When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

When Irish eyes are smiling, Sure it’s like a morn in Spring, In the lilt of Irish laughter, You can hear the angels sing.

When Irish hearts are happy, All the world seems bright and gay, And when Irish eyes are smiling, Sure, they steal your heart away.

“When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” is a lighthearted song in tribute to Ireland. Its lyrics were written by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr, set to music composed by Ernest Ball. It was first published in 1912, at a time when songs in tribute to a romanticised Ireland were very numerous and popular both in Britain and the United States. During the First World War the famous tenor John McCormack recorded the song. The song continued to be a familiar standard for generations. The song has been recorded on over 200 singles and albums and by many famous singers, including Bing Crosby, Connie Francis, and Roger Whittaker.

Ireland and Wales Celtic neighbours separated by the Irish Sea, So how close exactly are we? well the Llyn Peninsula and the Wicklow mountains are only just over 31 miles apart.

Eryri (Snowdonia) to Howth is some 85 miles so the closeness is very real. With that closeness comes comes a fierce rivalry that goes back many decades.

That rivalry was reconvened yesterday in Cardiff in the opening match of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

With Warren Gatland back as Wales coach there were hopes for an upset against the Emerald Islanders who are currently number one in the World Rugby rankings.

The hope lasted for just under two minutes before the Irish unleashed a storm that their country’s Wild West coat would have been proud of. Tries for Doris and Ryan and the home side were 14 points adrift after just 10 minutes.

Wales were all at sea, leaking tries and longing for the safe haven of half time. A further James Lowe interception try and the boot of Sexton gave Ireland a 27-3 lead at the interval.

The men in red steadied the ship at the start of the second half with a Liam Williams try 5 minutes after the restart, but their continued indiscipline and line out inaccuracy scuppered the many chances they created.

Ireland had the last word with a Josh Van Der Flier try in the 73rd minute to give all those smiling eyes a bonus point win.

Welsh eyes will be red and baggy this morning as they find their team caught in a generation gap, the old guard are sadly nearing the end and the few bright lights that shone for Wales yesterday were the emerging youngsters. Joe Hawkins, Rio Dyer and Louis Rees Zammit, when fit, are exciting backs to light up the current gloom.

Murrayfield beckons and a Scottish side that will have their tails up. These are difficult days for Welsh rugby on and off the field.

As the audience of 73,931 filtered out of the Principality Stadium there was a eerie quiet in Westgate Street, a stark realisation that there is a lot of rebuilding to be done, and that the prospect of being sent a home tae think again next weekend may well be on the cards.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s