St. Patrick’s Day, 1882

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“A Pride I Cannot Properly Acknowledge”


On St. Patrick’s Day 1882, during his lecture tour of north America, Oscar Wilde happened to be in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He had lectured the previous evening at the Opera House on The Decorative Arts, and, on the following evening, he returned to the same venue to attended a St.Patrick’s Day gathering. St. Paul was a city with a large Irish population and the event was one of several held that day to observe the occasion.

Despite inclement weather, the Opera House was full for a series of addresses on an Irish theme interspersed with vocal and instrumental selections. Towards the end of proceedings, Wilde was called upon to say a few impromptu words.

Clearly moved by the Irish sentiment abroad, and the favorable mention of his mother’s (Speranza) nationalistic poetry, he gave what can now be seen as a rare, and perhaps even uncharacteristic, speech about Irish patriotism—albeit from the perspective of the Arts.

Here is a review of Wilde’s appearance at the event taken from Daily Globe (St. Paul), of March 18, 1882, page 1.

Wilde-In-St-Paul-1 copy
Wilde-In-St-Paul-2 copy
Wilde-In-St-Paul-3 copy


Oscar Wilde’s lecture in San Francisco on Irish Poets.

3 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Day, 1882

  1. Ever ready to finda kindred spirit on such a day when St. Patrick’s ideas are recalled as having permeated into Germany as well at an early period, I find this impromptu speech mady by Wilde 121 years ago not only pertinent. Also, it was full of foresight, in particular as since Brexit it is the Irish alone in Europe that keep up the flag of Anglophone cultures in the context of the European Union.

    Liked by 1 person

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