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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wasn't a big one in my household--my family is true Brit--both sides. But the wife (descended from Shanahans) is Irish, and the wee ones are, too. Not to mention the priest who married us, the estimable Fr. William McGoldrick, who kindly deigned to the overlook my Englishness.

[Heather also roots for Michigan State, so it's a wonder we ever spoke civilly to each other, let alone married. The mysteries of Providence. But I like beer, and I'm wearing green, so there you go.]

Anyway, for things Irish:

The (High) King of Beers.

Mark Sullivan has his usual feast of links.

No word yet from Thomas Fitzpatrick, but keep checking. Odds are you'll need a bypass, but you'll die happy.

Via Mark, we learn that Fr. Ethan is blogging his top five Irish-themed films. Scroll down to see.

A good list, but he missed a few, in my estimation:

In The Name Of The Father: the story of the Irish immigrants wrongly convicted of the Guildford pub bombings in 1974. Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite are brilliant, and the injustice of the convictions is staggering. I was studying in Scotland in 1989 when Conlan was released--it was a huge story in Britain. Please note it got an R-rating for non-gratuitous violence.

Hear My Song: a light-hearted charmer (but note that it, too, is R-rated--for some nudity) about a slick promoter who has to lure a legendary Irish tenor out of tax exile for a concert in Britain. Ned Beatty stars as the reluctant tenor, and some fine Irish music is (too briefly) showcased. For the lads, pixie-cute Tara Fitzgerald also has a prominent role. It is actually based--very loosely--on the life of Irish tenor Josef Locke, who ran into tax trouble in post-war Britain.

Evelyn: Another film based on a true story, this time the travails of Desmond Doyle, an unemployed Irish housepainter whose wife deserted him. Under Irish law, the children of indigent single fathers (but not mothers) were taken away and put into Church-run orphanages. Doyle decided to fight it out in court, with the assistance of an Irish-American lawyer. Evelyn is Doyle's eldest daughter. Mostly light-hearted, and even a little cutesy, but well done. Pierce Brosnan is convincing in the role of Doyle, who is reduced at one point to leather-lunging it in the pub for whatever change he can scrounge up to support his family and his fight. And, as a nice bonus, with one exception, the priest and nuns are sympathetic and humane characters. The priest apologetically offers an interesting insight into Irish seminary life at the time: "Well, I was the seminary boxin' champion, you know..."

Sounds like a custom that could be revived here in the States.


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