فصل 11

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فصل 11

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

Stories, music, and dancing

Irish people love stories, and many great writers were born in Ireland. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was a churchman in Dublin. In his book Gulliver’s Travels a man called Gulliver visits many strange countries.

In Lilliput all the people are about ten centimetres high and in the country of the Houyhnhnms horses are cleverer than people. But when Gulliver comes home, nobody believes his stories.

James Joyce (1882-1941) wrote all his stories about Dublin. His most famous book, Ulysses, is 700 pages long. It is the story of everything that one man, Leopold Bloom, does in Dublin in one day - 16 June 1904. And every year on 16 June - ‘Bloomsday’ - people visit Dublin to talk about Ulysses and to visit the places in the story.

Joyce’s friend, Samuel Beckett (1906-89) won the Nobel Prize for his work in the theatre. His most famous work, Waiting for Godot, is about two poor Irish men who are waiting for a man called Godot. Perhaps Godot is a man, perhaps he is God - they don’t know. But he never comes.

Joyce and Beckett were born in Ireland, but they went to work and live in France. They had new and exciting ideas, and some people in Ireland did not like them. To the Irish government and the Catholic Church, books like Ulysses were wrong, and after 1929 Irish people could not buy books like these in the shops. Life was difficult in other ways too - many people had large families and little money. Ireland was a poor country, and it was difficult to find work. Every year, many young people left Ireland to look for work in other countries.

Because of these things some singers too were very angry about life in Ireland. Bob Geldof was born in Ireland in 1951. His mother died when he was seven, and his father was often away from home, so young Bob was often alone. He saw many poor people in Dublin, and his band, the Boomtown Rats, sang loud, angry songs. In their song Banana Republic, they said Ireland was a poor country with a bad government, and too many police and churchmen:

Everywhere I go now and everywhere I see the black and blue uniforms Police and priests Bob Geldof wanted to change the world, and in 1985 he planned some concerts called Band Aid and Live Aid. He used the money from the concerts to help hungry people in Africa. In 2005 he did this again, with a concert called Live 8. With another Irish musician called Bono, Bob Geldof asked the presidents of many countries to give help to Africa.

Bono is from an Irish group called U2. Some people say that U2 are the biggest rock band in the world. Like Bob Geldof, the band do a lot of work to help the poor people of the world. Two other famous Irish pop groups are the boy bands Boyzone and Westlife. There are famous women singers too, like Sinead O’Connor, Enya, and Aoife Ni Fhearraigh.

There are many famous singers and writers from Northern Ireland too. Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 on a farm near Derry. In 1995 he won the Nobel Prize for his poems, and people read them all over the world. The famous singer Van Morrison grew up in Belfast in the 1950s. Most people in Ireland love music. People sing in pubs in every Irish town, and Irish songs are very popular on television in other countries. Ireland has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the best pop song in Europe seven times; this is more than any other country.

The Irish word for party is ceili - a time for people to play music, tell stories, and dance. For hundreds of years, the Irish people have loved dancing at ceilis. In the 1700s, dancing teachers went from town to town. People lived in small houses, so they often danced on the country roads. They wore their best clothes to dance, and played music all day and all night.

In many Irish dances, the dancers keep their hands still by their sides, and move their feet and legs very quickly. Today thousands of Irish children learn Irish dancing, and the best dancers from all over the world come to dance in Ireland too. The Irish dancers Michael Flatley and Jean Butler are famous in many countries - thousands of people have seen them in Riverdance and Lord of the Dance.

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