‘If there were only three Irishmen in the world you’d find two of them in a corner talking about the other.
Maria Brandan Araoz (Argentine writer)
The History of Ireland in two words: Ah well.
The Invasion by the Vikings: Ah well.
Niall Williams, Irish author, born 1958, from ‘History of the Rain’
One was definitely Irish…. The second man was unmistakably American. It wasn’t so much his tan or dark hair that gave him away as how he held himself. He had an eager air, as though the world was full of possibility. Irish people never looked like that.
Rachael English, Irish broadcaster and writer, from ‘Going Back’
I think being a woman is like being Irish. Everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the same.
Iris Murdoch, Novelist and Philosopher, (1919-1999)
I am married to Beatrice Salkeld, a painter. We have no children, except me.
I think the Irish woman was freed from slavery by bingo…. They can go out now, dressed up, with their handbags and have a drink and play bingo. And they deserve it.
John B. Keane, Irish writer, (1928-2002)
I still hold two truths with equal and fundamental certainty. One: the British did terrible things to the Irish. Two: the Irish, had they the power, would have done equally terrible things to the British. And so also for any other paired adversaries I can imagine. The difficulty is to hold on to both truths with equal intensity, not let either one negate the other, and know when to emphasize one without forgetting the other. Our humanity is probably lost and gained in the necessary tension between them both. I hope, by the way, that I do not sound anti-British. It is impossible not to admire a people who gave up India and held on to Northern Ireland. That shows a truly Celtic sense of humor.
John Dominic Crossan, Irish-American scholar and writer (born 1934)
The Irish ignore anything they can’t drink or punch.
James Boswell, Scottish writer, (1740-1795)
I formed a new group called Alcoholics-Unanimous. If you don’t feel like a drink, you ring another member and he comes over to persuade you.
Richard Harris, Irish actor, (1930-2002)
It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.
Brendan Behan, Irish writer (1923-1964)
I’m an atheist and I thank God for it.
George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer (1856-1950)
A Garda recruit was asked during the exam: ‘What would you do if you had to arrest your own mother?’ He answered: ‘Call for reinforcements.’
If this humor be the safety of our race, then it is due largely to the infusion into the American people of the Irish brain.
William Howard Taft, 27th US President (1857-1930)
When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.
Edna O’Brien, Irish writer, (born in 1930)
An Irishman will always soften bad news, so that a major coronary is no more than ‘a bad turn’ and a near hurricane that leaves thousands homeless is ‘good drying weather’.
Hugh Leonard, Irish writer, (1926-2009)
The English are not happy unless they are miserable, the Irish are not at peace unless they are at war, and the Scots are not at home unless they are abroad.
George Orwell, English Writer (1903-1950)
Dublin University contains the cream of Ireland – rich and thick.
Samuel Beckett, Irish writer, (1926-1989)
He knows nothing and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.
George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, (1856-1950)
The most important thing I would learn in school was that almost everything I would learn in school would be utterly useless. When I was fifteen I knew the principal industries of the Ruhr Valley, the underlying causes of World War One and what Peig Sayers had for her dinner every day…What I wanted to know when I was fifteen was the best way to chat up girls. That is what I still want to know.
Joseph O’Connor,Irish writer, from ‘The Secret World of the Irish Male’
A candidate for the best sign ever! (love the parachute guy)
Spotted outside a lunchtime Restaurant in Dublin
Someone had too much time on their hands
Political Poster not quite up to the job
County Leitrim. We agree – dont shoot tourists
Dont stand on… something ??
100KM on this road/dirt-track! Please disobey this road sign
Dont walk on the water? Good advice!
You wait there. I’ll be out in a minute
Typical Tourist Town Blarney
It’s not easy being a sheep in Ireland
The Irish entrepreneurial spirit in action
Kids will love this one
Someone got busy with Photoshop!
Love’s Young Dream
Here is a DIY building situation that certainly does need a few warning signs!
No Latte or other Fancy Coffee!
Who says the European Union does not have a sense of humor!
Some things in Ireland are free!
Someone in this Church is taking things a bit literally
A Dublin Church at Booterstown gets with the times.
The Russian community in Ireland is very active!
All together now: “….you cant touch this…”
Cant imagine why this Chinese Restaurant in Dublin went out of business.
Another musical one – sing this to the tune of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen.
Creepy looking ‘kids crossing’ sign – must have been Halloween.
You get fined more if you dont have the exact amount! Make sure you have the 74 cents!
The sudden arrival of Summer causes consternation and panic among Irish citizenry.
Anyone who has a brother or sister can relate.
‘I wouldn’t do it again’ …..brilliant!
‘A Turkey never voted for an early Christmas’
‘On St. Patrick’s Day I to pretend to be Irish. At Christmas I pretend to be good.’
‘I think after Christmas would be better for publication: I am hardly a Christmas present.’
‘There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks in them.’
‘I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.’
‘Our children await Christmas presents like politicians getting in election returns: there’s the Uncle Fred precinct and the Aunt Ruth district still to come in.’
The Holidays are the one time you get to experience all the excitement of rush hour traffic in the mall parking lot.
‘The principal advantage of the non-parental lifestyle is that on Christmas Eve you need not be struck dumb by the three most terrifying words that the Government allows to be printed on any product: Some assembly required.’
‘Sending Christmas cards is a good way to let your friends and family know that you think they’re worth the price of a stamp.
‘Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.’
‘There are 17 more shopping days until Christmas. So, guys, that means 16 more days till we start shopping, right?’
Zen Christmas: the gift of nothingness.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s in Ireland the annual remembrance of those tens of thousands of Irish who gave their lives in the Great War was met with a kind of muted national indifference.
Certainly there was laying of wreaths and some elderly people would wear a poppy (before the poppy symbolism was hijacked by the British establishment in an effort to promote their own particular brand of nationalism).
But once the brief RTE television news report had been played the Irish people continued on without much acknowledgement of the anniversary, with younger people especially indifferent to what seemed like a quaint pre-independence ritual.
After all, the ‘real’ heroes of the Irish republic were the men of 1916, Pearse and Connolly, the men and women who had fought the War of Independence and the subsequent Civil War, deValera and Collins, plunging Ireland into a scarring divide that would hold the economically bankrupt country back for generations to come.
The Civil War divide still remains in Ireland, but it is very much on its last knees. At last a left-wing Labour movement has emerged (although not necessarily via the Labour Party). Incredibly that may even necessitate a union of the two former political enemies. Even twenty years ago this would have seemed like a fanciful proposition. It was just impossible to conceive that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael would form a coalition together. But now the electoral arithmetic makes that outcome a very real possibility.
What of the 50,000 who perished in the war? What is their legacy following the march of time.
Finally it seems that their sacrifice is being realized. It was in 1966 that Sean Lemass, the Irish Taoiseach who is credited with dragging the country into the developed economic world remarked:
‘In later years, it was common – and I also was guilty in this respect – to question the motives of those men who joined the new British armies formed at the outbreak of the war, but it must, in their honour and in fairness to their memory, be said that they were motivated by the highest purpose, and died in their tens of thousands in Flanders believing they were giving their lives in the cause of human liberty everywhere, not excluding Ireland.’
It would be nearly a half century though before an admiration, or at least an acknowledgement, of those Irish troops who joined the British army could co-exist with a similar admiration (even worship in many cases) of those men and women who had fought in the cause of Irish freedom in the ruins of the GPO on Easter Sunday in 1916, or in the fields of Ireland against the Black and Tans in 1921.
Why did they do it? Why did the Irish volunteer for the British Army?
The motivation of soldiers in any age, including today, who are often impervious to any criticism, such is the level of bombast in certain places, is rarely easy to grasp.
Many initially volunteered for the money. This was the Ireland of ‘Strumpet City’ and ‘The Lockout’. Jobs were very hard to find and when found, paid poorly. Poverty, especially in the main Irish cities of Dublin and Cork was extraordinary, even by modern day standards.
Today there are various definitions of poverty, the most often used in Ireland is that anyone with an income of 60% of the average national wage is ‘in poverty’. In the decade leading up to the great war such a definition would have been much more relevant. In modern Ireland the lack of a TV satellite dish is regarded as a symbol of poverty. Everything is relative.
Most however, joined to represent their country and to fight for freedom. When the all but forgotten Irish nationalist John Redmond encouraged and even demanded that his Irish followers enlist in the British army to fight the German menace he did so in the hope that the service of the Irish would be remembered and rewarded. It is easy to look back now and lament at how naive he must have been.
Francis Ledwidge was an Irish volunteer who was to die in preparation of the Third battle of Ypres in 1917:
‘I joined the British Army because she stood between Ireland and an enemy of civilisation and I would not have her say that she defended us while we did nothing but pass resolutions.’
The stage was set in Ireland for another dramatic failure, as that what the Easter Rising was from a military standing. But the British over-reacted, executed the Irish rebel leaders. Their martyrdom ensured that the die was cast and the Irish journey to independence was unstoppable.
What might those Irish trapped in the blood-filled trenches of Belgium and France have thought now?
Francis Ledwidge again:
‘If someone were to tell me now that the Germans were coming in over our back wall, I wouldn’t lift a finger to stop them. They could come!’
Poelcapelle Cemetery in Flanders is the final resting place of Private John Condon who hailed from Waterford and was known as the ‘Boy Soldier’. He had worked as a bottler in Sullivan’s Bottling Stores in Waterford before, aged 13 years, he lied his way into the British army. He is recorded as the youngest military casualty of the first World War.
He died at the second battle of Ypres in May 1915, killed in action at Bellevarde Ridge on a day when ‘a strange greenish mist crept across from the enemy position, to attack the eyes and throat and burn out the lungs.’
So many Irish soldiers returned to their country with damage to their lungs from the poison they had breathed, many to suffer for decades with their injuries.
As many as 206,000 Irish soldiers served in the British army during the first world war.
Over 50,000 perished.
On this Remembrance Day nearly a century later should we not ask: Is Private John Condon any less of a martyr in the cause of Irish freedom than Pearse or Connolly?
SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST ICONIC OBJECTS HAVE BEEN CREATED BY THE IRISH
The White House – 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20500, USA might look like any typical US address until you realize that it is the abode of the US President. The White House (perhaps the most photographed house in the history of humanity?) was designed by Irish architect James Hoban who was born in Kilkenny in 1758.
The Titanic – Surely the worlds most famous ship was built in Belfast at the Harland and Wolff shipyard. The mighty vessel sank on her maiden voyage with the loss of over 1500 lives.
The Hypodermic Needle – In 1844 Doctor Francis Rynd, a Dublin-based doctor, invented the hypodermic syringe which has been used as an instrument of curing and terror millions of times since. The world’s very first subcutaneous injection was administered in Dublin’s Meath hospital.
The Submarine – In 1900 the US Navy purchased a submarine called the ‘Holland VI’ renaming it the ‘USS Holland’ and the modern submarine age began. It was invented by John Philip Holland from County Clare who was the first to use battery power for submerged conditions in a submarine.
The Oscar – That most coveted of pieces of metal was designed by Austin Cedric Gibbons (1893 – 1960), the Irish art director and film production designer in 1928. The design represent sa Knight standing on top of a Film Reel gripping a sword.
IRISH KIDS WERE GIVEN ‘THE BUMPS’ ON THEIR BIRTHDAY
A tradition that is very familiar to those who grew up in 1970’s Ireland is that of the ‘bumps’. If it was your birthday and that fact became known among your schoolmates then you had better watch out! If you were grabbed in the schoolyard then you would be subjected to a succession of lifts and drops with your back either gently hitting grass or bouncing off hard concrete via the feet of your captors, depending on their mood. Counting upwards to the number of years the grand finale was an especially extravagant throw into the air at which point those among the mob who were most afraid of repercussions might try to catch you on the way down. Or not.
With the advent of law suits, school ‘codes of conduct’ and a general civilizing of the population the practice seems to have all but died out in Ireland but is still popular in English boarding schools and in India, apparently.
SAINT VALENTINE IS INTERRED IN DUBLIN
Completely true. Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin is the unlikely resting place of the relics of Saint Valentine that were presented by Pope Gregory XVI to an Irish Carmelite named John Spratt in the year 1835. In 1836 the remains were received by Archbishop Murray of Dublin and have been displayed in Whitefriar Street Church ever since. Engaged couples even attend the special mass held there on February 14th to bless their impending union.
DUBLIN MIGHT HAVE BEEN CALLED BLACKPOOL
The Gaelic words ‘dubh linn’ meaning a black pool or mire describe an ancient natural treacle lake located within the confines of Dublin Zoo in the Phoenix Park. The merging of these two words into Dublin clearly occurred before the practice of anglicizing names based on their English meaning took hold, else the fair city might have been known as Blackpool (or Blacklake, or Blackmire!).
IRELAND IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WHOSE NATIONAL SYMBOL IS A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
After years of leprechauns and blarney on television and film it is no wonder that most people the world over think that the Shamrock is the national symbol of Ireland. It is not. The Harp is. It adorned every Irish coin (before we gave away our sovereignty to the European Central bank, and see how that ended up) and is the official flag of the President of Ireland.
The reason for the prominence of the Shamrock in Irish culture is of course Saint Patrick, who, as explained by countless thousands of Irish school teachers over the last century, used the Shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.
SAINT PATRICK WAS NOT IRISH
And the national Saint of Ireland is…. a Briton. That’s right, the person responsible for the creation of more shamrocks, shillelaghs and green-foolery than anyone else was captured by Irish raiders from Britain (likely Wales but perhaps Cumbria) when he was about 16 years old.
It has also been suggested by Irish academic T. F. O’Rahilly that there may in fact have been two Patricks with many of the traditions associated with Saint Patrick more accurately belonging to Paladius who was the first Bishop of the Christians of Ireland sent by Rome, and who preceded Saint Patrick.
THE COLORS ON THE IRISH FLAG HAVE SPECIFIC MEANING
Ok lets get this straight. The Irish flag is not green, white and gold – it is green, white and orange! The orange is quite important to those in Ulster representing as it does the Protestant tradition there. The Green represents the Gaelic Irish. The white is a place in the middle where the two traditions can co-exist.
A very elegant design that was presented to the ‘Young Irelander’ Thomas Francis Meagher in 1848 by some French women who were sympathetic to the plight of famine-ravaged Ireland at that time. It was not until the 1916 Easter Rising that the flag became universally accepted as the flag of a free Ireland.
Including Some Irish Halloween Quotes
‘Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night!’
‘Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
‘This Halloween I’m going as the ghost of our federal government.’
‘I have friends who wear Star Wars costumes and act like the characters all day. I may not be that deep into it, but there’s something great about loving what you love and not caring if it’s unpopular.’
‘If a man harbors any sort of fear, it makes him landlord to a ghost.’
Horror films are where women can shine and have a chance to lead. They always save the day in these films.
‘My daughter said she’s gonna be a hoe for Halloween. I think it’s cute that she likes gardening.’
‘True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about but few have seen’
‘May your Halloween be scarier than what’s actually going on with our country.’
‘Remember my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker’
‘Loneliness will sit over our roofs with brooding wings.’
But dreams come through stone walls, light up dark rooms, or darken light ones, and their persons make their exits and their entrances as they please, and laugh at locksmiths.
The farther we’ve gotten from the magic and mystery of our past, the more we’ve come to need Halloween.
‘One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
‘To suffering there is a limit – to fearing, none.’
‘The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.’
MEANING: Trick or Treat
(give me a treat or I will play a trick on you!)
In what is becoming a far-reaching examination of the disastrous events of 2008 to 2010 in Ireland the Irish Government committee set up to examine the issues has suggested that Newspaper editors and other media commentators may be called upon to give evidence.
This is something quite new in Ireland. Rarely has the Irish media been examined for its role in creating and fuelling news stories. And this is the news story about the single biggest economic event in the history of the country.
The collapse of the Irish banks was directly tied to the bursting of the property bubble, leaving the banks with huge debts. Unable to pay, the banks went cap-in-hand to the Government who effectively underwrote the debts, transforming private debt into public debt, and forcing years of austerity onto the shoulders of Irish citizens who had to re-pay the loans.
And to whom exactly were the loans repaid? To German, French and European bondholders who the EU/IMF/ECB ‘troika’ insisted be repaid or else they would declare the country bankrupt. The only option facing the Fianna Fail Government of the time was to agree to the European bullying, or else the lights would be turned off, ATM machines would stop working and within a few days the rioting and looting would begin.
This was the stark situation facing the Irish Government who were severely criticized and turfed out of office at the next election, to be replaced by Fine Gael and Labour (who pledged to ‘burn the bondholders’). The new coalition Government did not change the policies of their predecessors and instead reneged on their election promises and continued to cow-tow to Europe.
Recent attempts to have the EU/IMF/ECB include Ireland in new financial arrangements that would reduce the Irish debt burden have so far failed. And why should they allow Ireland a break? The Irish have already committed to repay the debt over the next two decades. The bondholders in Germany have already been repaid!
It is against this backdrop that the banking probe is being operated. The fact that several media outlets invested heavily in property and property-related websites may have caused a conflict of interest for them. The Irish Times famously and disastrously paid 50 Million Euro for the myhome.ie property web site at the height of the property bubble. The website is now worth a fraction of that amount.
The degree to which media editors drove the story, shaped public opinion and actually reported facts is certain to be of great interest to observers once the probe gets going.
Potentially this is political dynamite.
It is not often that events in Ireland register among the political fraternity in North Carolina but news that Ireland is planning to force cigarette companies to use plain packaging on their products has prompted Governor Pat McCrory to act.
Writing to the Irish Ambassador to the United States, Anne Anderson, the Governor requested that his concerns be forwarded to the Irish Government for consideration in what is becoming an international assault on the Irish proposals. Ireland it will be remembered was the first country in the world to introduce a blanket ban on smoking in the workplace. The legislation was presented as a health-care issue for workers rather than an attack on cigarettes per se, but of course the effect was the same. No-one can really argue that an individual does have the right to damage the health of another person by smoking in an enclosed work environment and thus the new laws were widely accepted and implemented.
The smoking ban in Ireland badly hit the revenues of pubs and hotels especially, both of which are businesses crucial to Ireland’s tourist economy. Despite this the laws remain, with prospects of their reach being extended.
The Irish war on tobacco continues and the latest proposals involve compelling cigarette manufacturers to have brand-free blank labelling on all of their tobacco products. Ireland already forces manufacturers to print extreme and graphic photographs of the effects of cigarettes on its packaging – a policy that neuro-science fMRI research suggests is counter-productive. Now the focus is on removing all branding and slogans such as ‘low tar’ from the packaging in a bid to stop the use of cigarettes in Ireland, especially among women.
One in three Irish women now smoke regularly with lung cancer now overtaking breast cancer as the main cause of cancer death among women in Ireland. In poorer areas the rate of smoking among women is over 50%. A recent study by an Australian research group revealed the following rates of smoking internationally:
North Carolina is home to the second-largest tobacco firm in the US, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company who manufacture the Camel brand of cigarettes. Three of that States top five employers are tobacco companies. So while it is not surprising that the Governor of North Carolina should take such an interest in anything likely to effect the employment of his constituents, it is perhaps a little surprising that his reach should extend to Ireland.
Governor McCrory suggested that the ban on branding would be a ‘direct assault’ on intellectual property and trademark rights. He wrote that there was ‘little evidence that plain packaging measures are anything more than symbolism’. Perhaps missing the point that all branding is a form of symbolism.
The Republican politician said the Irish plans threatened to ‘divert attention and resources from more effective actions that could achieve Ireland’s greater goal of being smoke-free during the next decade’. He declined to offer suggestions as to how the country might become smoke-free.
He suggested that retaliatory action in the US could hit Irish businesses:
Imagine if the United States required Guinness to be stripped of its universally recognised brand and be marketed solely as ‘beer’ or Jameson to be labelled simply as ‘whiskey’ and Baileys as ‘liqueur’. These outstanding Irish companies would be outraged and would argue that the quality and distinction of their products, as conveyed through their brand packaging, were being stolen – and they would be right.’
Presumably any such alcohol labelling ban would apply to US beer companies and not just Irish companies but nevertheless this is a fair point. The focus in Ireland is currently very much on cigarettes while it can be argued that alcohol advertising is also very damaging.
The letter to the Irish Ambassador concludes by saying that he respects Ireland’s ‘sovereign prerogative to govern’.
The issue is clearly divisive in the US also with the US Chamber of Commerce joining the North Carolina Governor in his objections to plain packaging while the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association have both written to Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny supporting the proposed new laws.
Pressure against the initiative is building. Within Europe Italy became the ninth EU state to object to the anti-smoking packaging, joining the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.
It remains to be seen if the Irish Government has the will to proceed.
I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
Oscar Wilde, Writer (1856-1900),
‘The Importance of Being Earnest’
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught
Oscar Wilde, Writer (1856-1900),
‘The Critic as Artist’
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education
Mark Twain (1835-1910), American writer.
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) Irish poet, dramatist.
Books are but waste paper unless we spend in action the wisdom we get from thought – asleep. When we are weary of the living, we may repair to the dead, who have nothing of peevishness, pride, or design in their conversation.
William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) Irish poet, dramatist.
There’s no use saying anything in the schoolyard because there’s always someone with an answer and there’s nothing you can do but punch them in the nose and if you were to punch everyone who has an answer you’d be punching morning noon and night
Frank McCourt, Writer, (1930-2009), ‘Angela’s Ashes’
He says, you have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you can’t make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.
Frank McCourt, Writer, (1930-2009), ‘Angela’s Ashes’
An Irish prayer-book is a thing which the poor [Catholic] Irish peasant has never seen. Not only has he not been taught the language which he speaks, but his clergy have never encouraged, and have sometimes forbidden him to learn it. This objection arose chiefly, I believe, from the impudent intermeddling of Bible Societies with the religion of the people. By their patronage of the Irish language, they had desecrated it in the eyes of the Irish themselves
Conor McSweeny, ‘Songs of the Irish’, 1843
…it would be the veriest mockery to say to those people – ‘Don’t speak English,
or emigrate: speak Irish, stay at home and starve, cry out yearly for doles, and
send your children picking winkles instead of being at school, and earn the
contemptuous pity of the world
Patrick Conroy, (Coimisiún na Gaeltachta, 1926)
A child miseducated is a child lost
US President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education
US President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child
George Bernard Shaw, Writer (1856-1950)
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn
Alvin Toffler, American Writer and Futurist (b. 1928)
While a significant part of learning certain comes from teaching – but good teaching and by good teachers – a major measure comes from exploration, from reinventing the wheel and finding out for oneself
Nicholas Negroponte, Founder and Director of the MIT Media Lab, (b. 1943)
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young
Henry Ford, Car Pioneer, (1863-1947(
I cherish the creation of public space and services, especially health, housing and the comprehensive education system which dared to give so many of us ideas ‘above our station
Frances O’Grady, British Trade Unionist (b. 1959)
You know there is a problem with the education system when you realize that out of the 3 R’s only one begins with an R
Dennis Miller, US Comedian (b. 1953)
The results from the very first ‘Good Country Index’ have been announced.
And the winner is………….(drumroll)……. Ireland !!
Forget the never-ending Dublin traffic jams, the mediocre health care system, the high unemployment rate or the often abysmal weather. Using 35 indicators from the UN and the World Bank Ireland has topped the league table of ‘contribution to humanity’ by finishing near the top in four of the seven categories:
Planet & Climate: 45th place
Prosperity & Equality: 1st place
Health & Wellbeing: 9th place
Science & Technology: 20th place
Culture: 7th place
International Peace & Security: 33rd place
World Order: 4th place
One of the creators of the report is Simon Anholt:
(the intention is to…) ‘measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away. Using a wide range of data from the UN and other international organisations, we’ve given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between. Do (countries) exist purely to serve the interests of their own politicians, businesses and citizens, or are they actively working for all of humanity and the whole planet?
The message to the Irish people is that they can hold their heads up high. No matter how much they are suffering in the last number of years, they haven’t forgotten their international obligations and neither has the Government. They still can feel proud of where they come from.’
The author of the report was not at all surprised to receive a deluge of emails from amazed Irish people unhappy with the findings of his study.
‘I have advised 53 countries in my career and I’ve only come across three that do not suffer from low self-esteem – Sweden, the United States and Kazakhstan.’
The UK was ranked 7th while the USA was ranked 21st. Iraq, Libya and Vietnam propped up the bottom of the league table.
Back in Ireland, the citizenry of the country have been advised not to get too carried away with their status as the best on the planet.