The greatest philosophies and tributes to those great Irish departed to reflect on and pay tribute to those who served this Memorial Day.
On Memorial Day it is fitting to read some of the greatest epitaphs, philosophies and tributes to Irish people of great stature.
Like anything that requires ease of expression and suitable words for the departed, the Irish excelled at it.
Here are some examples:
“Be my epitaph writ on my country’s mind,
He served his country and loved his kind.”
- Thomas Davis (1814-1845) Young Ireland leader.
“Let no man write my epitaph: for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them. let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me repose in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, until other times, and other men, can do justice to my character; when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.”
“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”
“Life springs from death and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living nations.”
- Patrick Pearse at the rebel O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral.
"Cast a cold eye
On life, on death
Horseman, pass by."
“Walk on air against your better judgement.”
(It means don’t be cautious, go for it.)
“Swift has sailed into his rest;
Savage indignation there
Cannot lacerate his Breast.
Imitate him if you dare,
World-Besotted Traveler; he
Served human liberty.”
- Epitaph of Jonathan Swift who wrote “Gulliver’s Travels” and “A Modest Proposal”.
“I’d do it again.”
- James Michael Curley, Mayor of Boston
“It is not those who can inflict the most,
but those who can suffer the most who will conquer.”
- Terence Macswiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, who died on hunger strike.
* Originally published in 2018.