In a Word . . . Wales

St Patrick was actually a Welshman with particularly good judgement – he picked us

 

Today’s the day.

And hello to our Welsh cousins heading to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff where their country could win the Six Nations Grand Slam if they beat Ireland this afternoon.

And where Ireland could win the Six Nations Championship if we beat Wales and then the Scots do us a favour against England. Sure!

Otherwise we can sing Dixie, even on this St Patrick’s weekend. Would they do that to us? Of course they would!

But I don’t suppose our hearts would break if Wales win the Grand Slam today. I mean, it could have been England, if Wales had not beaten them last month. That would have been so, so, so much worse.

It helps, of course, that it is believed St Patrick was a Welshman and one with particularly good judgment – he preferred us! Even if he was brought here as a slave that first time. But he returned by his own choice.

Some say Patrick came from south Wales, around the Severn estuary; others that he came from what is now Brittany in northern France, which is called after those Celtic tribes that fled there when the Germanic Anglo-Saxons invaded what is now England.

You do know, of course, that in ancient times these island were always named by their size and that the extraordinary first century Egyptian map maker Ptolemy called them Great Britain and Little Britain (Ireland).

The irony today is that it is Wales which is known in Irish as An Bhreatain Bheag (Little Britain). Much more comfortable for us too.

There is of course that other Welshman Ireland has played such a part in promoting as well over recent decades, singer/songwriter David Gray.

His wounded soul resonated with something very deep in the more melancholy side of the Irish nature very early on.

When all comes to all, however, we dearly hope his compatriots won’t add to that melancholy today, even if all our wars are merry and all our songs are sad.

Especially on St Patrick’s weekend when green rather than blue is the colour of choice.

Wales from Old English Wielisc, Wylisc (West Saxon),

inaword@irishtimes.com

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