Wednesday, March 15, 2023

A St. Patrick's Day Tradition

Well, it's almost our national holiday, and church choirs all over the country are limbering up their vocal chords, preparing for a rousing rendition of "Hail Glorious St. Patrick, the Saint of our Land".

It's a nice bonus that this year it lands on a Friday, meaning that there's no need to abstain from meat. (I like abstaining from meat on Lenten Fridays; but I also enjoy the occasional reprieve.)

At this time of year, on this blog, it's been my custom to post an excerpt from Eamon de Valera's famous "comely maidens" speech, from St. Patrick's Day 1943.

This year is the eightieth anniversary of the speech, which was broadcast at ten p.m. on Radio √Čireann. It only lasted ten minutes.

I have an article about the speech in the St. Patrick's Day edition of Ireland's Own.

Anyway, here is the most famous part. Much-mocked as it is, I suspect few (if any) of this blog's readers require any defence of it.

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 – a land whose countryside would be bright with cosy homesteads, 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, whose firesides would be forums for the wisdom of serene old age. The home, in short, of a people living the life that God desires that men should live.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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