Ireland’s Greatest

Trivialising our culture

There’s too much democracy around these days folks.

Years back a panel of experts would be sequestered and they’d come up with proper questions, while we were out drinking, before presenting us with the proper answer before we got the last round in.

They’d do our thinking for us, unlike RTE, who have gone and done it again with their Greatest Irish Person of all time poll.

Bono, a tax dodger, Michael Collins a killer, John Hume a bluffer, James Connolly, and auld Noddy, Mary Robinson, have made the Top 5 shortlist for the above award.

You may recall that Noddy and her housebound insulted the highest office in the land after fucking off to take up a position with the completely useless UN before her tenure as Irish President was up.

“I am of two pensions, come dance with us in the Hague,” said Mary as she embraced the marginalised and marginalises the marginalisers of the marginalised.

Why, during her term of office, a tenure in which she concocted some of the most mind-numbing clichés known in the English language, Mary even found time to embrace the marginalisers of the people who were once rampant marginalisers but who are now, thanks to her intervention, also embracing the marginalisers of the marginalised, going forward.

Bono, meantime, has the balls to lecture governments on their contributions to international aid agencies while he and the Fab Four have all their doubloons stashed away in Holland to avoid paying taxes.

And he’s also a bollocks.

Collins, a man who left many Irish families grieving for loved ones, the collateral damage of an irredentist claim which he more or less created, was the founding father of modern terrorism. He wrote the script.

Another unfortunate legacy of the Collins myth is that the virus of Yeats’s Cathleen Ní Houlihan is still stalking the land and has downloaded iself into the cerebral cortexes of normally intelligent people such as Michael McDowell to such an extent that he appears to have bought into this hissing of a spent Republican lie.

McDowell recently described the ex Minister for Finance as our Nelson Mandela. “He was a man for all seasons: he was our George Washington, our Nelson Mandela, ” he said of Collins.

GUBU, to paraphrase another great Irishman, Conor Cruise O’Brien, the man who intellectually decommissioned physical force Irish nationalism.

O’Brien also exposed Charles Haughey 20 years before the rest, while his book States of Ireland should be prerequisite reading in our schools. John Hume emphasised just how great this book is when he described it as an exercise in total paranoia – essential reading in other words.

We ignored O’Brien’s accusations about Haughey and Fianna Fail, treating him as some sort of deranged Gaelic Cassandra, but he was proved to be right and we have reaped the whirlwind, courtesy of the institutionalised corruption which has brought this country to its knees.

This isn’t the first time that RTE – which we pay for – have dumped down on us by providing opportunities for cretins to cast votes. A few months back they provided the platform for the full-frontal lobotomised ones to cite Padraig Harrington as the Greatest Irish Sportsman of all time even though golf isn’t a sport.

Montrose started out with a list of 40 for above. To give you any idea of where they were coming from, Westlife, a group of individuals devoid of any discernible talent, are on the list despite the fact that Rory Gallagher’s drummer put more thought into his Hi-Hat work than this repellent band put into entire CDs.

Louis Walsh, a deformed pygmy, is also included. Why not Jedward while you’re at it?

Writing in one of today’s broadsheets, Cathal MacCarthy quite correctly points out that Walsh has done more damage to Irish culture than Cromwell.

McCarthy recalls an LP of Sinatra covers that Walsh and Westlife desecrated and concludes that they managed to do the impossible and mutilate the heritage of two great artistic nations.

Stephen Gately, who had the decency to die last year – a good career move as Elvis Presley’s manager remarked after the King quite literally slipped off the throne – made the top ten, even though he had no talent at all.

Is Gately more talented than WB Yeats, who hasn’t even made the top 10? And what does it say about us as a nation when a Karaoke artist finished higher than the greatest poet of the last two centuries?

Tone, Parnell, Davitt, Swift, O’Casey, Synge, lesser talents than Gately obviously, and Daniel O’Connell, who Tim Pat Coogan believes was a truly international figure in that the civil rights movement in the USA had its roots in his successful drive for Catholic emancipation, Shaw, nor Joyce made the top five or ten for that matter.

Neither did Beckett, a mad fucker granted. When he originally wrote Waiting for Godot he didn’t want any actors on stage at all, just an old chair and some bollocks giving an occasional groan out of him in the background.

The French, sick bastards, were mad for it, but not Paddy. Being from a backward country, Paddy wanted dialogue and acting and such. The French were having none of that though.

Daniel O’Donnell, meantime, made it into the top 30. A few years back O’Donnell’s manager insisted that he be shifted from the mainstream charts into the middle of the road charts to boost sales. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the middle of the road during rush hour.

Charles Haughey also made the Top 40, while Ronan Keating, another talentless bastard, is also included.

A spokesperson for RTÉ said:

“The public were asked to name the top five people who they considered to be the greatest Irish man or woman who’s ever lived. The public were then asked to vote online for their favourite Irish person over a 12-day period. From this list the final top five contenders were chosen”.

My greatest Irish person of all time is Arthur Guinness and/or the Duke of Wellington. The Dublin-born Duke changed the course of European history after sorting out the Frogs at Waterloo. That quietened the bastards – until the Henry incident.

Uncle Arthur, meantime, is also involved in the poetry business, liquid poetry. Conor Cruise O’Brien, Ireland’s restless conscience, and Edmund Burke deserve honourable mentions.

Meantime, Dave Fanning will be on the telly on Monday night extolling the virtues of Bono and arguing why he should get the top award. Will Dave ask him about his tax avoidance schemes? Will Michael D Higgins be lining out as quarter-back for the Dallas Cowboys?

Why are RTE being allowed to humiliate us as a nation by soliciting the votes of brain-dead people? The national broadcaster, if they are pursuing ventures of this sort, should leave the matter to a panel of experts in various fields.

Of course, it’s not even an original idea. A few years back the BBC did the same and the Catholic writer Willie Shakespeare finished top of the table. Even the English recognise their heritage, but not Ireland.

In Ireland, a majority believe that Stephen Gately, Louis Walsh, Ronan Keating and Daniel O’Donnell have made a greater contribution to the arts than WB Yeats, Joyce, Shaw, Wilde, Beckett, Synge, and O’Casey, to name but seven.

We may as well pack it in and call in the IMF folks. It’s bad enough being broke, but when we start dumping down on our own culture it’s time to throw in the towel.

Top 5

Bono, Michael Collins, James Connolly, John Hume, Mary Robinson

Top 10

Noel Brown, Stephen Gately (Jesus wept), Phil Lynott, Patrick Pearse, Adi Roche

Top 40

Eamon DeValera, Joe Dolan, (wept) Ronnie Drew, Colin Farrell, Garret Fitzgerald, Bob Geldof, Padriag Harrington, Charles Haughey, Seamus Heabey, James Joyce, John B Keane, Roy Keane, Ronan Keating (talentless), Sean Lemass, Jack Lynch, Paul McGrath, Christy Moore, Liam Neeson, Daniel O’Connell, Daniel O’Donnell, Brian O’Driscoll, Michael O’Leary, John O’Shea (charity), Sonia O’Sullivan, Charles Stewart Parnell, Christy Ring, Wolfe Tone, Louis Walsh (Jesus wept), Oscar Wilde, WB Yeats.

92 thoughts on “Ireland’s Greatest

  1. Well Seconds, that has to be the Greatest fucking rant in a good while. Connor Cruise O`Brien ? are you really serious? Even he could`nt make up his fucking mind if he was irish, english. orange or green his mind was so fucked up he makes Eoghan Harris sound positively determined and we all know about the revolving door of a brain he has.
    I do agree with you tho that their has been and there still is for that matter so many people of wonderful talent, elegance and indeed style here in Ireland. Do you think that RTE is allowed to show these people to the nation?

  2. I reckon CC O’Brien was deranged Soda, that’s why I like him – but he was also right, especially in relation to Haughey and the IRA. I recall that over two decades ago he was asking how a government minister on a relatively small salary owned a fucking island off the coast of Kerry, race horses and was wearing 700 pound shirts seen as he had no other “visable” means of income. The media ignored same at the time. As for RTE I reckon they don’t give a rats ass anymore.

  3. Colin Farrell?

    Where’s Pierce Brosnan?

    And where’s Val Doonican?

    What I really want to know is, whoever made up the Top 40 list, can I get some of what they were smoking?

  4. It would be interesting to put the RTE list alongside the Irish Nobel Laureate list. Have RTE even heard of Ernest Walton?

  5. The whole list is composed of singers writers actors killers and bullshitters,did anybody on this godforsaken island ever invent anything or do anything that made a real difference to the world!!.

  6. I wasn’t going to mention Ernest Walton, thanks Ian. I would guess that many people in this country have no clue who he is.

  7. Oh ok we got one,and as far as I can asertain he is of Anglo Irish origin.Strange I know the town he is from and I have never seen any monuments to him there.Now if he was able to rattle off an auld melody I am sure it would be a different story

  8. the town Walton is from Dungarvan does however have a large monument to a greyhound called Master McGrath.They got their priorites I guess

  9. Ah, why did you have to bring fucking Anglo Irish into it. I was enjoying a good, old-fashioned rant. What, is Seanie on the list now as well?

  10. Bock..Then what relevance does his nationality have then.The Anglo-Irish regard themselves as Anglo Irish the Irish Americans as Irish Americans etc etc.The relevance of it here is that if you look at a list of Irish scientific figures you will be surprised to learn that most are Anglo Irish it is simply an interesting fact.Let me put it this way if an Irish American done something great would you be upset at him being described as Irish American and if so why? because I cannot see why it would cause anybody offense as it merely gives some insight into the individual and his background.

  11. Apart from the fact that this whole construct is just a bit of RTE fluff (and unimpressive fluff at that), the idea to include living people seems perverse.

    Did anyone ask Mary Robinson if she wanted to be included? does she get to wear a medal should she win – ‘I Am Irelands Greatest Person’. Jeez, she’d have to live out her days as a nun!

  12. Where is Vincent Hanley, Fab Vinny, the renowned RTE radio 2 disc jockey, in this list of Irish greats? He died in Clonmel of Aids in 1987 at the age of 32. Besides bringing musical culture to the entranced nation he also did a stint with the New York media and held his own in international company. He had a neatly trimmed mustache, unlike that clown Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea. Of course another well-known political leader, Sean Lemass, had a neatly trimmed mustache also, so that might beat Fab Vinny into second place.

  13. This s my diatribe,
    Michael Collins, a product of his time, don’t compare him to modern times, realised that the army was on it’s knee’s, and could not continue the fight, negotiated the best deal he could, a realist.
    Bono, well I personally don’t like him, or his music, an opportunist, jumped on Bob Geldoff’s Band Aid wagon, and, decided he was God.
    Mary Robinson, what can one say, another opportunist, grabbed the cash and fucked off, when the possibility of greater glory beckoned, from the Sindo 2/05/2101, I know , I know, but, Google is your friend…
    “Former President Mary Robinson, currently based in New York as president of worldwide advocacy group Realizing Rights, received a total pension of €187,297. This was made up of €150,748 for her times as president and €36,549 for her time as a senator.”
    John Hume, as least he was an advocate of the Credit Union movement and contributed some thing of actual use,, but, he is a U.K. citizen and as such never contributed jack shit b to nthe Republic, other than costing us a fortune to the Provisional I.R.A. pension fund, wha?, well rembember the “peace process” was negotiated by “Bertie the Bountifull”, and he always bought the deal with our money..
    James Connolly, he did actually die for reland, and, left his family with fuck all..
    No doubt, but, ti’s a great little country, and, we”ll all be fucked when the IMF close it down.

  14. Sapo are you deliberatly trying to upset me? (post 17) A comedian, can’t remember his name, God bless him, replied when asked who was his favourite member of Westlife – ” the first one that dies -that’s some pension Noddy is on Jbkenn, you could marginalise a lot of marginalisers with that and still have some change for a few pints, going forward.

  15. did anybody on this godforsaken island ever invent anything or do anything that made a real difference to the world!!.

    Google George Boole.

    He founded the Math dept at UCC.

    Boolean Algebra is a major fracking deal in Logic and Computer Science.

    There’s also Student, the pseudonym for the inventor of the t distribution, a major fracking deal in Statistics. He used a pseudonym because he was working for Guinness at the time.

  16. Did ye know that Tayto produced the very first potatoe chip in the world!

    What I want to know is, who the fuck was this person working with Tayto and why the fuck is’nt He/She on the list!

  17. Mr Tayto brought out his auto biography last year Long John, a great read.

    Fartin, John Holland, born in the greater Limerick region of Clare, was “the father of the modern submarine.” He was a school teacher, may have been a Christian brother, in New Jersey. By 1899 he had reached the form that would determine the basic configuration of submarines worldwide for the next 50 years. And yet, within five years of selling the U.S. Navy its first submarine in 1900, Holland was essentially forced out of the business by his former associates, who then became wealthy exploiting the patents that embodied his fundamental ideas.

  18. What does Anglo-Irish mean anyway or is it so broad in defintion to be of any use? Some might see it as similar to the old Protestant Ascendancy. Others view it as those who maintained an allegiance to the crown after independence. Still others mean those families who sent and still send their children to the UK to be educated. Equally, it is applied to certain families who hold “ancestral” land to the present day. Is Martin Manseragh (FF, TD ) Anglo-Irish? Conor Cruise was to some extent viewed as one, though his family were steeped in the 1916 business. What about Bernal from Nenagh, scientist and philosopher, educated in Ampleforth and advisor to the British Gov during the war and yet a supporter of 1916 and a communist internationalist? Brendan Bracken, now he might also qualify as Anglo-irish and he was Churchill’s advisor for long periods. Strangely, Anglo-Irish is never applied to the descendants of the ordinary garrison who often stayed on and intermarried in large numbers, thus losing their religious and national identities more quickly. Anglo-Irish seems now so outdated a term as to be meaningless.

  19. How about Robert Boyle, of “Boyle’s Law”?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Boyle

    “With all the important work he accomplished in physics – the enunciation of Boyle’s law, the discovery of the part taken by air in the propagation of sound, and investigations on the expansive force of freezing water, on specific gravities and refractive powers, on crystals, on electricity, on colour, on hydrostatics, etc. – chemistry was his peculiar and favourite study. His first book on the subject was The Sceptical Chymist, published in 1661, in which he criticized the “experiments whereby vulgar Spagyrists are wont to endeavour to evince their Salt, Sulphur and Mercury to be the true Principles of Things.”. For him chemistry was the science of the composition of substances, not merely an adjunct to the arts of the alchemist or the physician. He endorsed the view of elements as the undecomposable constituents of material bodies; and made the distinction between mixtures and compounds. He made considerable progress in the technique of detecting their ingredients, a process which he designated by the term “analysis”. He further supposed that the elements were ultimately composed of particles of various sorts and sizes, into which, however, they were not to be resolved in any known way. He studied the chemistry of combustion and of respiration, and conducted experiments in physiology, where, however, he was hampered by the “tenderness of his nature” which kept him from anatomical dissections, especially of living animals, though he knew them to be “most instructing”.”

    Or Bram Stoker, who took the dreary penny dreadful “Varney the Vampire”, and turned it into “Dracula”? Have they taken the plaque off of Stoker’s house in Pearse St?

    As mentioned, how could any list not contain Edmund Burke or Jonathan Swift? The people have been intellectually lobotomised. Kudos, RTE. You can ape the cruder shows of the BBC, but you sure as fuck don’t have the chops to copy their high quality documentaries.

    (I you’re ever looking for someone who CAN, shoot me an email).

  20. And then there was the Irish philosopher, Bishop George Berkeley, he of the tree falling in the forest fame, who used to be taught in Catholic seminaries under the title; “LockeBerkeleyHumeKant and where he was wrong.”

  21. A couple of Scientists/mathematicians, besides those above:

    Sir William Rowan Hamilton: inventor of Quaternions (the forerunner of vector analysis), after whom the “Hamiltonian” is named (quantum physics’ “everyday” tool for field theory), and much other work see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Rowan_Hamilton

    The 3rd Earl of Rosse, William Parsons: built “the Leviathian” telescope – the largest in Europe at the time – at Birr Castle, named the Crab nebula … (born in England, so perhaps would be considered Anglo by the xenophobic, but even Britannica puts him as an “Irish Astronomer”). http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/510159/William-Parsons-3rd-earl-of-Rosse

  22. BTW, the word “Quark” was invented by Joyce in “Finnegan’s Wake”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Joyce

    “Joyce’s influence is also evident in fields other than literature. The phrase “Three Quarks for Muster Mark” in Joyce’s Finnegans Wake is often called the source of the physicists’ word “quark”, the name of one of the main kinds of elementary particles, proposed by the physicist Murray Gell-Mann.[53]”

    Any list of “X Great Irish(wo)men” which doesn’t have Joyce near the top isn’t worth a second look.

  23. We appear to have quite a number of top scientists despite our relationship with drink. The problem all along was keeping Paddy sober long enough for him to invent something. Once they got him on the wagon he started coming up with all sorts of ideas, until he fell off and discovered art.

  24. Brian O Nolan would be on my list
    what is greatness? I would have thought that an original work,idea,or vision would be the very least required.
    So maybe when voting you should have to give your reason (he’s hot would not be an exceptable responce)

  25. William — Can you explain how you deduced the Anglo part of the definition?

    Incidentally, in response to another of your comments, Boolean algebra forms the basis for all computer science. That’s a fairly decent achievement, I would have thought.

  26. Bock…the definition of Anglo is …..well its in the word Anglo.Being of Anglo Saxon origin.Your question about Boolean algebra I dont understand.Perhaps if you tell me which comment you refer to.

  27. William — I refer to this comment:

    did anybody on this godforsaken island ever invent anything or do anything that made a real difference to the world!!.

    The question I asked about the Anglo part was how you determined which of these people were of Anglo-Saxon origin

  28. Bock…the comment you refer to was regarding Ireland in modern times which is where most of the nominees for irelands greatest are from.Regarding Anglo Saxon origin the first clue is an Anglo Saxon surname after that its just a little individual research on the person.I am sure you will agree that information such as the son of the earl of Cork or being born in Lismore castle or coming over with Cromwell are good indicators of thats persons ethnic origin.And as you will see on the pdf link I sent you majority of irish scientists come from this group.

  29. Are you entirely sure where all your ancestors came from?

    As for the Anglo-Saxon surname, have you had a word with Mr Adams in Belfast regarding his origins?

  30. Bock, have you seen the recent genetic studies which link most of modern Irish DNA not to the Celts, but the Basques?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/1256894.stm

    The Welsh and Irish Celts have been found to be the genetic blood-brothers of Basques, scientists have revealed.

    The gene patterns of the three races passed down through the male line are all “strikingly similar”, researchers concluded.

    Basques can trace their roots back to the Stone Age and are one of Europe’s most distinct people, fiercely proud of their ancestry and traditions.

    The research adds to previous studies which have suggested a possible link between the Celts and Basques, dating back tens of thousands of years.

    There was a more recent story on this in the INDO last week, but the above is from 2001, so the ideas been knocking around for a while.

    English also have more Basque than Angle or Saxon or Celt, though the Irish, having less contact with the outside world, have a larger amount, apparently.

    It makes a nonsense of the “Celt vs. Anglo” narrative.

  31. Fanning was on last night droning on about how Bono is God and should be Ireland’s greatest.
    Of the £18m of donations raised by Bono’s‘ONE’ charity in 2008, only $187,000 was actually spent on the ground in Africa, the rest went on employee salaries and advertising. Some “charities”
    are obviously just employment opportunities. Get in the CEOs, presidents, staff, out-reach co coordinators and assorted alickadoos and you have a license to tap people for money for a worthy cause. Of course the lions
    share of the money will on the salaries of the people raising the awareness, not the people who need it. It’s a legalised shake down, some might call it fraud.

    Funny one Dermot @ post 40

    http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/u2_bonos_foundation_gives_only_one_percent_to_charity.html

  32. Bock..geneticists determine ethic origin today by the male y chromosome which is passed from father to son though the generations.Regarding Mr Adams religon or political views are not a really accurate way to determine origin.Many English catholics fled to Ireland during the protestant reformation.Many also were originally protestant but switched to catholic.Surnames however are a very good indicator of origin.

  33. It is a good indicator not cannot be regarded 100% reliable as of course somebody may have aquired the name as a result of adoption or to a name change such as changing an Irish name into a near sounding English name.But however it is a good indicator as it is unlikely somebody with a gaelic surname will be of Anglo origin

  34. How about John Hume? Ken Maginnis? Harold McCusker?

    The Shinners are looking shaky with all these Gildernews and Ramseys and Andersons. Not to mention Arthur Morgan, Robert Beasley and Brian Stanley.

    How about deValera? Was he Irish?

    I know fellas called Devereaux and Molyneux. They’re starting to sound a bit suspicious now. I knew a guy called Olsen one time. Thought he was Irish but I’m beginning to wonder.

    I personally have no idea where all my forebears originated and I think I asked you the question, but I’ll repeat it anyway.

    Do you know where all your ancestors came from?

  35. all I know is my male chromosome is Anglo- saxon which tallies accurately with my Anglo saxon surname my mothers surname was Gaelic so I regard myself as Anglo Irish in the truest sense.That as far as I am concerned is my identity.It is all that I can ever possibly know of it.

  36. William — Remember why I’m asking you these things. You’re classifying people as Anglo-Irish, while I would simply call them Irish., and that’s the crux of my point. Are they not Irish? Please don’t say they’re Irish and also something else.

    I’m afraid your genetic definitions are a bit skewed, however. To the best of my knowledge, there’s no such thing as an Anglo-Irish chromosome. Luckily, there are regular readers far more qualified than I am who can shed light on this.

  37. I know exactly why you are asking your point was obvious from the start.I have no problem in calling them Irish if that is what they regard themselves as,however many do not and that is their right.same as many irish living in Britain would be annoyed at being told they were English.Another thing is the Irish attitude towards the Anglos here, they are regarded as Irish when they do something great but otherwise are the demon foreigner of folklore and song.I also dont understand your objection to dual indentity it is very common around the world.indeed even the inhabitants of Northern ireland are entitled to it.Your are correct there is no Anglo Irish chromosome.There is an Anglo y Chromosome the Irish refers to their geographical location

  38. Here’s Noddy Two Pensions and her housebound explaining why the Irish are so inclined toward art.

  39. “There is an Anglo y Chromosome the Irish refers to their geographical location”. I did honours biology for my leaving cert and I don’t remember anything about an Anglo Chromosome.
    As far as I know a person has 46 chromosomes. 23 from their mother, 23 from their father. 23 pairs (23 x 2). Would the Anglo y chromosome carry dominent or recessive genes I wonder?

  40. And that’s left right after my comment Seconds? hmm. You could have posed that question a lot earlier. Is there a gene for slow off the mark? :)
    Dermot gives a link to a genetic study way, way above. See it?
    See, “To the best of my knowledge, there’s no such thing as an Anglo-Irish chromosome. Luckily, there are regular readers far more qualified than I am who can shed light on this.” Shedding some light Seconds.
    Ok back on topic. I think the greatest Irish person ever was W.B..
    I will arise and go now and get my arse to the gym..
    And a small threadmill built there of steal and aluminum made..

  41. McCourt was a fine writer Long John. I’d go for WB Yeats myself in that field. I reckon McCourt was as good as if not better than Joyce. James Stephens is another fine Irish writer that rarely gets a mention. If we’re to be honest some of the stuff Joyce wrote was over indulgent nonsense, such as Finnegans Wake.

  42. Colum McCann is another fine Irish writer Seconds. His latest is, Let The Great World Spin. Looks like a good read. I’ll be reading it soon.

  43. Haven’t read him yet FME, must get some of his work. Maybe we should, in the WB context. choose Haughey…….. he did introduce free travel for our elder lemons.

    “I will arise now and go to Ennis free,” a Galway man said at the time.

  44. haha. Elder lemons.. That’s worse than the Technology for Older people – “Silver Technology” that was proposed. Haughey.. Sur why the hell not. He’s probably one of the better options out of the dismal display that was selected by the great Irish public. Have these people no pride at all?

  45. May I nominate Flann O’Brien, Could never imagine him being anything other than Irish. His books in different languages have been at my bedside these last three decades. I mean reading “The Third Policeman” and you realise this man must have been hated and loved for his deadly wit. Few countries have produced a funnier writer and jaysus how I love his “The Poor mouth” . He was a stong man to survive an asylum run by the paitents.

  46. William, women don’t have a Y chromosome–do they not display any anglo-saxon characteristics then?

  47. Had a look at the list @24, didn’t see Lord Kelvin mentioned. Did a ton of work around thermodynamics-postulated absolute temperature and the Kelvin scale is named after him. Walton basically proved Einstein’s E=mC2 experimentally.

  48. Sorry Bock, We know this great man was complicated and I once met a mad Finn who loved him and knew every thing about him and told me he had several names. In my opinion he Flann is up there among the greatest. As usual Bock your writing is educational and entertaining. My Penguin copy of “At Swim” from 1976 follows me around the world and is in a shabby state but I would not trade it for anything, well almost. A great man is Flann or Myles or Brian. Temp minus 2c this morning.

  49. Behan used call him a bollocks, so that’s four names he had. At Swim should carry a public warning on the cover – you will burst out laughing reading same and people will point at you.

  50. Yes This has happened whilst reading “At Swim” on a train in the polar regions at night. Was even asked by a Forest Finn” what kind of book is that”?.

  51. What about “Puckoon” by Spike Milligan. Lets not forget he was an Irish comedian, writer, Poet ,musician and lunatic. One of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Short, sweet and absolutely wonderful!

  52. I think that Spike took out Paddy citizenship in protest at Brit militarism, or Man Utd.

    There are little holes in the sky to let the rain in
    The holes are not very big
    That’s why rain is thin. wrote the great Spike.

  53. Ah Jeez Seconds, we’re not getting back into the anglo v banglo shit again are we?
    Remember as Spike said, and I quote ” The blinds were drawn, but the furniture was real”

  54. The only reason why Spike took out irish citizenship was after 30 yrs of hounding the british for an english passport he finally copped on why they were ignoring him.

  55. Never remember Sodacake tasting bitter? Then again was’nt this the very same cake that was passed out under the bridge (from english town) to keep the invading army fed during the seige of Limerick! Ha Ha

  56. The siege of Limerick. Wasn’t that the one where their rich guy fought against our rich guy to get their hands on the money?

  57. Correct and right Mr Bock Which side were the Fitzgeralds on, can you remember? I suppose if they were Seanie boy’s direct ancestors, it would be whoever won the war, I guess.

  58. Is there nary a person from Thomondgate, beyond which Limerick descends into depravity, debauchery and whatever else begins with D that is a bad thing, to defend the place from these scurrilous attacks?

  59. @LJS. You are a bit hard on the sodacakes record in Irish history.
    I heard that the sodacakes used to leave their cakes on the window sills to cool after baking in the bastables. But when Kileely was built, the new residents used to take advantage and steal the sodacakes on the way home from the Thomondgate pubs.That put an end to the husbandry of the sodacakes.
    This is all heresay of course. I know very little of the sodacakes. I’m a blow in.
    I don’t know what this has to do with the original greatest Irishman but what the hell.

  60. Jeez Tumbrel, I can see it already. The people of Kileely up in arms after those remarks. Most of them will have you know that they are all cakers tru n tru. Nice hot though, with a knob of butter melting down into the snowey crust and of course the obligatory cup of cha.

  61. Surely the tv licence inspector is the greatest irishman of all time . He cannot be fooled and he has heard all the stories but still you cannot pull the wool over his eyes Now be honest, can you say that for anyone else living or dead. A few years ago I moved house and by the late afternoon I was knackered so all the family sat down for a well earned cup of tea. Just then the doorbell rang and yes youve guessed , it was our friendly tv licence inspector. Have you a valid tv license he inquired. Yes I have but I cannot produce it right now as you can see I have just moved in so it would take hours to locate it. Very well then he replied and off he went . I was duly summoned some time later. Now beat that for diligence.

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