The word craic, is taken to mean some good-natured high jinks, a bit of drinking and some tom-foolery. It is believed to have first been used as recently as 1968 in a newspaper ad and is actually the Celticization of the word “crack” specifically to make the word more Irish in origin. (Any of my Irish readers, please feel free to correct me or add in any information you might have.) The crack is not specific to Ireland, but rather includes Scotland and England as well, but most folk think the Irish are the only ones who indulge in it.
A big element of the “craic” is the telling of jokes. It seems, no one likes a good joke like the Irish. No. Really. They don’t! I’m not saying Irish jokes are the funniest ever written or told, but they are true to the Irish sensibility.
Every St. Paddy’s Day in the Davison household, we would drag out this green and white Irish joke book with the black print on the cover. One time, after dinner, my mother and father and Kevin and I were celebrating as we were wont to do on the day. We’d had some Irish coffees earlier on, a few glasses of wine in the Waterford crystal glasses that my dad’s niece, Patricia had brought over as a gift, and a bit of the Bailey’s, I fancy as well. Out came the joke book and Lord have mercy, if it wasn’t the funniest thing ever put to paper on that occasion! One joke in particular tickled our fancies, so much so that my dad was given to his typical choking and tears streaming from his eyes as he mulled the joke over repeatedly in his head. We decided it was definitely our very favourite joke of all time from that book and determined that each and every year we would read it aloud and giggle and guffaw over it. Only problem is, every year the same thing happens and we cannot find the joke in that book to save our lives! Someone always says, we must write down the page number, or mark it or something, but we NEVER do! And so, come the 17th, we find ourselves flipping the book’s pages, frantically trying to discover THAT particular joke. After what seems like ages, lots of sharing of other jokes and much passing back and forth of the book, inevitably someone strikes upon it, reads it out and by this time, our high has worn off and the joke fizzles out. It’s as if we were never meant to recapture that first moment of glee when we found it many years ago.
Now, I’m going to try and find the book and the joke so I can share it with you and see what you think about it. Bear in mind it’s meant to be a bit of fun, nothing serious and the subject matter though, in some circles might be taken badly, should only be seen for what it is: a JOKE!
A bit of warning about Irish humour: Irish jokes usually involve someone being the “butt” – typically Flanagan or Slattery or some such obviously Irish name. Particular regions of Ireland are often made fun of too much like we in Canada make fun of Newfoundlanders, or “Newfies” as we like to call them. Think of them as the Blonde Jokes of the Emerald Isle. Irish jokes are ever so much funnier when you’ve had a pint or two or three, or better still a bit of the “juice of the barley”.
The Joke (located on page 38, yesterday):
Although they were amateurs the Wexford farmer took a chance and lent them two guns and three dogs. Half- an-hour later they were back.
“What do you want?” he asked, “More ammunition?”
“Oh, no. More dogs.”
(As you all know, I am a serious animal lover and would not harm a flea, so I must have been 3 sheets-to-the-wind to find this as hysterical as I did.)
Here’s one my dad had marked in red in the book and I think this one’s funnier still.
“If you feed hens different foods it will effect the eggs,” explained the Agricultural adviser to the farmer.
“I know that, replied Flaherty; “a cousin of mine in America fed his hens sawdust and when the eggs were hatched six of the chickens had wooden legs and four of them were woodpeckers.”
And there you have it, a taste of real Irish humour. Ha ha ha!