My favorite things Ireland

The last time I was in Ireland I wasn’t blogging yet.  What riches lie here, let’s give it a start:

1. Poetry: I pick Joyce’s Ulysses, then Yeats and also Seamus Heaney, especially if the word “bog” appears in the poem.  A good collection is The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry, edited by Patrick Crotty.  Beyond the ranks of the super-famous, you might try Louis MacNeice, from the Auden Group, or perhaps Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, who writes in Gaelic but has been translated by other superb Irish poets into English..

2. Novel/literature: Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels.  One of the very very best books for social science too, and one of my favorite books period.  After Joyce, there is also Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Lord Dunsany, John Banville (The Untouchable), William Trevor, and Elizabeth Bowen.  Iris Murdoch was born in Ireland, but does she count?  More recently I have enjoyed Anne Enright, Colm Tóibín, Eimear McBride, Claire Louise-Bennett, with Mike McCormack in my pile to read soon.  Roddy Doyle is probably good, but I don’t find him so readable.  Colum McCann somehow isn’t Irish enough for me, but many enjoy his work.  Can the Anglo-Irish Oliver Goldsmith count?  His Citizen of the World remains a neglected work.  The recently published volumes of Samuel Beckett’s correspondence have received rave reviews and I hope to read through them this summer.  Whew!  And for a country of such a small population.

3. Classical music: Hmm…we hit a roadblock here.  I don’t love John Field, so I have to call this category a fail.  I can’t offhand think of many first-rate Irish classical performers, can you?  James Galway?

4. Popular music: My Bloody Valentine, Loveless.  Certainly my favorite album post-1970s, and possibly my favorite of all time.  When the Irish do something well, they do it really really well.  Then there is Van Morrison, Them, Bono and U2, Rory Gallagher, Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats, The Pogues, The Cranberries, and Sinead O’Connor, among others.  I confess to having an inordinate weakness for Gilbert O’Sullivan.  Traditional Irish music would need a post of its own, but it has never commanded much of my attention.

5. Painter: Francis Bacon is the obvious and probably correct choice, but I am no longer excited to see his work.  I don’t find myself seeing new things in it.  Sean Scully wins runner-up.  This is a slightly weak category, at least relative to some of the others.

6. Political philosopher: Edmund Burke, who looks better all the time, I am sorry to say.

7. Philosopher: Bishop Berkeley.  He is also interesting on monetary theory, anticipating some later ideas of Fischer Black on money as an abstract unit of account.

8. Classical economist: Mountifort Longfield and Isaac Butt both had better understandings of supply and demand and marginalism, before the marginal revolution, than almost any other economists except for a few of the French.

9. Theologian: C.S. Lewis, you could list him under fiction as well.  Here is a debate over whether he is British or Irish.  Laura Miller’s The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia covers Lewis, one of my favorite books from the last decade.

10. Silicon Valley entrepreneur: Patrick Collison (duh), of Stripe and Atlas, here is his superb podcast with Ezra Klein.  Here is further information on the pathbreaking Stripe Atlas project.

11. Movie: There are plenty I don’t like so much, such as My Left Foot, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Waking Ned, and The Commitments.  Most people consider those pretty good.  I think I’ll opt for The Crying Game and also In the Name of the Father.

12: Movie, set in: Other than the movies listed above, there is Odd Man Out (quite good), The Quiet Man, and The Secret of Roan Inish, but my clear first choice is the still-underrated masterpiece Barry Lyndon.

The bottom line: The strengths are quite amazing, and that’s without adjusting for population.


"The Crock of Gold" (1912) by James Stephens is a delightfully written philosophical novel.

Britain's greatest general, Arthur Wellesley, was born there.

Just because you're born in a stable doesn't make you a horse.

It probably doesn't make you the son of god either.

Well yea because the son of God was born in a manger.

Imaginary friends.

Well, I thought he lay in a manger - 'a trough or open box in a stable designed to hold feed or fodder for livestock,' - but was actually born in a stable. However, if you wish to believe that the son of god's mother gave birth in a manger inside a stable, who am I to quibble?

(For those interested in considerably more detail, enjoy the link - )

Jan religion does wonders for social awkward uggos like yourself. Your are cutting off your likely oversized nose to spite your misshapen face on this one. What you are doing now- its um not working maybe try something else.

And there is a famous quotation about his Irish identity (or lack of same)

"No, he is not an Irishman. He was born in Ireland; but being born in a stable does not make a man a horse."

Montgomery of Alemein also had very strong Irish connections. Blair "Paddy" Mayne and Tim Collins also come to mind immediately.

"Strong Irish connections" in this case being of an Irish family, the son of a Church of Ireland Minister, who happened to have been born in England. Which would make him slightly more Irish than Shane MacGowan and the rest of the Pogues. MacGowan being born in Kent and raised in London.

It is interesting how Southern, or rather perhaps Green, this list of Irish music is, without being all that Irish. The Pogues, being very much on the Green divide politically, also sing traditional Irish music. Van Morrison, growing up on the Orange side, does not so much. But U2 and the rest, being born on the Green, sing "on the Orange", that is, like the rest of the English speaking world. As does one noticeable absence from that list - Thin Lizzy.

I would have thought it was compulsory for anyone writing on Irish music - sung on the Green side anyway - to mention Christy Moore and Planxty or The Dubliners.

The "Church of Ireland" is simply the Anglican Church in Ireland. It's not the native church of Ireland or the church of the native Irish, who are Roman Catholic.

There are so many things wrong with this statement I do not know where to begin.

So I won't.

OK, I'm breaking my wikipedia link avoidance for Lent (though as today is Sunday, maybe this can get a pass) -

So, part one - 'The Church of Ireland (Irish: Eaglais na hÉireann; Scots: Kirk o Airlann) is a Christian church in Ireland and an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion.' Bob 1

'For historical and cultural reasons, the Church of Ireland is generally identified as a Protestant church.' Bob 2, based on the fact that the Irish were not involved in that particular schism, but there are certainly grounds for subtle distinctions to be made (Cromwell, for example, was not Anglican).

Admittedly, the Northern Irish certainly consider themselves Irish, in pretty much the same fashion that the Afrikaaners consider themselves African, and that is a fair point. Nonetheless, Bob's 'It’s not the native church of Ireland or the church of the native Irish' is fairly accurate if not precisely so, particularly based on this statistic - 'The Church of Ireland is the second-largest in the Republic of Ireland, with around 130,000 members, and the third-largest in Northern Ireland, with around 260,000 members.' Bob 2.5, due to the point about who is and who is not native Irish at this point, though as seen by the figures from the Republic of Ireland, where it is safe to say most of the Irish live, it is certainly fair to say it is not a native church, nor is it a church much represented by those who can be called native Irish using a restrictive definition..

Wellington was born a subject of the King of Ireland and was therefore Irish, however much he was disinclined to admit it. It's an odd idea that there can be only one sort of Irishman - nationalist, Roman Catholic, and preferably given to violence, dishonesty and drunkenness. How would you feel if the only US citizens viewed as authentic were Negro-lynching mental defectives from the South or witch-hanging Puritans from New England?

The same remarks apply to the absurd "Can the Anglo-Irish Oliver Goldsmith count?"

How would you feel if the only US citizens viewed as authentic were Negro-lynching mental defectives from the South or witch-hanging Puritans from New England?

I'd feel I was probably talking to Eurotrash with an inflated sense of their understanding of American life. But I repeat myself.

"Irish" full stop is not the preferred self-designation of Ulster Protestants nor of their American cousins nor could you use it for them in front of a scrum of Catholic Irish from Chicago without getting at least one complaint. Andrew Greeley, who could be a deft chronicler of affluent Chicago Irish, tried inventing a character from Appalachia and he made a dog's breakfast of the job.

Fans of the Dorset-born John Churchill might dispute the greatest general title.

Besides, why not British and Irish?

Hehe. I knew someone would say that, but the France of 1808 was more formidable than in Louis XIV's day.

Britain was more formidable than England was as well. Besides Marlborough fought the full force of the French Army. Wellington spent a long time in a side show with some of Napoleon's more expendable generals before facing the Man himself when he was weakened beyond recovery.

Churchill, like everyone else in that family, might have been a son-of-a-b!tch, he might have betrayed pretty much every monarch he served - cheating Charles II by sleeping with his mistress, selling out Jamie to whom he owed his career, maintaining a treasonable correspondence with James II while serving William of Orange and allegedly plotting against Anne's throne if you believe that sort of thing - but there is no denying that he was the greatest general Britain has produced.

One could put in a good word for Oliver Cromwell, undefeated and founder of the New Model Army.

For me, the impressive part about the Irish music scene is you can wander into basically any random pub on any day of the week and find excellent and extremely authentic music. Sometimes it is Irish folk and sometimes it is a cover band and sometimes it is a local kid singing for free beers. But it is always fun and the locals never think anything of it, cause its just the way it is there.

ime Dubliners think highly of the local scene, but yes, it is very nice!

My goodness, "Snatch".

On literature, you forgot Flann O'Brian, whose "The Third Policeman" and "The Dalkey Archive" are profound and hilarious.

And "Barry Lyndon" is indeed a woefully misunderstood masterpiece; the cinematography is what gets all of the attention, but the story is the thing - never has Thackeray been better served on film.

Maybe Cantillon deserves to be on the list?

Dr Cowen,

CLASSICAL MUSIC: I am puzzled that you "don't like" John Field. De gustibus... Still, search Spotify for Elizabeth Joy Roe playing the complete Nocturnes, a form that Field apparently 'invented'. They are contemplative and taught. Also: that the drunken, rumbustious Field made these is astonishing to me; and sort of consoling.

Best wishes.

And cuisine?

Guiness for breakfast, lunch and dinner ?

FOOD. That's what we really want to know! Tyler will probably have a whole new post on just food.

Ireland (3) Nigel Kennedy, violinist extraordinaire

The Irish speak the best English in the world so poetry is where they are strongest, Joyce is practically poetry I think, not prose. Trevor often the same (in a different way). John Peel always claimed the most perfect pop song was by the Undertones, Teenage Kicks. A lot of Mancunian music (Smiths, Oasis, the Factory bands) is actually from people with an Irish origin and of course both Lennon and McCartney have many Irish antecedents.

I am all for a bit of Irish Exceptionalism so let me a dd a few naturally subjective recommendations:

Best reasonably priced whiskey: Black Bush

Best bookshop in Dublin for hipsters: The Winding Stair, for everyone else: Chapters on Parnell street

Best common Irish first name name for confusing foreigners: Tough category this but I am going to go for Caoimhe (20th most popular girls name)

Best holiday that Ireland has given to the world: Halloween (far older and more steeped in history than Paddy's day)

People pronounce Cian as "Sean" in the US all of the time. Another tough one is Aoibhinn. They tend to get Maedhbh correct but dont understand how they can read it.

When I grew up there were twin boys a couple of towns over named Sean and Shawn. I know that sounds like an urban legend, but I'm pretty sure we faced them regularly in high school sports.

Chapters or Hodges Figgis though?! It's hard to choose.

The link for the Stripe Atlas project goes to an Amazon query for Samuel Beckett.

Mathematics: William Hamilton, "discoverer" of quaternions and inventor of Hamiltonian Physics. ijk = 1.

If anyone has the correct link to the "path breaking" Atlas project please post it. I always thought, given Irelands reputation for tax abroad, there would be great demand for an equivalent programme here.

Many supposed Irish are actually Scottish, and vice versa. It's confusing. A Curry is Irish while a Currie is Scottish, but spellings have often been interchanged over the years. My nephew, a Curry, spent years in Ireland as a Protestant missionary, converting young Catholics who, according to my nephew, were ignored by the Church. Catholics and Protestants, now that's an identity that can spell trouble. My best friend's sister married a Scot, but he is from (and they reside in) the Orkney Islands, which is more Scandinavia than Scottish. She claims he speaks English. Not to my ears. My maternal ancestors are Scottish; indeed, my great grandfather was a Presbyterian minister, Presbyterianism having its origin in Scotland and the Reformation. Our representative form of government was modeled after the presbyterian form of church government. I have a home in the low country, where many of the families who have resided in the area for many generations are Scottish, descendants of the Scottish Highlanders who were sent here to defend the Crown's colonies and stayed. Scots are a parsimonious bunch; the Irish are not. That's how I distinguish the two.

The Southern accent, my Southern accent, derives from a combination of Irish and Scottish dialects of immigrants. I read an article about how Natalie Portman learned to speak with the accent (dialect) of Jackie Kennedy in the movie Jackie. The dialect is very recognizable to anyone who resides in the Deep South. Mother is pronounced muhthuh. As my late father in law would say to his wife, "Muhthuh, you caint git drunk off lit beuh".

I read an article about how Natalie Portman learned to speak with the accent (dialect) of Jackie Kennedy in the movie Jackie. The dialect is very recognizable to anyone who resides in the Deep South. Mother is pronounced muhthuh. As my late father in law would say to his wife, “Muhthuh, you caint git drunk off lit beuh”.

Jackie Onassis spent her entire life in the BosWash corridor and neither her father, her mother, nor her step-father were Southerners.

As my late father in law would say to his wife, “Muhthuh, you caint git drunk off lit beuh”.

The obvious but unacknowledged influence being Africa. The Celtic fringe does not speak like that.

There weren't any native English speakers in Africa.

Oddly enough people who learn English as a second language, whether Irish and Scottish Gaelic speakers or Africans, tend to have an accent.

And many Southern Whites speak a lot like Gullah speakers. Only not so much. They do not speak like the Scots or Irish.

Everyone has an accent. The only speakers of Scots Gaelic are a few thousand people in the Orkneys and Hebrides. Scots speak English, with a Scots accent.

And many Southern Whites speak a lot like Gullah speakers. Only not so much. They do not speak like the Scots or Irish.

No, they don't. There are two sets of Southern accents, an Inland set favored in the Applachian zone south of West Virginia, in the Ozarks, and in north Texas; and the Lowland set spoken elsewhere in the South. Neither sounds the least bit like the tiny population of Gullah speakers. The Southern accents are slowly disappearing among whites and tend to be somewhat downmarket nowadays.

Per Thomas Sowell, black accents are also much less regionally distinctive than they were 70 years ago and blacks in all parts of the country tend to sound like Southern blacks. Blacks tend to have a different vocal timbre and fuzzier elocution, as well as a tendency to switch back and forth between standard English and dialect, so their accent isn't the most notable thing about their speech patterns. They don't sound like Gullah speakers.

When I left for university in England my Father told me "you're going to be called Irish, so you will just have to put up with it." In fact, I was relieved to find that many people saw the Mc in my name, heard an Irish accent that wasn't quite the Belfast accent they typically heard during reports on the then-current troubles, and misidentified me as Scots.

Misidentification aside, if you are going to base prejudice on anything, you might as well go for accent, as it reflects the early upbringing we are told is so important these days. I therefore class Montgomery as English from his accent, and I would class Wellington as most usefully described as simply aristocratic, as I would expect him to be more similar to other people of his rank than to the ordinary worker or peasant on either side of the Irish sea.

Wonderful comment. A Southern accent is often considered a mark of poor breeding and ignorance, while the same accent (dialect) spoken by someone from the northeast is considered a mark of good breeding and intelligence. Middle brows don't recognize that it's the same dialect.

Middle brows don’t recognize that it’s the same dialect.

They don't, because it isn't.

If there's swell and you're on the west coast, its worth your time to watch people surf. Those guys are hardcore and the waves can match Hawaii for size and power.

It never occurred to me before, but TC treats each country like a round of Jeopardy. Or a cerebral exercise. I would be interested in the pubs and the people therein.

Why is it that so many of America's best writers are from the South, most never leaving the area in which they were born, grew up, wrote their masterpieces, and eventually died. What gave Flannery O'Connor such deep insight into humanity when she hardly ever left Milledgeville, Georgia? My former wife, who is not only from the South but of the South, has this uncanny ability to see people for who and what they are, because she observes who and what are around her. She loves to laugh, and would often say that nothing is as funny as real life. It's right there in front of us, across the street, down the street, across town. I envy Cowen's world travels, but if he is seeking insight into humanity, he might consider staying closer to home. America is a nation of immigrants, which gives us the advantage of traveling the world without actually going anywhere.

Why is it that so many of America’s best writers are from the South,

Because 30% of the population lives there.

Flannery O'Connor lived in Milledgeville from 1951 until her death because she had a crippling and eventually fatal case of lupus, the onset of which was depicted in "The Enduring Chill". She was an ill woman cared for by her mother and had a modest output due to that. She hadn't intended to spend her adult life in Milledgeville and might have stayed in New York had she had the chance.

How many of the people you listed are actually Englishmen or Scots who happen to have been born in Ireland? And how many were Protestants? It's easy to accomplish a lot when you have heavy immigration from the extraordinary isle next door.

True enough, but I think everyone is already aware of the seminal role played by Irish emigrants in making the UK what it is today.

Burke was Protestant, on accounta the fact that Catholics were barred from lots of jobs in Ireland, so his Dad converted from Catholicism.

Complicating matters, I think the ancestors of the various "Burke's" in Ireland have Norman roots, so you can call this one BS too, depending on how the statues of limitation apply by your logic.

"statues of limitation"- classic.

"Statues of limitations"--walls?

I would add the talented MacDonagh brothers who between them wrote and directed Calvary, The Guard and In Bruges.

"Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels. One of the very very best books for social science too, and one of my favorite books period."

I visited an English teacher friend and asked him to recommend a good book I hadn't read before. He had a copy of Gulliver's Travels and asked if I had read it. I hadn't yet at age 25 and he handed it to me saying "You *must* read this!" Seemed sort of boring but OK... Not knowing it was a political satire, I was blown by the first part, and it kept getting better.

I find Joyce's "Dubliners" very worthy of consideration. .

12 - Movies set in Ireland recommendations (not for the scenery or the caricature): "The Informer," "The Plow and Stars", and "Michael Collins."

They are gone now. Fifty years ago you could walk into a bar in, say, High Bridge or Woodlawn (the Bronx) or Woodside (Queens) and sit next to a man who had fought with the IRA in the civil war; and they'd pass the hat for the rebels.

Recent book recommendations "The Last Armada" by Des Ekin; and "The Twilight Lords" by Richard J. Berleth - the first Irish holocaust . . . Then, read "Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846 -1847" by Thomas Gallagher.

Does anyone here know what was an "American Wake?"

Of course, Ireland sprung fully-armed in 2017, so disregard the above.

Yes indeed Dubliners is a much more approachable version of Joyce for those of use who struggle with Ulysses and that Finnegan thing. That and the fact that the final story "The Dead" is an absolutely astounding piece of writing.

An American Wake was a tradition in late 19th early 20th centuries when Irish people were emigrating to America. The notion was that they would probably never see their friends and family again again so they held a "wake", basically a drinking party usually reserved for the recently dead.

MB explains the American Wake well.

Have you seen/what did you think of Calvary, the 2014 film starring Brendan Gleeson?

Are you giving any lectures or making any appearances which are open to the public in Ireland? I can find nothing listed but would certainly attend if you were.

Alas not, thanks for the interest though...

Joyce's "Ulysses" is certainly poetic; but, that does not make it a poem. However, One could easily have cited his "Chamber Music" in the poetry category. Up there, for me, with "Ulysses", is "Dubliners", his early collection of short stories. The progression of the stories and the themes they explore is very much novel-like. (It reminds me in a way of a similar cinematic treatment of Raymond Carver short stories and poem in Altman's "Short Cuts"). "Dubliners" does not contain the literary innovation of "Ulysses"; however, this does not make it any less a work of art created by a literary genius.

Recently read a BBC article on "The Gadfly" by Ethel Voynich. Never popular in English, became a long lasting popular sensation in the European communist world, with famous musical and film adaptations. Hugely popular in China as well. No idea if the romantic revolutionary novel is any good, but the article made me want to read it.

Martin McDonagh is another important edge case. English by birth of Irish parents, with a lot of time spent in Ireland, and most of his plays set there.

4. Guitarist Garry Moore was in a class by himself.

Rory Gallagher, blues-rock guitarist extraordinaire.

Stiff Little Fingers!

Not really Classical music but pretty close Turlogh O'Carolan.


I always thought Brian Friel would appeal to Tyler.

As for classical musician, Sean O Riada would be the default choice, I think.

All these comments, all to be ignored by Prof. Cowen, if Reddit is to be trusted.

Ah, but this at least is a comments section with a minimum of vitriol so far.

Though with more than a few deletions of someone who apparently cuts and pastes the same line repeatedly (though with occasional variations).

Ireland, specifically Northern Ireland, is the last place where motorcycles are routinely raced on closed public roads. This is what it looks like:

(The single most famous race of this nature--the Isle of Man TT--is not in Ireland, and there are a few others elsewhere like the Macau GP, but Northern Ireland has a road race nearly every weekend for the ~6 month season.).

Tyler presumably thinks this is "brutish" or something, but some of you guys might be interested.

Frank O'Connor would be on my literature list.

John McCormack (popular and classical music); The Book of Kells (and, related, lace curtains filtering sunlight); (Finnegans Wake with some lexical help - the last third or so is the best, Joyce being one of the few writers to keep getting better all the way to the end of his life); Sts. Brigid, Brendan and Columba; "The Deserted Village"; among Disney movies, Darby O'Gill and the Little People may be a little too much for Irish people but if you don't live in Ireland it is really enjoyable for a Disney movie, and there are two or three scenes that are so good they are almost beyond belief.

Seamus Heaney's best poems come from the later book The Spirit Level, but it contains a lot less of the Irish "colour" that most people seem to read him for. That folksy and boggy stuff loses its charm fairly quickly though.


Where, incidentally, is it written that (most) European countries--I do not presume to speak of Asia, Africa, etc--must have a kitschy schmaltzy condensed version of their culture that allegedly speaks to their innermost hearts? Bah.

Best movie set in Ireland is Waking Ned Devine.

You missed a different Crotty: Raymond Crotty, the Irish farmer & neo-Georgist economist who wrote "When Histories Collide" (in the vein of "Guns, Germs and Steel" or "The Long Divergence" in explaining some international differences), and whose court case made it necessary for Ireland to pass a referendum in order to adopt the Lisbon treaty.

9. Theologian: C.S. Lewis, you could list him under fiction as well. Here is a debate over whether he is British or Irish. Laura Miller’s The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia covers Lewis, one of my favorite books from the last decade.

C.S. Lewis was a literary scholar who wrote on philosophical topics, not a theologian.


Movie: Brooklyn
Scientists: Walton, Boyle, Kelvin, Boole, Bell, Stokes, Synge

Crime novelist: Ken Bruen.

For classical music, you need to learn who Seán Ó Riada was. The Irish almost universally consider him the best native composer.

The Irish (Gaelic) tradition is woefully unrepresented in your literature review. I would suggest that Cré na Cille (The Graveyard Clay) is the greatest Irish novel of the last 100 years. It recently came out in two English translations (which I haven't read, having only read it in Irish) so you can get a sense of it yourself.

The movie adaptation of Cré na Cille is shockingly good, especially for what I would have considered an unfilmable book.

Shaun Davey has been quite the orchestral composer over the past 35+ years; I particularly enjoyed his earlier works "The Brendan Voyage" and "The Pilgrim."

Let's not forget Liam O'Flaherty in literature.

As a hiker, I like that Ireland has no snakes.

Thimas Flanagan's "The Year of the French" is a great novel about life under repression and failed rebellion.

Barry Lyndon is indeed a great masterpiece. I'm reminded of the guide in Russian Ark who says that the 18th century was a time of "manners and genius". But only the first part is set in Ireland and I'm not sure you could say it is a particularly Irish movie.

Be honest. You've never seen it, and neither has the moderator. Saw it when it came out. Other than Withnail and I, it was the most soporific experience I've ever had in a cinema. You cannot 'underrate' this film.

My Bloody Valentine, Loveless; the scene from "Lost in Translation" where Scarlett Johansson, riding in a taxi, looks out at the Tokyo cityscape with "Sometimes" playing in the background; perfect scene, perfect music.

Edmund Burke is looking better all the time, and that is wonderful.

As for movies, try the versions of "The Dead" and the late-1960s version of "Ulysses ".

Also, if you are in Dublin, visit the Guinness brewery, the beer tastes so much better fresh.

The physical book I own that is my favorite by a wide margin is a first edition of the 1969 Thomas Kinsella translation of the wild and woolly medieval epic, "The Tain". The translation of the poetry, particularly is haunting, but best are the illustrations by the Irish painter Louis le Brocquy:

My favorite performance of a poem (outside maybe Robert Donat reading Ode to a Nightingale) is Liam Clancy's rendition of Padraic Fallon's translation of "Mary Hynes", a poem by Blind Raftery

I recommend the poet Patrick Kavanagh. His epic The Great Hunger is a masterpiece on aging, sexual frustration, religion and the land.

I think my favourite Irish movie is perhaps Intermission, a fantastic Dublin crime comedy. Colin Farrel, Colm Meaney, Cillian Murphy, Shirley Henderson and Kelly Macdonald, lots of fun. May need subtitles for a foreign audience!

Patrick Kavanagh is a great choice. 'On Raglan Road' and 'Epic' are two of my favorite poems.

'The Guard', the Brendan Gleason movie from a few years ago, was great.

Flann O'Brien might be Marginal Revolution material, too.

#8 - "Take that, Richard Cantillon!"

My favorite Irish classical composer is the Kevin Volans. He was born in South African but has lived in Ireland since the early nineties and is a naturalized Irish citizen. He is lumped in with the post-minimalist movement but is more eclectic than that label might lead you to believe. He is particularly known for his string quartets and piano concertos, which are good places to start.

This is an economics website, do none of the Irish economists want to claim Francis Edgeworth, of the Edgeworth-Bowley Box? He provides the further entertainment value of coming from a town called Edgeworthstown, and from a family which also gave the world Maria Edgeworth the novelist (his auntie) and the Abbe Edgeworth de Firmont, (his granduncle) chaplain to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Tyler's the man. MBV Loveless is the best. Joshua Tree? Fuhgettaboutit!

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