island. For those who do not live in any of the country's main ports or near a sheltered deep water natural harbor, it is unlikely that they will come into contact with the Naval Service.
- Aidan McIvor, A History of the Irish Naval Service (1994), p. 218-220
- In contrast, most Irish people will have an opportunity to come into contact with army units. Nearly every town in Ireland has an FCA training centre, or is close to one. All of Ireland's cities have regular army barracks and the sight of military vehicles and uniformed army personnel is not unusual. The Army's role in support of the civil power at home or overseas with the United Nations, receives regular coverage in national newspapers. Most Irish people are well informed about Ireland's contribution to the United Nations' forces in Lebanon and most recently in Somalia. The Irish army is held in high regard among most Irish people. It is seen as a manifestation of sovereignty, especially as the army claims an unbroken link with the insurrectionists of 1916. Unfortunately the Naval Service enjoys no such legacy; founded in 1946, its first commanding officer was from the Royal Navy.
- Aidan McIvor, A History of the Irish Naval Service (1994), p. 220
- When I was a young boy in primary school, we were taught that post-independence Ireland was poor but uniquely virtuous. Today, we are taught that it was poor and uniquely wicked. There is an attention-seeking particularism to a lot of Irish writing that can get in the way of understanding the country: we were never as different as people have made out. Those traditional rural values that we once correctly celebrated can still be found in agricultural communities around the world; the Magdalene Laundries that we correctly condemn have their counterparts elsewhere as well. We are a nation of navel-gazing drama queens – and perhaps not even that makes us unique.
- Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke, 1916, Critical Quarterly, 26th July 2016
- Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.
- Patrick Pearse, graveside oration at the funeral of Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (1 August, 1915)
- 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.
- The American people know how profoundly Ireland has affected our national heritage and our growth into a world power.
- Gladstone…spent his declining years trying to guess the answer to the Irish Question; unfortunately, whenever he was getting warm, the Irish secretly changed the question.
- 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.
- 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
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- 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.
- Thomas Campbell, The Exile of Erin.
- 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!
- Andrew Cherry, 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.
- John Philpot Curran, 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.
- William Drennan, Erin.
- 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.
- John Kells Ingram, Who dares to speak of ninety-eight.
- 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.
- John Locke, The Exile's Return.
- The groves of Blarney
They look so charming
Down by the purling
Of sweet, silent brooks.
- Richard Alfred Milliken, Groves of Blarney.
- 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
- 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.
- T. D. Sullivan, God Save Ireland.
The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)
- 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.