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Celebrating all things Irish

Tomorrow, March 17, 2012, is Saint Patrick’s Day.  Will you celebrate by raising a pint and downing some corned beef and cabbage?  Or, perhaps some Irish soda bread and tea is more to your taste?  What about the special events around town this week - the lecture on Irish immigrants, the St. Patrick’s Day fund raiser at the Navigator Club or live Celtic music performances.  Be sure to include the library in your plans!  We have books, movies, music CDs and more, to satisfy your every need regarding Ireland, the Irish, and the impressive cultural heritage produced by this small country.

Check out the books on display in our windows along Katharine Lee Bates road.  Right now the selection includes Irish cookbooks, histories and travel guides, as well as books on religion, folklore, legend and music.  Elsewhere in the adult collection room you can find Irish literature on display and lots more on the shelves.  If you are looking for some ideas for a great read, try works by the following highly regarded Irish writers:

Plays
George Bernard Shaw (Nobel Prize, 1925)
Oscar Wilde
Samuel Beckett (Nobel Prize, 1969)
Martin McDonagh

Novels, Short Stories, Prose
James Joyce
Edna O’Brien
C. S. Lewis
Jonathan Swift
J.P. Donleavy
Roddy Doyle
Maeve Binchy
Bram Stoker

Poems
W. B. Yeats (Nobel Prize, 1923)
Seamus Heaney (Nobel Prize, 1995)
Paul Muldoon

I would like to share a beautiful poem with you that expresses one Irishman’s love for his country …

Memories
I left two Loves on a distant strand,
One fair and young and white of hand,
One fair and old and sadly grand,
My wedded wife and my native land.

One tarrieth sad and seriously
Beneath the roof that mine should be;
One sitteth sibyl-like beside the sea,
Chanting a grave song mournfully.

A little life I have not seen
Lies by the heart that mine hath been;
A cypress wreath darkles now, I ween,
Over the brow of my Love in green.

The mother and wife shall pass away;
Her hands be dust, her lips be clay;
But my other Love on earth shall stay
And live in the life of a better day.

Ere we were born my first Love was,
My sires were heirs to her holy cause;
And she yet shall sit in the world’s applause,
A mother of men and blessed laws.

hope and strive the while I sigh,
For I know my first Love cannot die;
From the chain of woes that loom so high
Her reign shall reach to eternity.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee

According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, cypress is “a funeral tree ... because when once cut, it never grows again.” Also, “It was also traditionally the wood from which Cupid’s arrows were made.” Darkles means to show darkly according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

If you have any favorite Irish verses or song lyrics we would love to know.  Post a comment to this blog below.  (I really wasn’t trying to rhyme there!)

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