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"10 things you might not know about the Irish" By Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer Chicago Tribune March 17, 2013 There's no mystery why we're focusing on the Irish today — it's St. Patrick's Day. Even so, we can't resist noting that St. Patrick was not Irish and did not banish the snakes from Ireland (since there were none there at the time). And in fact, some of the exploits credited to Patrick actually belong to Palladius, a Christian leader who preceded Patrick. But let's celebrate anyway by sharing these 10 malarkey-free facts. 1 In 1901, Chicago's top cop was a hard-nosed, aggressive Irishman, not that unusual for a force historically dominated by men who bled green. But Francis O'Neill was also arguably the world's pre-eminent expert on Irish folk music, collecting and preserving thousands of pieces of music, many of which would have been lost forever. Reporters who were used to his blunt, bordering on rude, manner at the office were amazed that the quiet scholar who lectured about music at his home was the same man. 2 While the origins of Notre Dame's nickname are lost in history, the moniker Fighting Irish was first used regularly around the turn of the last century. According to one account, university officials finally gave it their blessing in 1927 because they preferred it to the alternatives of Ramblers, Rovers and Nomads, coined because of the school's penchant for traveling far and wide to find opponents. Ads by Google 3 In 1845, 1 in 50 Bostonians were Irish-born. Ten years later, 1 in 5 were. 4 Friends of a young Dublin musician named Paul Hewson started calling him Steinvic von Huyseman, then just Huyseman, then Houseman. Later they named him after a hearing-aid store, Bonavox of O'Connell Street, perhaps in recognition that "bona vox" was Latin for "good voice." Ultimately he went simply by Bono, fronting a band called Feedback, then The Hype, then U2. 5 The third paragraph of Irish writer James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" includes the word bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerr-onntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk. Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson, analyzing the novel, write that word is a "polylingual thunderclap" that represents "the voice of God made audible through the noise of Finnegan's fall." (Tim Finnegan is a character in a song who gets drunk, climbs a ladder and suffers an apparently fatal fall. But at his wake, an attendee splashes Finnegan with whiskey, and he jumps to life.) 6 Irish-Americans sometimes talk about past discrimination, including "NINA signs" declaring that "no Irish need apply" for jobs. As recently as 1996, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who grew up in a wealthy family, said he had seen NINA signs in stores when he was a boy. But according to 2002 research by Richard Jensen, a retired history professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, such signs are an urban legend, and "no historian, archivist or museum curator has ever located one." Jensen concedes that "no Irish need apply" occasionally appeared in newspaper want ads. Several have been found in the Chicago Tribune in the 1870s. 7 The Irish turn up in the strangest places. Eliza Rosanna Gilbert was born in western Ireland in 1821, spent her childhood in India and England, married, had an affair, divorced, changed her name to Lola Montez and went on the London stage posing as a Spanish dancer. She later became the mistress of Bavaria's King Ludwig I, who was so infatuated that he named her a countess and let her dictate government policy, helping precipitate the revolution of 1848. The king abdicated, and Montez moved on to perform in gold-rush California and Australia, perfecting something she called the "Spider Dance." A lake northeast of Sacramento, Calif., is named after her. 8 John Patrick Hopkins, one of the first in a long line of Chicago mayors of Irish descent, took some flak on St. Patrick's Day 1894 when he didn't order the "green flag of old Ireland" to fly over City Hall, breaking with a long-standing tradition aimed to curry favor with what was already a sizable community in Chicago. The Tribune applauded the move, calling the practice a "cheap bit of demagogy" and declaring: "Mayor Hopkins is an Irish-American, with the American somewhat predominating." 9 The Irish Brigade was a U.S. Army unit made up mostly of Irish immigrants that fought famously for the Union at the Sunken Road in Fredericksburg and helped repel Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. The heart of the brigade was the Fighting 69th, an infantry unit from New York. But its charismatic commander, Michael Corcoran, nearly missed the war after he refused a direct order in 1860 to parade his troops for the prince of Wales, who was visiting New York City. Corcoran, who was protesting English treatment of Ireland, was facing a court martial when the shots were fired at Fort Sumter, and the great recruiter was allowed to return to his command. 10 Italians are understandably proud of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi. But the Irish have a claim as well. Marconi's mother was Annie Jameson, from the family that founded the Jameson's brand of Irish whiskey. from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-perspec-1017-things-20130317,0,1222192.story --30--