The Quiet Man

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so how about a movie recommendation. John Wayne, a gorgeous redhead (Maureen O’Hara) in The Quiet Man set in Ireland, of course, and directed by John Ford. It doesn’t ever get any better.

And of course, the trailer

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and be careful out there :-)

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St. Patrick’s Day

English: Irish Celtic Cross

English: Irish Celtic Cross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Patrick’s Day already. One of the favorite American holidays, but why is that? Well part of it might be that there are more Irish here than there are in Ireland. That’s true but it’s not the whole answer, because for one day we all turn Irish (Yes the African-Americans give a whole new meaning to Black Irish) and the answer to that is buried in our history.

One of our pre-revolutionary immigrant stream were the Scots-Irish left over from Cromwell’s time, more on that later. The big immigration stream started with the Potato Famine, and it’s never really stopped. But the Irish were different, they were our first predominantly Catholic immigrants (in large numbers) and there were simply so many of them that they distorted the labor market for years. Most of the manual work done in industrializing America was done by the Irish, since that time many of our big city police and fire departments have been Irish, and are to this day as are lots of Federal Law enforcement agencies. And the military too has been a home to them, to the point that there was a small uproar during World War II when somebody said that England couldn’t have won without her two allies: the Irish and Texas. And so for a long time, we’ve been proud to share the country with them, and party with them as well.

The Chicago River on St. Pat's Day

The Chicago River on St. Pat’s Day

I’m a good Lutheran so I don’t celebrate Saints’ days but there a few, St. Crispin/Crispians Day, All Saints Day, and of course, St. Patricks Day. I suspect it has become more of a holiday in the States than in Ireland itself.

We all know the conventional parts: The green beer and milkshakes, the green rivers, the parades, the green beer and so forth. There’s more to it than that.

Way back when my forebears went on a bit of a tear and founded an empire, we managed to conquer all or parts of England, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, and not least there’s this province in France named after us: Normandy. Yep. named for the Vikings. While we were over there in Ireland we founded a few settlements such as Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, and a few others. You see, Viking has two meanings. Yes, we were warriors, if you go by our missions, you could probably have called us marines but, we were also traders who like to buy and sell stuff. So when we left, we left the Irish some new towns, and probably some new kids too.

Anyway time moved along till shortly after the Conquest of England, the King decided he ought to have Ireland as well. This was mostly by the Marcher Lords but King Henry II was perfectly happy with the idea. This war lasted all through the centuries, the Tudors tried, Cromwell tried it, the expatriate Scottish nobles tried it. Ireland resisted them all, even causing Captain Boycott to try his new tactics. Ireland became independent in 1919. And you thought the American revolution was a long war.

Here’s where we slip back across the ocean. You remember I mentioned those expatriate Scots? They became one of our immigrant streams: the Scots-Irish. Many, many of them came to the southern colonies, and most became patriots during the revolution, afterward settling the Old South and the southern parts of the Old Northwest. They were a stubborn, independent lot, not willing to give up a jot of their independence, and imparting a good bit of that to all Americans.

Then in 1849 the potato crop failed in Ireland, and the country was starving, huge immigrant streams came to America searching for a better life. They didn’t get a warm welcome. The people saw that they would work for nearly nothing, they were catholics, probably needed a bath, and whatever else they could think of. The sign of the day was:

No Irish Need Apply

But the Irish persevered, eventually got better jobs and moved up. They were the laborers that built many of the railroads, including the Union Pacific.

But they did something else too. When the Civil War came along, they enlisted in droves, entire brigades of Irish from New York and other cities took the field. The most famous was the Irish Brigade of New York: 63rd New York Infantry, the 69th New York Infantry, and the 88th New York Infantry. The three New York regiments were soon joined by a predominately “Yankee” regiment from Massachusetts, the 29th Massachusetts. The 29th was never fond of being brigaded with three Irish “Fenian” regiments from New York and soon after the Battle of Antietam the 29th was replaced by the 28th Massachusetts Infantry regiment, made up mostly of Irish Immigrants.

Incidentally there was a Confederate Irish brigade too, from Texas, I think.

And the Army that became famous in the Indian campaigns was mostly Irish, too.

And so the Irish earned their way into the heart and soul of America, where they reside today. So, as you lift that Guinness or John Jameson today, remember a people who fought for their freedom for almost a thousand years. And listen to one of the most famous of Irish-American tunes.

A friend of mine, Laura from Catholic Cravings published a prayer of her Irish Great Grandfather’s from the 1950s, and that is another thing to respect in the Irish, their stubborn Christianity.

O Most Sacred and Most Loving Heart of Jesus, to which the Irish nation is most solemnly dedicated, preserve our nation in faith, in purity, and in charity. Through all its trials, its sorrows, its persecutions in the past it has remained faithful to the teaching of its great Apostle, St Patrick.

May the former glory of its apostolic faith again appear. May it become again the seat of learning and religion. May the rising generation see its rights restored. May the zeal of its priesthood increase. May the purity of its daughters preserve its stainless character. May the honour of its sons remained unsullied.

May the evil of intemperance cease. May the spirit of infidelity and rationalism never reach its shores. May its attachment to the See of Peter and its obedience to ecclesiastical superiors never suffer diminution. May sanctity be its atmosphere.

And may it daily render greater glory and honour to thee, Most Sacred Heart, to which every true Irish heart is, and will ever be, most devotedly attached. Amen.

God save Ireland, and bless her Bishops, priests, and religious; her leaders, her friends, and her people everywhere.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

Needed This St. Patrick’s Day: Ronald Reagan | Catholic Lane

Ronald Reagan wearing cowboy hat at Rancho del...

Ronald Reagan wearing cowboy hat at Rancho del Cielo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Well its Friday and its been interesting fascinating and historical week. Sunday is St. Patrick’s day and so I thought it would be a good time to remind you of a President of Irish extraction with the sense of humor to go with it.

 

It was on St. Patrick’s Day 1988 when an unexpected visitor arrived at Pat Troy’s Irish pub in Alexandria, VaPresident Ronald Reagan.

For 27 years, it’s been a favorite watering hole for Washington insiders. Some of Reagan’s advance men had been regulars. They secretly arranged the president’s visit.

Just before noon, the pub was half-packed when Reagan and his entourage arrived. As news got around, the pub quickly filled to capacity. While Reagan enjoyed a pint of Harp and some corned beef and cabbage, Troy was so busy tending to patrons, he didn’t have time to react to his famous patron.

“He had an energy about him that put you instantly at ease,” Troy told me. “He made it easy to carry on as though he was just another patron, so that is what I did.”

Troy took the stage and led the audience in “The Wild Rover.” He directed sections of the audience to compete with each other to see which could sing and clap the loudest.

“You have to clap louder, Mr. President,” he said to Reagan, prompting the president, not used to being given orders, to laugh.

Troy next led the audience in “The Unicorn Song.” While Troy sang the words, the audience mimicked the animals referenced in the song:

“There were green alligators and long-necked geese, some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees. Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born, the loveliest of all was the unicorn.”

Reagan turned to watch a group of young women act out the song. His face showed curiosity and delight – he’d never seen this song performed before.

But that was how he was: At the same time he was the world’s most powerful man, the man who felled communism and restored American optimism, he was a man of youthful innocence who found immense pleasure in the simplest things.

 

Continue reading Needed This St. Patrick’s Day: Ronald Reagan | Catholic Lane.

 

O, and here

 

 

Corned beef and cabbage and a green beer, please!  :-)

 

 

NEO:

Back on St. Patricks Day, I referred to the Irish Potato Famine and what it meant in the US Immigration stream. I had neither the room nor the information to go into any depth on it however.

J.G. Burdette has however and its an interesting and heartbreaking story. If your interested in US and/or Irish history you should go and read this (and the comments).

Originally posted on Map of Time | A Trip Into the Past:

In 1845 when the potato blight hit, the Irish relied heavily on the tuber as they had done in the past. It was their main, and for the majority, only source of food. It was also their means of paying rent. When the potato failed and continued to do so men and women, young and old, died of starvation and disease.

Infected Potato Courtesy Wikipedia

The potato crops had been doing well in1845. It promised to be a good harvest, and already last season’s crops had been sold at the market. The first inklings of a coming disaster was reported from the Isle of Wright, where potatoes had rotted. Then Dublin added it’s woes to the list, but still it was believed to be a local outbreak and so no cause for worry. All over Ireland crops were still doing well. But when it came time to harvest, their hopes…

View original 1,001 more words

St Patrick’s Day

I’m a good Lutheran so I don’t celebrate Saints’ days but there a few, St. Crispin/Crispians Day, All Saints Day, and of course, St. Patricks Day. I suspect it has become more of a holiday in the States than in Ireland itself.

We all know the conventional parts: The green beer and milkshakes, the green rivers, the parades, the green beer and so forth. There’s more to it than that.

Way back when my forebears went on a bit of a tear and founded an empire, we managed to conquer all or parts of England, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, and not least there’s this province in France named after us: Normandy. Yep. named for the Vikings. While we were over there in Ireland we founded a few settlements such as Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, and a few others. You see, Viking has two meanings. Yes, we were warriors, if you go by our missions, you could probably have called us marines but, we were also traders who like to buy and sell stuff. So when we left, we left the Irish some new towns, and probably some new kids too.

Anyway time moved along till shortly after the Conquest of England, the King decided he ought to have Ireland as well. This was mostly by the Marcher Lords but King Henry II was perfectly happy with the idea. This war lasted all through the centuries, the Tudors tried, Cromwell tried it, the expatriate Scottish nobles tried it. Ireland resisted them all, even causing Captain Boycott to try his new tactics. Ireland became independent in 1919. And you thought the American revolution was a long war.

Here’s where we slip back across the ocean. You remember I mentioned those expatriate Scots? They became one of our immigrant streams: the Scots-Irish. Many, many of them came to the southern colonies, and most became patriots during the revolution, afterward settling the Old South and the southern parts of the Old Northwest. They were a stubborn, independent lot, not willing to give up a jot of their independence, and imparting a good bit of that to all Americans.

Then in 1849 the potato crop failed in Ireland, and the country was starving, huge immigrant streams came to America searching for a better life. They didn’t get a warm welcome. The people saw that they would work for nearly nothing, they were catholics, probably needed a bath, and whatever else they could think of. The sign of the day was:

No Irish Need Apply

But the Irish persevered, eventually got better jobs and moved up. They were the laborers that built many of the railroads, including the Union Pacific.

But they did something else too. When the Civil War came along, they enlisted in droves, entire brigades of Irish from New York and other cities took the field. The most famous was the Irish Brigade of New York: 63rd New York Infantry, the 69th New York Infantry, and the 88th New York Infantry. The three New York regiments were soon joined by a predominately “Yankee” regiment from Massachusetts, the 29th Massachusetts. The 29th was never fond of being brigade with three Irish “Fenian” regiments from New York and soon after the Battle of Antietam the 29th was replaced by the 28th Massachusetts Infantry regiment, made up mostly of Irish Immigrants.

Incidentally there was a Confederate Irish brigade too, from Texas, I think.

And the Army that became famous in the Indian campaigns was mostly Irish, too.

And so the Irish earned their way into the heart and soul of America, where they reside today. So, as you lift that Guinness or John Jameson today, remember a people that fought for their freedom for almost a thousand years. And listen to one of the most famous of Irish-American tunes.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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