Ireland

Beneath its broad surface, storytelling should always work hard to say more than it seems to.

Brendan, as you know, is called “Brendan the Navigator.

But can you make someone feel the world all around loves them? Can you make them feel the rain is for cooling them, the wind is for drying them, the sun is for warming them?

Can you lead to dignity a man abused by his employer? Can you give hope for a new life to a woman whose infant has died? Can you guide an oppressed people to freedom and power?

...fair is a body pigment, that's all it is.

I believe the world of the spirit is in general greatly neglected and not at all served by the practice of faith as we know it, because religion isn't individual enough.

I give people hope.

I’ll tell you what was the first division of Ireland. It came from the time the people who worshipped the goddess Danu was hammered by the Milesians—d’you know about the Milesians?” “A race of mighty men taller than Roman spears,” quoted Ronan. “Hah! You’re not as green as you’re cabbage-looking. Up from Spain they came thousands of years ago, thousands. And they had spears, whereas the Danu people only had spells. And a spell is like your arse—it has its uses, but not in a fight.” “I said you came to the right house,” said Myrtle. “And when the Spanish defeated them, they made a treaty, and the Milesians took all of Ireland above the ground, and the Danu took all below the ground, where they are living still—that was the first political division of Ireland. Did you know that?” “We were taught it at school,” said Ronan. “And did you never think to question that you were taught as a historical fact that people live like sprites under the ground of Ireland?

I never met a librarian worth his or her salt who didn't perceive my passion for books. And without exception, each one would lend me a book on a subject we had been discussing. No paperwork, no formalities of any kind, no rules or regulations.

My unspoken side of the bargain was to protect them, in two ways; first by keeping the book unharmed - not that easy, especially in bad weather, but when it rained, I carried the book next to my skin. I can tell you now that carrying Gulliver's Travels or Lays of Ancient Rome or Mr. Oscar Wilde's stories or Mr. William Yeat's poems next to my heart gave me a kind of sweet pleasure.

The second half of the bargain often nearly broke my heart, but I always kept it - and that was to return the book safe and sound to the library that had lent it. To part company with Mr. Charles Dickens or Mr. William Makepeace Thackeray and his lovely name! - that was harder than saying good-bye to a dear flesh-and-blood companion. But I always did it - and I sent the book by registered post, no small consideration of cost given the peculiar economics of an itinerant storyteller.

I’ve just had very bad news.” “What’s the good news inside it? There’s always good news wrapped up in bad news.” “Jesus God, I don’t know.” “But there is.” “That’s ludicrously optimistic.” Lelia said, “You’ll have to use smaller words, you’re in Clare now.” Ronan

Man’s love is of Man’s life a thing apart—’tis Woman’s whole existence.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Patrick had left behind some writings, and one of his most famous works was something many of us learned in school called “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate,” a kind of a cross between a hymn and a poem.

Pg. 112-113

And he had other assets; one of them -- you'll be surprised at this -- was sin...Whatever it was, Patrick said how it weighed on him. He also exploited it -- because it enabled him to meet people on an equal footing. He was able to say, "Look, I'm not above you. I have my faults, too. I've done terrible things." Just because someone had once sinned, he said, didn't mean they were bad through and through. And that was part of his work in life -- to show that people might sin and still go on to live good lives.

Pg 12

"The wises men tell us that everything, sooner or later, changes. And all change commences with a specific moment. We say to ourselves, "I wont do this again, I must become different." And we succeed -- eventually.

Should; shouldn't; ought; oughtn't—the enemies of contentment.

that’s the story of how Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland forever and banished the Devil to England. Some people say that explains why there has always been such trouble between England and Ireland. The Devil stirs it up.

the Devil became desperate to get away. His way was blocked, so he bit a big chunk out of the mountaintop and carried it off in his mouth. Patrick, stunned at the size of the hole in the mountain, hesitated for a moment, and lost his advantage. By the time he looked up, the Devil had gone too far ahead to be caught. Patrick gave up the chase. Up ahead, at Cashel, the Devil stopped for a rest, and he dropped the stone out of his mouth. That stone became the Rock of Cashel, the most famous sight in Ireland.

The one joy that has kept me going through life has been the fact that stories unite us. To see you as you listen to me now, as you have always listened to me, is to know this: what I can believe, you can believe. And the way we all see our story-not just as Irish people but as flesh and blood individuals and not the way people tell us to see it-that's what we own, no matter who we are and where we come from.

The point about words is—the better you use them, the stronger is the thought that wears them.

There's always good news wrapped up in bad news.

The Wayfarer.

Tonight, I'm certainly going to tell you a story, but 'tis a story with a difference because, unlike virtually every other tale I tell-in this case, I was there. And yet I know that although I was there, and I saw people who were real, they have since become somewhat imagined-because I now view them through my memory. That's something every human being does-but storytellers live by it.

We do well to remember dolphins. If a dolphin ails, then others come alongside and nudge him gently through the waters; because a dolphin must keep moving in order to keep breathing. We all have need of our dolphins alongside us from time to time.

we must all share in each other’s visions if the world is to become civilized.

What are you like inside? Don’t you have feelings where you love everyone, and at the same time you hate everyone? Or—don’t you have times when everything goes the way you want, but nothing feels good or right? That’s what I mean,” he’d say, “about my black horse and my white horse.

What I told you tonight - it isn't my story alone. It belongs to every Irish person living and dead. And every Irish person living and dead belongs to it. And to all the story of Ireland; blood and bones, legends, guns and dreams, Catholics, Protestants, England, horses and poets and lovers.

What’s the odd one out between an egg, a drum, and a potato?” Ronan shook his head, mystified. “You can beat an egg. You can beat a drum. But you can’t beat a potato. D’you get it, do you?” Matt

When I come out on the road of a morning, when I have had a night's sleep and perhaps a breakfast, and the sun lights a hill on the distance, a hill I know I shall walk across an hour or two thence, and it is green and silken to my eye, and the clouds have begun their slow, fat rolling journey across the sky, no land in the world can inspire such love in a common man.