Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today everyone's Irish. Despite what your local drinking establishment would have you believe, being Irish is not about green clothes, green beer, and corned beef. Well, maybe the corned beef is authentic, but a plate of boiled praties would be more so.

For a better perspective on the Irish, here's some reading material:
  • How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill. The title is not a joke. While the rest of Europe was muddling through the Dark Ages, Irish monks preserved classic texts.

  • Ireland, a Concise History, by Paul Johnson. A great short history of Ireland by a renowned, British historian.

  • The Great Shame, by Thomas Keneally. This is a thick book, but it reads like a novel. Although there are several story lines, the theme is about Irishmen transported to Australia in the nineteenth century. Many of them eventually emigrated to America. My favorite story line is about Thomas Meagher, the great Civil War leader of the Irish Brigade. My favorite short episode is about the band of Irish-American Fenians who tried to liberate Canada in 1866.

No comments: