Friday, March 16, 2012


Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’ Day; the day when anyone with even the vaguest Irish affiliation exaggerates it beyond belief as an excuse to take a day off work and drink themselves under the table. This year they have been partly foiled; Saint Paddy’s Day falls on a Saturday.

It is a celebration of Irish culture in general, characterized by wearing of the green and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol. (The latter prohibition is not only 'lifted' but hurled out of sight beyond the horizon.)

A good mate is lifetime treasurer of my local Irish club and as a great fan of Guinness I have enjoyed some wonderful Saint Paddy’s Days - or so I’m told, I don’t remember. 

I'm not Irish - but every March 17 I'd really like to be. So - how Irish are you? Here's a short fun quiz to help you find out:

1. What is the Irish name for tree fellers?

(a) Shillelaghs
(b) Leprechauns
(c) Blarneys
(d) Paddy, Mick and Seamus

2. If you ask for an Irish coffee, what will you get?

(a) coffee with whisky
(b) coffee with mashed potatoes
(c) coffee with Guinness
(d) tea

photograph: Dirk van Esbroek

3. What days are the pubs not open in Ireland?

(a) February 29
(b) Judgement Day
(c) the 12th of Never
(d) Christmas Day and Good Friday

(a) Jack Dempsey
(b) Gene Tunny
(c) Jack Sharkey
(d) Muhammed Ali

5. What book idea originated with Irishman Hugh Beaver?

(a) Cooking with Guinness
(b) the Guinness Book of Records
(c) How to Stay Sober Till Lunchtime. Morning Sobriety in Just 3 weeks!
(d) Ulysses

6. Who said : "I spent 90% of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted."

(a) Dublin author James Joyce
(b) playwright and poet Brendan Beahan
(c) Irish soccer superstar George Best
(d) the Archbishop of Dublin 

7. Which famous tune is thought to have been inspired by a blind Irish harpist who died in 1738?

(a) Danny Boy
(b) the Mountains of Mourne
(c) When Irish Eyes are Smiling
(d) the Star Spangled Banner

8. What is the capital of Ireland?

(a) Dublin
(b) Belfast
(c) Boston
(d) I

9. What are the colors on the Irish flag?

(a) green and white
(b) green and white and orange 
c) a union jack with a harp in the middle
(c) black with a creamy froth on the top

10. Which of the following US presidents does not have Irish blood?

(a) Jack Kennedy
(b) Gerald Ford
(c) Barack Obama
(d) Ronald Reagan


1. The answer is (d) A shillelagh is a stout walking stick, a leprechaun is a miserly dwarf and the Blarney Stone is something you kiss to get the gift of the gab. Paddy Seamus and Mick are available to trim overgrowing branches at very reasonable rates.

2. Irish coffee has whiskey in it. You can drink coffee with Guinness; the coffee tastes better but the Guinness tastes worse.

3. Being a good Catholic country, pubs are shut in Ireland on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

4. The answer may surprise you. Dempsey’s father, Hiram, was of Irish and Cherokee descent; both Gene Tunney’s parents came from County Mayo. Muhammed Ali’s great grandfather was born in Ennis, County Clare and emigrated to Kentucky in the 1860’s, where he married an African-American woman. The non-Irishman was Jack Sharkey, who was born Joseph Paul Zukauskas, the son of Lithuanian immigrants, in Binghamton, New York. He took his ring name from his two idols, Jack Dempsey and heavyweight contender Tom Sharkey.

5. Sir Hugh Eyre Campbell Beaver, KBE, was managing director  of Athur Guinness & Son from 1946-60, and printed a thousand copies of the Guinness Book of Records in 1954 as a marketing giveaway. This free promotional stunt went on to sell 100 million copies in 37 languages.

6. I’d love the answer to be the Archbishop of Dublin but I’m afraid it was just another quotable quote from Georgie Best

James Joyce

7. Star Spangled Banner is based on the tune 'To Anacreon in Heaven' by John Stafford Smith. However Smith is thought to have been heavily influenced by the work of a blind harpist named Turlough O’Carolan. It was adopted as the US national anthem in 1931.

8. If you said 'Belfast' go to the back of the room and prepare to defend yourself. And if you said 'Union Jack with a harp' in (9), check the locks on your door very carefully before you go to sleep tonight. The answer is green, white and orange; the green represents the Catholic southern republic and the orange the Protestant north. The white is for the peace that was hoped would someday come between them. Hmmm.

author: DehMadLad1

10. This one may surprise you, as well. The answer is (b). Although Barack does not have ginger hair and freckles his great, great, great grandfather was Falmouth Kearney, who fled the potato famine in Ireland on March 20, 1850 bound for New York.  The odd one out is Gerry Ford.