Feeling uninspired lately? Check out our list of the top ten most memorable quotes from Irish heroes, from former Presidents to popular musicians.
Sure to put a spring in your step or at least get you thinking, we present our Irish heroes.
Musicians and politicians, near and far, each share their two cents on life, conflict, mortality and more.
Looking for inspiration? Don’t miss our countdown of the top ten most memorable quotes from Irish heroes.
10. Nano Nagle: “If I could be of service in serving souls in any part of the world, I would gladly do all in my power” – a pioneer’s act of kindness
Here we take the importance of helping and respecting others from the admirable educator, Nano Nagle. The extent of Nagle’s selflessness knows no boundaries.
9. Daniel O’Connell: “Nothing is politically right that is morally wrong” – a memorable quote from the liberator
This sentence speaks volumes today when we consider the ever-blurring lines between freedom of speech and political correctness.
Like O’Connell, we respect the notion that poor morals don’t belong in politics.
8. Phil Lynott: “You can know that the final show is coming up, and prepare yourself for it mentally, but when it finally occurs, it’s like a dream” – the big question on every musician’s lips
The full quote reads, “You can know that the final show is coming up, and prepare yourself for it mentally, but when it finally occurs, it’s like a dream. You stand there feeling the love the audience has for you, and you think, ‘Is this really going to end?’”
A legend in Irish rock music, Phil Lynott, questions the mortality of his music. While his time on the stage has sadly come to an end, his voice lives on forever in our hearts.
7. Bono: “Feelings are much stronger than thoughts. We are all led by instinct, and our intellect catches up later” – words of wisdom from U2’s frontman
Do first, think later. In other words, the heart wants what it wants.
It is no surprise that U2 frontman Bono, the writer of so many inspiring songs, is self-aware when it comes to his instinct and intellect.
6. James Connolly: “Don’t be ‘practical’ in politics” – an Irish hero tells us not to shy away from our principles
The full quote reads, “Don’t be ‘practical’ in politics. To be practical in that sense means that you have schooled yourself to think along the lines and in the grooves that those who rob you would desire you to think.”
Here, a political figure and republican from Irish history reminds us not to conform. Speak up for what you believe in or risk falling in line with those who mistreat you.
5. Robert Boyle: “…even when we find not what we seek, we find something as well worth seeking as what we missed” – one of the most memorable quotes from an Irish hero
When asked about his setbacks regarding the invention of electricity, Thomas Edison replied that he had not failed.
Instead, he had learned 1,000 ways not to make a lightbulb, a valuable lesson for him in the process of invention.
The modern Irish chemist, Robert Boyle, echoes this mentality. He provides a reminder to us all that success is not linear.
Even when we don’t find what we’re looking for, there is something to be learned from the unexpected.
4. Constance Markievicz: “Dress suitably in short skirts and sitting boots, leave your jewels and gold wands in the bank, and buy a revolver” – smashing the patriarchy from day one
This Irish politician, who became the first woman in parliament, evokes a strong image with this quote.
In it, we see a powerful woman, a protector, unashamed by typically ‘feminine’ features that might paint her as vulnerable (“short skirts and sitting boots”).
She juxtaposes this with the ‘masculine’ action of buying a revolver.
3. John Hume: “Difference is of the essence of humanity” – world peace in a nutshell
The full quote reads, “Difference is of the essence of humanity. Difference is an accident of birth, and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict.
“The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.”
Nobel Peace Prize winner, John Hume, reveals a profound truth when he says that difference is an accident of birth.
Any one of us could have been born in a different country or into a tragic situation vastly different to anything we’d ever known. Thus, we respect diversity.
2. Mary Robinson: “I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system” – music to our ears
We love this line from Ireland’s first female president because it is rich in layers and meaning. The idiom “rock the cradle” can refer to someone who causes trouble.
However, this also reminds us of ‘The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World’, a poem by William Ross Wallace that praises motherhood and its power in changing the world for the better.
Is Robinson saying that women used that power and more to shape a more equal Ireland?
1. Michael Collins: “I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of, let’s say, 100,000 miles, their outlook would be fundamentally changed” – a quote from the leading figure in Ireland’s fight for independence
The full quote reads, “I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of, let’s say, 100,000 miles, their outlook would be fundamentally changed. The all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument suddenly silenced…”.
Perspective matters. Whether it’s a war you’re looking for or an argument with a friend, we all need this perspective that Collins speaks of.
Thus, Michael Collins and his outlook on conflict slide into first place on our list of the most memorable quotes from Irish heroes.