At the start of St Patrick's Day week in 2016, we asked our readers: what’s the very best thing about being Irish?
Hundreds of you from all around the world sent in answers, ranging from a few brief nail-on-the-head insights to longer personal stories about what being Irish has meant to you or to your families at various points in life.
A few of our favorite comments and stories are below. Don’t see yours here or didn’t get a chance to submit? Tell us the best thing about being Irish in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
“The fact that we are a small country but our national day is celebrated worldwide. We are known for our friendliness, our humour and our never-give-up-attitude.”
- Siobhan Burke
“A profound sense of the ridiculous.”
“I was born and raised in Ireland and in 1966, at the tender age of 16, like thousands of other Irish people who could not find work at home, traveled to England to find employment. That was 50 years ago. I brought with me a huge sense of pride in my national identity and whilst I am very grateful to England for giving me a good job, my wife of forty five years and three wonderful children, I will always wear my Irish identity like a proud badge of honor. The music, song, poetry and dancing of Ireland are instantly recognizable throughout the world and I firmly believe that we are the friendliest and most honest people on Earth. There are 5 million people in Ireland yet 70 million people call it home. An old friend of mine once told me that you don't have to be back in Ireland in order to back Ireland and that is exactly what millions of the Irish diaspora do every day of their lives simply by the way they conduct themselves. So what’s the best thing about being Irish? Just being Irish of course."
- Chris Dalton, 66, writing from Northampton England
“The things I love most about being Irish: Being part of a rich culture based so strong in family and heritage. The Irish are some of the most fun people I've ever met. The Irish are strong, brave, hard working and I am proud to have inherited those traits. My father was born in Kerry and came to USA in 1920 after a round about way from London and Canada and finally to New York, so he has shown us courage, determination, and perseverance. I have taught my children the same values of family, fun/laughter, bravery, courage and hard work."
- Patricia O'Connor Heitz
“The privilege of living in the most beautiful surroundings you can imagine amongst friendly people.
- Silvio Borny
“My parents were Irish immigrants who met in Los Angeles, married and had 7 of us. Growing up Irish in America was always unique. A bit different than my American friends. My mother's easy "oh well" attitude about difficulties in life and my father's insanely quick wit and musical talents. Being in Ireland many times now, just experiencing the drop dead gorgeous landscape, the over-the-top friendly natives, their love of a good joke and a neighborly pub. The ancestry of the Irish, full of determination, strength of character, fierce pride of their own and not allowing ANYONE to completely enslave them even though they fought the bastards for centuries. Our love of music, dance, poetry, and deep spiritual contemplation that keep us very human, sassy and yet still humble.”
- Enda Veres, 59, Southern California
#BeingIrish is drinking 10 cups of tea a day— Aine O'Brien (@Aine_OB) March 15, 2016
“The charm and wit.”
“Our witty sense of humor, our strength, our glorious green landscape, our lively spirit, our happy music, our loyalty, our fun-loving attitudes, our gift of storytelling and our beautiful people!”
- Shannon Wellnitz Ryan
“Learning our rich Irish history.”
“The innate ability to travel psychically whenever we choose. Very few cultures have this ability. We see the magic that exists. We are truly blessed.”
We adapt to everyone's society … and conquer hearts, not land … he Irish empire is made up of laughter and the "craic" … helping hands and giving spirits … Sure, what would you expect from the best people on the planet?........Sláinte!!!
- John D. Lupton
“Living far away!”
“I have a wonderful history which gives me a great sense of belonging. I have roots which keeps me strong when ill winds blow.”
“I have a German last name but am actually three-quarters Irish (OK, I know I'm 100% American, you know what I mean). The best thing about being Irish are the stories of sacrifice all of my ancestors made so that I might live a good life here in the US. The stories are told over and over again and on St Paddy's Day the embellishments become historic. March 17th is a day we all look forward to worldwide. A time to celebrate our Irish ancestry and ancestors, for the craic, dance, sing, listen to trad. and remember my mother Therese Ann Quinlan Huerter. That's the best thing about being Irish.”
- Bob Huerter, 55, Omaha, Nebraska
“The love of music and the singing and dancing that go along with it. While we tend to stress out too often, we love to laugh and most of us can talk to anybody.”
“The history of the people, being strong, being survivors, the beauty of the people inside and out.”
“Irish music and dance touches the soul and fills the heart like no others can.”
- Brigid Flaherty, 18, USA
“We have a good reputation,all over the world. We give importance to family and we keep or try to maintain our traditions.That’s my impression from Buenos Aires, Argentina and being 3rd generation Irish.”
“Realizing that I carry the hopes and dreams of my ancestors in my soul. I came to realize how true this is when listening to Irish music. Or when reading Irish history or seeing pictures of Ireland. Tears will well up in my eyes. It is then that I realize that my eyes are a window used by my ancestors too.”
- Patrick Finn - 2nd generation Irish-American now living in Reno, NV
“Our revolutionary past.”
“The best thing about being Irish is the warmth, wit and music in the speech, writing and song of our people. And our dark misery is beloved like no other on earth.”
- Molly Brauer, Tampa, FL
“I am not even irish but my wife has Irish heritage ,and we have been there four times and visited her relatives. Perhaps I am better positioned to offer an unbiased opinion. If I have to pick one word to describe the many fine qualities of a country with history, heritage, and a smaller charming enduring people and way of life, it is ‘spirit.’"
“We're the best of friends and the worst of enemies!”
“What's best? Hard to narrow it down but there are highlights. It's being able to explore 10,000 years and more of heritage in the landscape and culture. It's everything from the farming traditions of my childhood home in Co Tyrone to the Kilnaruane standing stone near our house in Co. Cork. It's the traditions of saga and literature, from the evening craic to the Long Room. Although I have had a wonderful life after moving to Canada, the annual journey home (always a totally non-commercial group visit) for two to three weeks of exploration is the highlight of every year.”
“Our fight and determination to make good of ourselves , our resilience, and our generosity of spirit. Our beautiful country. I could go on, I feel blessed to be Irish.”
-Breda J. Bergin
“The wonderful sense of humor and finding some joy and fun in everyday situations.”
“I am South African with an Irish grandfather, whom I never met! My daughter lives in West Cork, Republic of Ireland, having met and married an Irish fellow a few years ago. Therefore, I visit often, have strong ties to the country and love it and the Irish people dearly!”
“Our pub culture!”
“To be Irish, it's in your heart and soul. You can take the girl out of Ireland but you can never take Ireland out of the girl. I was born in Kildare 1958 and moved to Canada in 1965.I left a price of my heart in ireland, that I can't get back and I don't want it back, because it belongs there.”
- Geri Branton, Canada
“The best thing about being Irish. Being part of the world wide Irish 'tribe' with our strong links to home and to our ancestors, who fought against all the odds to survive and preserve our customs and traditions.”
- Mike Moloney, Manchester, England
“I have great pride in the contributions the Irish have made to the U.S. Considering it's such a small country- it's quite extraordinary. I love that we have such pride in our heritage and are known for our strength, kindness and humor!
- Ann, New York
“The heritage of undaunted courage, the knowledge that my progenitors have passed on the strength and determination to endure and overcome deep adversity, and the traditions of love of music, literature, philosophy, science and, most of all, love of God and fellow man. So what's the best thing about being Irish? The genes.”
“The best thing about being Irish would include being a nation of people who like to laugh and of course have a bit of Craic.”
“The best thing about being Irish is our tenacity. It's what made my family and what I am most grateful for. Telling us "you can't do this" only made us tighten our belts, spit on our palms and charge out there to prove them wrong … time after time after time. Thank God I'm Irish, I couldn't have survived without it!”
- Kate McLaney
“My dad was Irish through and through. He made many trips to Ireland, took Irish history classes at the local community college. He was in an Irish heritage group and took Gaelic language classes. I grew up listening to Tom Clancy and others before we went to church on Sundays. That was the connection my Dad instilled in me. He wanted to take me to Ireland this month, but passed away in Jan. Love you, dad.”
“The deep appreciation of music, story, family, friends, laughter and right to decide our own destiny.”
“Visiting family in Co. Kildare. Great Irish friends and Irish organizations celebration St. Patrick's Day alone with marching in our two parades here in Buffalo, New York. My wife's great-grandfather Michael Quinn from Tralee, Co. Kerry started the first St. Patrick's Day Parade here in Buffalo, New York.”
- Norm Hamilton, Lancaster, New York
“The best thing about being irish is the strong familial bonds, the stubbornness that I get from my ancestors has seen me through the worst of times. If I wasn't Irish then I would not be me. Being Irish defines who I am. And I LOVE who I am.”
“The best thing about being Irish is there are only two kinds people in world: Irish and those who wish they were.”
- Janie McAndrew
“The best thing about being Irish, to me, has to be my constant stubbornness, determination, generosity, resilience, my free spirit, and pride in my beautiful country and its people.”
- Kerri O'Reilly
“We are a spirited, loyal, generous of spirit, hard-working society. I'm so very proud to be Irish for my son's and future grandchildren heritage is safe. God has blessed us with hearts full of grace and courage.”
- Regina Maguire
“Our generosity of spirit and high ideals, our heroism, our poetry, music, literary, sporting, business, environmental and scientific achievements for such a small country, our pilgrims, scholars and explorers. Our beliefs and imagination and ability to dream and achieve those dreams, our ability to overcome Famine and War and place ourselves high on the world stage.”
- Linda Dolan
“We don't take ourselves too seriously. The Irish are a super friendly nation. We have great accents. We are the land of saints & scholars. We are hugely creative. We have the craic. . .the list goes on and on and on.”
- Rebecca Carroll
“A fighting spirit! Never ever give up! A true love of family & a deep connection to where you come from.”
- Linda Macmillan
“For me, it's patriotism. It's pride in the place that made me. I'm not just Irish. I am Ireland. I'm a walking, talking, living piece of land, culture, and rich history. As is every other person with a strong connection to their mother-country.”
- Aaron Beck
* Originally published in 2016.