Fintan O’Toole: The Covid-19 pandemic should be the last hurrah for Irish stoicism

We are at the top of Mount Misery and must endure, but forbearance is not always a virtue

A lone pedestrian on the Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin, in early morning fog. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

A lone pedestrian on the Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin, in early morning fog. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

No, we’re not being heroical. We’re just being stoical. It’s important that those who are trying to communicate messages about the pandemic understand the difference. It also matters that we appreciate that Irish stoicism is a two-sided coin. 

Generalisations are stupid but also necessary. The big picture of Irish culture is that we are a nation of stoics. The good news is that this habit of mind is helping us to get through a very dark time. The bad news is that it won’t help us to get over it.

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