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Irish Wit MacHale, Des

ISBN: 9781856354615

Here is a brand new compilation - with an Irish twist. From some of the most celebrated figures of the Emerald Isle - Samuel Beckett, Dave Allen and Ardal O'Hanlon amongst others - this book brings together a collection of wit, humour and Irish wisdom that may at times seem confusing to the poor, ignorant foreigner, but is always profound.

'I'm an atheist, thank God'

- Dave Allen 

'You know it is summer in Ireland when the rain gets warmer' - Hal Roach 

'There are over thirty words in the Irish language which are equivalent to the Spanish manana. But somehow none of them conveys the same sense of urgency'

- Patrick Kavanagh.

To see other books by Des MacHale, click here.

ISBN 9781856354615



The Irish have a reputation of being the wittiest people on earth and when you read this book you will soon see why. Wit drops from the lips of the average Irishman and Irishwoman as naturally and as frequently as rain drops from the heavens on the Emerald Isle. Pick up any book of quotations in the English language and you will find it chock-full of quotations from Irish authors such as Wilde, Shaw, Sheridan (R. B. and J. D.), Swift, Behan, Milligan, Beckett, Keane, O'Brien, Toibín, Leonard, Goldsmith, Joyce, Healy, Kavanagh, MacManus, Mahaffy, Moore, O'Casey, O'Faolain and Stephens. Thats a formidable list by any standards. And these are just the literary wits that have left a written record of their humorous outpourings. Go to any Irish pub, golf club, school, football match, office block or factory floor, and you will hear just as good stuff, off-the-cuff and original too. What causes it and where does it come from? God only knows and He must bear at least some of the responsibility because He is probably part Irish Himself. Maybe it is something in the air, something in the water, something magic that exists in the Irish twilight between sanity and madness. Whatever the reason let us rejoice in it and enjoy one of the worlds greatest free gifts- Irish humour.

Bertie Ahern
I will not upset the apple tart.

Dave Allen
My church accepts all denominations- fivers, tenners, twenties.

My bank manager went for a heart transplant but they couldn't find a stone of the right size.

White is the virginal colour, symbolising purity and innocence. Why do nuns wear black?

Irish humour consists of five basic themes- life, death, religion, drinking and the English.

Ireland has one of the world's heaviest rainfalls. If you see an Irishman with a tan, it's rust.

Ireland is the only place in the world where procrastination takes on a sense of urgency.

I'm an atheist, thank God.

Samuel Beckett
Dublin University contains the cream of Ireland- rich and thick.

We are all born mad. Some remain so.

I am not British. On the contrary.

There are only two moments worthwhile in writing; the one when you start and the other when you throw it in the wastepaper bin.

Brendan Behan
New York is my Lourdes, where I go for spiritual refreshment- a place where you are not likely to be bitten by a wild goat.

The drink in that pub is not fit for washing hearses.

When I came back to Dublin I was court-martialled in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence.

There is no bad publicity, except an obituary notice.

Kilbarrack, over by Howth, my father always maintained, was the healthiest graveyard in the country, with the sea air.

The first item on the agenda of every Irish organisation is 'The Split'

How about the raffle where the first prize was a week in Belfast and the second prize was a fortnight in Belfast?

Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know exactly how it should be done, they see it being done every night, but they cannot do it themselves.

I have never seen a situation yet so bad that a policeman couldn't make it worse.

A job is death without the dignity.

Richard Harris
I am in God's departure lounge and I've managed to miss quite a few scheduled flights.

Michael Caine is an over-fat flatulent sixty-two-year-old windbag, a master of inconsequence now masquerading as a guru, passing off his vast limitations as pious virtues.

John Hume
If the word 'No' was removed from the English language, Ian Paisley would be struck speechless.

The truth is that Ulster Unionists are loyal not to the crown but to the half crown.

Anyone who isn't confused in Northern Ireland doesn't really understand what is going on.

James Joyce
You may certainly not kiss the hand that wrote Ulysses. It's done lots of other things as well.

Become a Protestant? Certainly not. Just because I've lost my faith doesn't mean I've lost my reason.

I am a strict teetotaller, not taking anything between drinks.

John Millicent Synge.

I don't know if he is dead or not, but they took the liberty of burying him.

Nora Joyce
James, why don't you write books that people can read?

If only James had stuck to music, we might have made some money.

I always told James that he should give up writing and take up singing.


  • Irish Wit