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So, as part of the holiday live-blogging, I would like to offer some tidbits of Ireland. Some are legitimate scholarship. Some are...art. It is up to you to decide which is which. Photobucket

I'll start with a piece written by an Irish scholar, around the 9th century. It is actually a story of an Irish pootie. I would like you to meet Pangur Bán. I have long loved the vision of a scholar working on important texts, while his cat works nearby.

The original story details can be found here: Pangur Bán. The original work itself is found in this text. Although there a multiple translations of this text, I prefer the one by Flowers (below).

I and Pangur Bán, my cat
'Tis a like task we are at;
Hunting mice is his delight
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will,
He too plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way:
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

Translated by Robin Flower

If you want to see some, er, action of Pangur Bán, you can see him in a sweet animated film. I quite loved it. In fact, I think I'll watch it again this Paddy's Day. It was available for streaming via Netflix when I saw it. And it was on Monday when I last checked.
The Secret of Kells - Official US Trailer

And yes, there are monasteries, and there use to be important scholarship in them. Things went a bit awry at some point after that. A Irish comedian addresses some of that here. "It's a wonder I'm not invited to more churches in Alabama...."

And now, for a further contemporary Irish view on scholarship, I offer you more Dara O'Briain. I could listen to him all day on this. He takes on medicine, space, and how he "winters well". Heh. I would go to him for nutrition advice any day.

Ah, c'mon. Let's have a pint!

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Other posts in this series (updated over the day):

Liveblogging St. Patricks Day with the Shamrock American Kossacks: Green River Edition

Liveblogging St. Patricks Day with the Shamrock American Kossacks: Irish Music

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Originally posted to Shamrock American Kossacks on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 09:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.

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