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George Washington, on Ireland's support for America during the revolution

What presidents, poets and celebrities say about the Irish

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George Washington, on Ireland's support for America during the revolution

The Irish are a nation, happily, much loved around the globe. With over 70 million of us it’s no wonder that we have touched the lives of so many.

Over the years some famous quotes have been made by politicians, actors, celebrities, musicians, writers and even popes about the Irish. From George Washington to JFK and Sigmund Freud everybody has had something to say about us.

Here’s our pick of the choice quotes:

Politicians

"Ireland, thou friend of my country in my country's most friendless days, much injured, much enduring land, accept this poor tribute from one who esteems thy worth, and mourns thy desolation."
- George Washington, on Ireland's support for America during the revolution.

"We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English."
- Winston Churchill

"Ah, Ireland... That damnable, delightful country, where everything that is right is the opposite of what it ought to be."
- Benjamin Disraeli

"What's the use of being Irish if the world doesn't break your heart?"
-President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers."
-President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
-President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"Today I come back to you as a descendant of people who were buried here in pauper's graves."
- President Ronald Reagan, on a visit to Ballyporeen in 1984

"This day is a happy one for America. In some places Americans get a little too happy."
- President George Bush, greeting Bertie Ahern at the White House on St. Patrick's Day 2004
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Celebrities

"I had that stubborn streak, the Irish in me I guess."
- Gregory Peck

"Though I soon became typecast in Hollywood as a gangster and hoodlum, I was originally a dancer, an Irish hoofer, trained in vaudeville tap dance. I always leapt at the opportunity to dance in films later on."
- James Cagney

"My father was totally Irish, and so I went to Ireland once. I found it to be very much like New York, for it was a beautiful country, and both the women and men were good-looking."
- James Cagney

"I'm Irish. I think about death all the time."
- Jack Nicholson

"If you could drink dreams like the Irish streams
Then the world would be high as the mountain of morn
In the Pool they told us the story
How the English divided the land..."
- John Lennon, "The Luck of the Irish" (song)

"I've always liked it here. Part of me is Irish. . . . My family comes from the west coast, so whenever I come to Ireland I get a wee tingling in my heart that I'm where I belong."
- Billy Connolly (Scottish Actor, b.1942)

"I have a thing for red-haired Irish boys, as we know."
- Actress Sandra Bullock

"The Irish seem to have more fire about them than the Scots."
- Actor Sean Connery

Writers

"The English are not happy unless they are miserable, the Irish are not at peace unless they are at war, and the Scots are not at home unless they are abroad."
George Orwell (English Novelist and Essayist, 1903-1950)

"It is a curious contradiction, not very often remembered in England, that for many generations the private soldiers of the British Army were largely Irish."
- Cecil Woodham-Smith

"When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, 'Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe?"
- Quentin Crisp

"The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad. For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad."
- G.K. Chesterton

"The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots as a joke, but the Scots haven't seen the joke yet."
- Oliver Herford

Others

"Love is never defeated, and I could add, the history of Ireland proves it."
-Pope John Paul, September 1979

"This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever."
- Sigmund Freud

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