A primer on Being Irish


In advance of the annual St. Patrick’s Day desire to “be Irish,” the leprechauns at By George Journal thought we would provide a primer for everyone to enjoy this festive day this coming Wednesday. We suggest this week that you take up the challenge of the following three steps:


1.  Recognizing the rich history of Irish Canadians

2.  Picking up (and, perhaps, daring to read) Finnegans Wake

3.  Drinking a pint of Beamish Stout


Here’s a wee bit of help on completing these three tasks.


1.  Recognizing the rich history of Irish Canadians


You can read up on the proud history of Canada’s Irish immigrants from the Irish Canadian Society.


You will find out that the Irish Canadians drilled the world’s first oil gusher in southwestern Ontario.




2.  Picking up (and daring to read) Finnegans Wake


Reading James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake just got easier thanks to a pair of Quixotic scholars. There’s a recent report from the London Guardian about the re-issuing of this classic Irish tome.


     Seventy years on, scholars Danis Rose and John O’Hanlon have reached the conclusion of 30 years of textual analysis. Poring over the tens of thousands of pages of notes, drafts, typescripts and proofs that make up, in Joyce’s own words, his “litters from aloft, like a waast wizzard all of whirlwords”, they have made 9,000 “minor yet crucial” amendments and corrections to the book, from misspellings to misplaced phrases, ruptured syntax and punctuation marks….. “There were 20,000 pages of manuscript, and beyond that 60 notebooks, and beyond that it extended out into thousands of different volumes. It extends out and out and out – what Joyce was doing was distilling in and in and in.”


The full London Guardian article is here.  You may also be interested in reading the original 1939 book review from the Guardian.


3.  Drinking a pint of Beamish Stout


Of course – a mandatory activity on St. Paddy’s day is to hoist a glass of the finest. Here’s the introduction to a very interesting, informative article on Irish brews:


     We have some bad news about St. Patrick’s Day.  There’s no connection between beer and St. Patrick. In fact, the man wasn’t even Irish, nor was his name Patrick. But you probably don’t want to hear more of the truth, so let’s move on and learn a little about Irish beer instead. This brief lesson focuses on beers brewed in Ireland, not Irish-style beers brewed elsewhere.


A must read:  The Top 10 Irish Beers.  



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