If you’re lucky enough to be Irish….you’re lucky enough! —Irish proverb
On St. Patrick’s Day, every man is an Irishman — if you disagree, get out of me sight and don’t come back until tomorrow! Besides, today me mind is not on Irish men, but on Irish lasses — coleens (or colleens), a word of Gaelic origin — specifically, coleens whose first name ends in een, as does me wife’s (Maureen).
One of the most famous Maureens is Irish-born Maureen O’Hara, the lovely red-headed actress who co-starred in my favorite John Wayne movie, THE QUIET MAN. This Academy Award-winning film, directed by Irish-born John Ford, is set in the fictional Irish village of Innisfree (the ending word in my last post SANCTUARY, from Wm. Butler Yeats’ poem LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE).
To me, the most Irish-sounding girl’s first name ending in een is Pegeen, a name I first heard of in Irish playwright John Millington Synge’s great THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD, a wickedly funny play (later filmed in 1962) which, at its first performance in Dublin in 1907, caused a riot. Synge’s contemporary, W.B. Yeats, later wrote of the play, “It is never played before any Irish audience for the first time without something or other being flung at the players.” Pegeen is the name of the village barmaid, the heroine with “the divil’s own temper,” who is courted — and lost — by Christy Mahon, the “Playboy of the Western World.”
Another Irish een name I am fond of is Kathleen, heard in several Irish ballads, including KATHLEEN MAVOURNEEN and the beautifully poignant I’LL TAKE YOU HOME AGAIN, KATHLEEN:
Happy March seventeen!