I’m away to Ireland today – the Emerald Isle, the green sceptre, land of blarney and Guinness. I love the lilting accent and the nonsensical sound to the Southern Irish voice. Whenever I hear it I always think of the old joke:
‘Paddy came up to me last night and asked – was it your brother or you who died last week?’
So what is it about Ireland that makes it so romantic, so beguiling, so charming?
Is it the accent I love so much or the dreamy vision of a future not bounded by rigid organisation, but flowing with fun and the same manyana that is so much part of the European rural culture?
How do the Irish differ from the English?
We have the archetypal stiff upper lip, bowler hat and determination to queue. Our very Englishness is what made us such a force to be reckoned with that our tiny little island was able to rule one half of the world’s surface and a third of its people (or was it the other way round?) when we were the Great British Empire. But the Irish have leprechauns and potatoes and navvies, and have never ruled anywhere – unless it’s the bar in the pub.
Let’s set aside the Irish north/ south divide, which is more about politics than people, and wonder who is the more successful? The Brits, or the Irish?
Someone once said that success is what you achieve, but happiness is what you experience. Maybe that is what is so wonderful about the Irish people I have met and which makes me associate the place with that sense of freedom and joy I so relish being part of this week – just the lilt of their voice alone makes them sound happy!
And of course
Happiness is not a reward – it is a consequence.
…I may add, that everyone can have – just smile …
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