Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hip to be Square: Thought for Saint Patrick's Day

How would you rate yourself in relation to De Valera's dream speech, the one he made on Saint Patrick's Day, 1943? Here it is again, just to refresh your memory, quoted on p.45 of "Irish Moves" (note there are no comely maidens dancing at the crossroads, I don't know how those mythic dancing girls burned their way into our collective psyche!):

"The ideal Ireland, that we would have, the Ireland that we dreamed of, would be the home of a people who valued material wealth only as a basis for right living. Of a people who, satisfied with frugal comfort, devoted their leisure to the things of the spirit. Whose fields and villages would be joyous with the sounds of industry, with the romping of sturdy children, the contest of athletic youths, and the laughter of happy maidens..."

(from RTE Radio Archives).

I have been thinking about this speech lately, quite independent of the fact that John Waters referred to it in a recent column. Suddenly, out of nowhere, don't you think that De Valera is getting cool and relevant? I mean: "Frugal comfort"? Talk about "the zeitgeist"... No mention of the Celtic Tiger, property in Bulgaria (etc) and 100% mortgages in HIS dream...

And have you heard any "laughter of happy maidens" lately?

Come on, it's hip to be square.

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