St. Patrick's Day
Saint Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration on the death date of the eponymous patron Saint of Ireland. The 17th of March is a public holiday within the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland alongside Newfoundland and Labrador and Montserrat. It is widely celebrated across the world with parades, cèilidhs, shamrocks and lots of green! Many of our biographees hail from the Emerald Isle alongside others who love the Irish way of life.
Downpatrick in Northern Ireland is said to be the burial place of St Patrick and some of our Who’s Who and Who Was Who biographees were born in this small town: William Johnston, Conservative MP for Belfast South between 1885 and 1900; Rev. James Caulfield, Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain to the Royal Air Force; Paul McComb, Director-General, Department of International Trade in Hong Kong and Macau; and Colin McGrath, SDLP Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for South Down.
Some of the most famous Irish writers have had entries in Who’s Who. Born in Dublin in 1865, the poet William Butler Yeats was Senator of the Irish Free State from 1922 to 1928 and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. Edna O’Brien, best known for her 1960 novel, The Country Girls, also wrote a biography of the eminent 20th century writer James Joyce. When not writing modernist fiction, such as the epic Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, Joyce enjoyed ‘singing’ as his sole recreation.
Ireland has produced many successful actors including Stephen Rea, who trained at the Abbey Theatre School, Dublin, and Liam Neeson, who was crowned winner at the Northern Ireland Youth Heavyweight Boxing Championship before his acting career began. Actresses Fiona Shaw and Niamh Cusack both list walking and reading amongst their recreations.
Many of our Who’s Who biographees enjoy Irish culture. Michael Ashe, QC and literary theorist Professor Terence Eagleton enjoy Irish music. Mick Murphy, former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, lists ‘Gaelic games and Irish culture’ as his recreations and Baroness Neuberger enjoys ‘Irish life’. Denis Brennan, a District Judge of the Magistrates’ Courts, likes ‘going to Ireland’ and Alison Bevan, Director of the Royal West of England Academy, enjoys ‘holidaying in Ireland’.
We look forward to celebrating St Patrick’s Day on the 17th March and raising a glass of Guinness to our biographees and readers. Sláinte!
Lá fhéile Pádraig sona duit from The Office of Who’s Who!