God and religion before every thing!' Dante cried. 'God and religion before the world.' Mr Casey raised his clenched fist and brought it down on the table with a crash.'Very well then,' he shouted hoarsely, 'if it comes to that, no God for Ireland!''John! John!' cried Mr Dedalus, seizing his guest by the coat sleeve. Dante stared across the table, her cheeks shaking. Mr Casey struggled up from his chair and bent across the table towards her, scraping the air from before his eyes with one hand as though he were tearing aside a cobweb. 'No God for Ireland!' he cried, 'We have had too much God in Ireland. Away with God!
There had been a time, until 1422, when a number of both Gaelic and Anglo-Irish students attended Oxford and Cambridge in England. But fellow students had complained that Irish living together in large numbers sooner or later got noisy and violent and there was no handling them. Accordingly, the universities imposed a quota system on Irishman, and decreed that those admitted must be scattered around among non-compatriots: exclusively Irish halls of residence were banned.
Americans may say they love our accents (I have been accused of sounding 'like Princess Di') but the more thoughtful ones resent and rather dislike us as a nation and people, as friends of mine have found out by being on the edge of conversations where Americans assumed no Englishmen were listening. And it is the English, specifically, who are the targets of this. Few Americans have heard of Wales. All of them have heard of Ireland and many of them think they are Irish. Scotland gets a sort of free pass, especially since Braveheart re-established the Scots' anti-English credentials among the ignorant millions who get their history off the TV.
In Ireland, you go to someone's house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you're really just fine. She asks if you're. You say of course you're sure, really, you don't need a thing. Except they pronounce it. You don't need a. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn't mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it's no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting. In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don't get any damned tea.I liked the Irish way better.
THAT crazed girl improvising her music. Her poetry, dancing upon the shore, Her soul in division from itselfClimbing, falling She knew not where, Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship, Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declareA beautiful lofty thing, or a thingHeroically lost, heroically found. No matter what disaster occurredShe stood in desperate music wound, Wound, wound, and she made in her triumphWhere the bales and the baskets layNo common intelligible soundBut sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea
In prehistoric times, early man was bowled over by natural events: rain, thunder, lightning, the violent shaking and moving of the ground, mountains spewing deathly hot lava, the glow of the moon, the burning heat of the sun, the twinkling of the stars. Our human brain searched for an answer, and the conclusion was that it all must be caused by something greater than ourselves - this, of course, sprouted the earliest seeds of religion. This theory is certainly reflected in faery lore. In the beautiful sloping hills of Connemara in Ireland, for example, faeries were believed to have been just as beautiful, peaceful, and pleasant as the world around them. But in the Scottish Highlands, with their dark, brooding mountains and eerie highland lakes, villagers warned of deadly water-kelpies and spirit characters that packed a bit more punch.