Mora Na Maidine Dhuit! Top of the morning to you! Irish you all a happy St. Patrick's Day. My ancestors did not exactly come from the Emerald Isle. They emigrated there from Scotland.
Although the Irish seem to be the second largest ethnic group in the US, I really don't think that people know much about them. The perception is that they have a cute accent, a way with words, invented terrorism, drink to excess and really know how to throw a party. So, before you go out and have green beer, wear funny hats, fake an Irish accent (which most people do rather poorly), wear green clothing and all that, I'd like for you to read a bit about the Irish.
Are there any famous Irish people that have enriched society in general? Looks like I have to do your work for you again. That's all right, I know you're busy. But just a few names, there are quite a few. The ones I'm listing were born in Ireland.
We'll start with some actors:
* Patrick McGoohan
* Pierce Brosnan (I think he was an excellent James Bond)
* Maureen O'Hara
* Maureen O'Sullivan
* Peter O'Toole
And then some musicians:
* Phil Coulter
* Enya (with the really cool name of Eithne Ní Bhraonáin)
* James Galway
* Turlough O'Carolan
* Cora Venus Lunny
Some literary figures:
* C. S. Lewis (he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, Screwtape Letters, Mere Chrisitanity and more)
* George Bernard Shaw
* William Butler Yeats
* Mary Lavin
* Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory
Moving on to science:
* Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton
* Ellen Hutchins
* Robert Boyle (one of the founders of modern chemistry)
* Lucien Bull (with photography and the electrocardiogram, I've felt his influence myself)
* William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin
Sports? Yes, plenty. Look that up yourself.
I guess there are more Irish people than you thought that have had influence in the world, huh, Scooter?
As far as "inventing terrorism", no, they didn't do that. But they did become famous for it with the Irish Republican Army. That was a radical group of separatists, predominantly in Northern Ireland. They were as typical of the Irish as Bin Laden is typical of Arabs: not. This group's use of terrorism, however, is a black eye that the Irish will have to live down. I was at a Celtic festival and saw a guy wearing a shirt with "IRA", and a fist holding a rifle. It took all I had to keep from showing him some personal terrorism with my fists! Stronzo!
If you look up the Potato Famine, you'll see why there was an influx of Irish immigrants to the United States. What most history books will not tell you, however, is that the English made the whole problem worse. And then they had discrimination in the US.
Let me interject that I get very tired of various groups acting like they have a monopoly on discrimination. (Further interjection: the word slave is based on the word Slav, for the slavic people. What does that tell you?) The Irish had plenty of discrimination as well. What were people afraid of? Maybe that the Irish would turn America into a Papist state. Who knows? People fear what they're not accustomed to. Look, they have their share of criminals, slobs and basic losers just like any other group, capice? And a lot more of the quality people than the bad sorts.
So, while you're having your corned beef and cabbage (which is not a traditional Irish dish, but developed in the US by the Irish), try to have a sober thought for the hard-working Irish who have contributed to society in many fields. Maybe give a read about St. Patrick, who was not actually Irish by birth...
Slán leat. Go mbeannaí Dia duit.