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Total Votes : 8

197340.  Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:54 pm Reply with quote

There seems to have been talk indeed, but as far as I can tell, no more than that; I found references to such talk from 1999, and references to him still being a member in 2006, so I suspect he's still in.

Barry McStay
613098.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:42 pm Reply with quote

Regarding nobel laureates: - actually fails to list John Hume at all, in either the UK or Ireland list. It includes Trimble on the UK list. It includes Corrigan and Williams on both UK and Ireland lists, which is probably the best way to do it.

One of the first entries on this post was about words and phrases in Irish. Many of the Irish will know these, and others will too, but here are a couple more.
"Uisce beatha" is the Irish phrase for whiskey and translates directly as "The Water of Life" - no doubt, feeding our national stereotype!
"(Bheith) Ar mhuin na muice" means "(to be) on the pig's back" and is used when one is very happy, or more usually, experiencing good fortune. It is incorrectly accredited by as an Australian phrase. One should remember that a great many of the white Australians originally came from Ireland before exportation.
Some famous names who are occasionally assumed to be from elsewhere but who were born in Ireland include Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Richard Brinsley Sheridan (writers), Arthur Wellesley (The famous 1st Duke of Wellington), Michael Gambon, Pierce Brosnan, Richard Harris, Kenneth Branagh (all actors), Dean Swift (author of Gulliver's Travels), Robert Boyle (noted chemist), John Barry ("Father Of The American Navy"), Chaim Herzog (President of Israel 1983-1993), Ernest Shackleton (Antarctic Explorer), Lord Kitchener (of recruiting poster fame) and Bram Stoker (writer of Dracula). That is, of course, ignoring a great many more famous names numbered in the "Irish Diaspora" worldwide - sometimes estimated at around 70million.
Finally, a Quite Interesting Irishman is John Dunlap, born in 1747 in Strabane, Co. Tyrone. He would move to America and make his fortune in printing, starting with pamphlets and moving on to newspapers. He served under Washington in the American War Of Independence and would later found the first successful daily newspaper in America, the North American and United States Gazette.
However, his big moment - his QI moment - came in 1776 when he became the official printer to the Continental Congress. When the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was completed, it was passed on to Dunlap by John Hancock and he was ordered to make copies. Thus, the c.200 so-called "Dunlap Broadsides" which he printed during the night of July 4th 1776 are the first published copies of the American Declaration of Independence.

613289.  Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:37 am Reply with quote

Excellent post! Thank you Barry.

Barry McStay
613661.  Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:54 am Reply with quote

I thought I'd post about another Quite Interesting Irish person, namely, Typhoid Mary. For those who haven't heard of her, this unfortunate lady was the first identified healthy carrier of typhoid in the United States, responsible for the infection of as many as 53 people and the deaths of 3. She was something of a notorious figure in the early years of the 20th century as she carried on her work as a cook, denying her connection to the disease and being forcibly quarantined twice, eventually dying under quarantine conditions. Stephen actually makes a passing reference to her in an episode of Series 1 (I think Episode 7) in a question about ducks. I decided to do a little more research into her and this is what I came up with.
Firstly, typhoid is caused by Salmonella Typhi, bacilli found in human faeces and urine. Its symptoms include fever, intestinal discomfort, diarrhoea etc. More people died from diseases like typhoid during the American Civil War than died in the actual conflict itself. It is commonly spread in food or drink that has been contaminated by an infected person.
Mary Mallon was born in 1869 in Tyrone, emigrating to the United States in 1884. She lived relatively quietly - as far as researchers can find - until she began working as a cook in the New York region from 1900 until 1907. It is possible she had been born with typhoid, but it seems that many now suspect she developed the disease and recovered. Whatever the case, she left a trail of sick people behind her in each of the seven households in which she worked during these years: The laundress of a Manhatten family died in 1901, she infected as many as 7 of 8 members of another family and in autumn of 1906, the wife, two daughters, two maids and the gardener of banker Charles Henry Warren were all struck down with the disease.
Warren called on the services of a typhoid researcher, George Soper. Typhoid was uncommon among the wealthier classes, so Soper realised the carrier was probably a servant, and he hit upon the common thread of Mallon in a series of typhoid cases dating back to the turn of the century. He tracked her down to the home of Walter Brown in March 1907. He approached Mallon at work, asking her for urine samples. Her reaction is described by him thus:
I had my first talk with Mary in the kitchen of this house. . . . I was as diplomatic as possible, but I had to say I suspected her of making people sick and that I wanted specimens of her urine, feces and blood. It did not take Mary long to react to this suggestion. She seized a carving fork and advanced in my direction. I passed rapidly down the long narrow hall, through the tall iron gate, . . . and so to the sidewalk. I felt rather lucky to escape.
Mary again dismissed Soper when he met her at her home. It is suggested that he may have treated an immigrant worker like Mary rather disdainfully, and she cannot have been happy with the accusations being levelled at her, especially given her apparent good health. Finally, he published his hypothesis in the Journal of the American Medical Association (15th June 1907) and passed on his information to public health officials. Dr. Sara Josephine Baker was sent to talk to Mary but she again denied vehemently any notions of her transmitting the disease. Baker returned several days later accompanied by an ambulance and the police.
Mary was on the lookout and peered out, a long kitchen fork in her hand like a rapier. As she lunged at me with the fork, I stepped back, recoiled on the policeman and so confused matters that, by the time we got through the door, Mary had disappeared. 'Disappear' is too matter-of-fact a word; she had completely vanished.
They eventually found Mary in a cupboard of her neighbour's house:
She came out fighting and swearing, both of which she could do with appalling efficiency and vigor. I made another effort to talk to her sensibly and asked her again to let me have the specimens, but it was of no use. By that time she was convinced that the law was wantonly persecuting her, when she had done nothing wrong. She knew she had never had typhoid fever; she was maniacal in her integrity. There was nothing I could do but take her with us. The policemen lifted her into the ambulance and I literally sat on her all the way to the hospital; it was like being in a cage with an angry lion.
Held under Sections 1169 and 1170 of the Greater New York Charter, Mary was kept first in a hospital and later under a type of house-arrest in a cottage on North Brother Island. During her time there, she became well known largely thanks to a famous cartoon in "The New York American" dubbing her "Typhoid Mary" in June 1909 ( The Health Department tested her stool regularly for typhoid, coming back positive with 120 of 163 samples. Mary however had a private lab test her and always came back negative. She attempted unsuccessfully to sue the health department:
This contention that I am a perpetual menace in the spread of typhoid germs is not true. My own doctors say I have no typhoid germs. I am an innocent human being. I have committed no crime and I am treated like an outcast -- a criminal. It is unjust, outrageous, uncivilized. It seems incredible that in a Christian community a defenseless woman can be treated in this manner.
In February 1910 a new health chief gave Mary her freedom in return for an affidavit that she would no longer work as a cook. However, the lower wages of a laundress soon led Mary to change her name to Mary Brown and return to cooking. It is not known whether she did so as soon as she was released of later. Eventually she was discovered when a typhoid outbreak hit the Sloane Maternity Hospital where she was working in 1915. Public opinion, which had been mildly sympathetic to her plight during her first quarantine, was wildly turned against her when it emerged that she had knowingly infected many more people (25 at the hospital, with 2 deaths) despite the warnings she had been given. The following is an interesting site with arguments about Mary's plight and reasons for returning to her original profession:
Mary was quarantined again on North Brother Island. She was something of a celebrity, conducting interviews with journalists. She came to accept her fate, eventually working in the hospital on the island under the title of "nurse" and later "hospital helper" before finding her way to the laboratory. In 1932 she suffered a stroke which left her paralysed for the rest of her life. She spent her remaining years in a bed in the children's ward, dying on November 11th 1938.
Mary was not the only healthy typhoid carrier identified at this time, although she was the first and most infamous. She was also not the most "effective", for want of a better phrase: Tony Labella, an Italian, caused over 100 infections and 5 deaths. However, she has entered into the cultural memory and the term Typhoid Mary is now used to describe healthy carriers of dangerous disease, as well as unwitting - or careless - people who spread malicious computer malware and viruses.
(Quotes in Italics taken from:


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