Ah, 'tis something I picked up at PHIL-LIT
god bless you kindly,
>The Sunday Times
>August 30, 1998
>James Joyce No. 1 as women miss out in top 100 Irish list
>by Jan Battles
>To be Irish and influential it is necessary to be religious, musical
>or have literary skills. You should definitely be male, and preferably
>An academic study of the 100 most influential Irish people puts James
>Joyce, the author of Ulysses, in first place, followed by the
>missionary priest St Columcille and the playwright Samuel Beckett.
>According to the study, compiled by academics over the past year,
>little-known traditional musicians, architects and saints have been
>much more influential than contemporary politicians, film-makers and
>Women hardly count; the mythical St Brigid is the only female in the
>top 50, which was selected by an all-male panel which included Kevin
>McNamara, the Labour MP and former shadow Northern Ireland secretary.
>The rest of the top 10 were the 18th-century satirist Jonathan Swift,
>the political theorist Edmund Burke, Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins,
>the scientist Robert Boyle, James Connolly, the 1916 revolutionary,
>and Oscar Wilde. Six saints are in the top 30 - Columbanus, Aidan,
>Ciaran, Kevin and Brigid - but St Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, was
>not included because the judges deemed he was not Irish.
>There was no place either for Bob Geldof, the organiser of Live Aid,
>although 21 musicians are on the list including Leo Rowsome, an
>uileann piper and Jimmy Kennedy who wrote the lyrics to The Teddy
>Bear's Picnic and Red Sails in the Sunset.
>Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum, is at number 57.
>Francis Fowke, the architect who designed the Albert Hall in London,
>is 69th and James Hoban, who designed the White House, is 75th. Mary
>Robinson, the former president and current UN human rights
>commissioner, is 79th.
>There was no place for several contemporary politicians including John
>Hume and Sean Lemass. Even de Valera was lucky to make the list since
>McNamara voted against his inclusion. Michael Flatley, the
>Chicago-born dancer of Riverdance fame, is 56th on the list but John F
>Kennedy, the second-generation American president, does not appear.
>Theobald Wolfe Tone, the political leader, makes number 17 while the
>Duke of Wellington, born in Dublin, is 42nd.
>Louis Cullen, professor of modern Irish history at Trinity College
>Dublin, said there was "a bias towards the literary and musical, both
>traditional and pop, and sporting" in the selection. "There are very
>few clergy, political figures or business people," he said.
>"There is only one businessman, Arthur Guinness, and he was really an
>obscure figure despite the later repute of his product. Figures like
>Harry Ferguson, who invented the tractor, or Dunlop, who invented the
>tyre - individuals who had a real achievement internationally to their
>names - are not there at all.
>"There is a powerful case for Edward Carson and Lord Castlereagh, one
>of the architects of the Union."
>Ailbhe Smyth, director of the women's education, research and resource
>centre at University College Dublin, said it was "absolutely
>disgraceful" that the only woman in the top 50 was St Brigid. "I can't
>understand how Mary Robinson is only at 79," she said. "What do they
>mean by influence? What has Enya influenced except record sales? I
>find it extremely disappointing that it is mainly male. There is
>absolutely no recognition of the broad range of women who have been
>active in historical and contemporary Irish life."
>Smyth said it was unacceptable that there were no women on the panel
>of experts, which included doctors of politics, science, history and
>music. "It demonstrates that even expert men - maybe especially expert
>men - simply do not see the enormous contribution women have made,"
>Michael D Higgins, the former arts minister, would have included the
>Parnell sisters, who were Land League activists, along with the
>fashion designers Sybil Connolly and Lainey Keogh. "I am glad that
>some people who are usually left out are on the list, such as Ninette
>de Valois, the ballet dancer," he said.
>Malcolm Rogers, who compiled the list for the Irish Post, a newspaper
>for the Irish community in Britain, defended the inclusion of some of
>the less-obvious names. "Christy Ring [hurler, number 87] is in the
>list I suppose just because he was the greatest, because he was such a
>massive name," he said.
>"People are asking how can you have George Best [number 20] on the
>same list as Jonathan Swift? Best was the very first pop-star
>footballer and he influenced events that are still felt today.