Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Bit of Irish....

by Amber Leigh Williams


This year, I’m celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and Irish American Heritage Month in style. Er, well…what I consider style. One of my New Years Resolutions was to finish my contemporary romance rewrite by the end of February so March could be dedicated solely to my new WIP. The new manuscript veers back into some familiar territory – western romance! But the most thrilling thing for me about this book is the Irish characters that play a large part in the story. So I’ve engrossed myself in all things Irish. The music. The brogue. The poetry. And, in particular, those characteristics that are so fundamentally Irish. I thought I’d share some of my Irish research and help those who haven’t yet gotten into the St. Patrick’s Day and Irish American Heritage Month spirit get a head’s start on both….

Some of my favorite research so far has been learning how to put the Irishman’s unique pattern of speech on paper so it lilts off the page for readers. Not an easy task. I’ve watched countless movies, documentaries, and read many books where Irish men and women are centrally featured in order to get a firm grasp of it. The best part of the Irish brogue is the unique sayings. The thing to remember is that the mark of Irish diplomacy is the ability to tell a man to go to hell so that he looks forward to making the trip  Here are a few of my favorite Irish sayings….


A family of Irish birth will argue and fight,
but let a shout come from without,
and see them all unite.


Here's Céad Míle Fáilte to friend and to rover
That's a greeting that's Irish as Irish can be
It means you are welcome
A thousand times over
Wherever you come from, Whosoever you be.


Murphy’s Law:
Nothing is as easy as it looks.
Everything takes longer than you expect.
And if anything can go wrong,
It will, at the worst possible moment.


The Way We Tell A Story….
Says I to him, I says, says I,
Says I to him, I says,
The thing, says I, I says to him,
Is just, says I, this ways.
I hev', says I, a gret respeck
For you and for your breed,
And onything I could, I says,
I'd do, I wud indeed.
I don't know any man, I says,
I'd do it for, says I,
As fast, I says, as for yoursel',
That's tellin' ye no lie.
There's nought, says I, I wudn't do
To plase your feyther's son,
But this, I says, ye see, says I,
I says, it can't be done.

-         Pat McCarty


I drink to your health when I'm with you,
I drink to your health when I'm alone,
I drink to your health so often,
I'm starting to worry about my own!


There are good ships,
and there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships, are friendships,
And may they always be.


Here’s to you and yours,
And to mine and ours,
And if mine and ours ever come
Across you and yours,
I hope you and yours will do
As much for mine and ours,
As mine and ours have done
For you and yours!


You must take the little potato with the big potato.

I have known many,
and liked not a few,
but loved only one
and this toast is to you.


May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head. May you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead.


And now for a few of my favorite Gaelic sayings….


“Sláinte chuig na fir, agus go mairfidh na mná go deo.”
Health to the men, and may the women live forever!

“Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat.”
May the cat eat you and the devil eat the cat.


“Céad míle fáilte.”
Means a hundred thousand welcomes. Literally translated it means, "Here comes another one.”


Another great part of researching Irish characters is the music of the Emerald Isle. I loved the following pub songs so much, you just mind find them in my WIP….







It’s well known that the Irish can turn a nice phrase. Studying Irish poetry has been another research delight. Since it happens to be Poetry Month, too, I’ll end this post with a bit of Yeats….

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.



And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet's wings.



I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart's core.


Here’s wishing you all a happy Irish American Heritage Month – and I’d love to hear your favorite Irish sayings, blessings, proverbs, and pub songs! Take it away….

8 comments:

Jannine Gallant said...

When it comes to heritage, I'm a mongrel, but I honestly don't think I have a drop of Irish blood. Loved the drinking and friendship sayings!

Laura Breck said...

I'm not Irish either, but I do enjoy St. Patty's Day! Here in Saint Paul, Minnesota, we have so many Irish, there's a parade that runs through downtown. Lots of fun!

Jerri Hines said...

Married an Irish man! He's always been Proud to Be Irish!

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Jannine, I believe strongly that some people are Irish by spirit. I thought I was one such person until it was discovered that my paternal ancestors were Irish...mixed with all the German and Dutch blood on the Williams side. There's some debate as to whether my mother's side, which is mostly Scottish and Cherokee, has some Irish, too. So you could definitely say I'm a mongrel, too :)

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Laura, St. Patrick's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays...ever since my first grade teacher painted little green leprachaun feet on the classroom window. It really tickled my imagination :)

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Jerri, congrats on marrying an Irishman! I've always wanted to meet one :)

Vonnie Davis said...

What a wealth of information here. Thanks so much for sharing!! Love the part about telling a man to go to hell in such a way, he looks forward to the trip.

Barbara Edwards said...

What a wonderful post! It made me laugh and sing along. A great way to start my day.
Barbara