13 March 2009

THE ARTS: 17 Questions About Irish Arts for St. Patrick's Day

Credit the Blarney Stone, a lively pub life or all that romantic mist: The Irish tend toward expression. Given the diminutive size of the Emerald Island, perhaps no other nation is a larger powerhouse when it comes to gifting the world with art--particularly music and literature. ‘Tis the test of your knowledge of the influence of the Irish imagination.

1. Enya originally sang with this band:
a) The Commitments
b) MacNamara's Band
c) Clannad
d) Black Velvet Band

2. The following Irishmen won the Nobel Prize for Literature:
a) Samuel Beckett
b) Seamus Heaney
c) George Bernard Shaw
d) William Butler Yeats
e) All of the above

3. This Irish actor was nominated for an Academy Award for his first film role and received four subsequent Oscar nominations:
a) George Clooney
b) Mickey Rooney
c) Andy Rooney
d) Peter O’Toole

4. Van Morrison launched his career as lead singer for this Irish band:
a) U2
b) Them
c) The Commitments
d) The Shamrocks

5. This singer/songwriter wrote the song “I Would Bring You Ireland” in gratitude for hospitality extended on the Emerald Isle to her and her band, the Blue Moon Orchestra:
a) Rosemary Clooney
b) Sinead O’Connor
c) Loreena McKennitt
d) Nancy Griffith

6. Although Irish, this actor plays James Bond, the quintessential Englishman:
a) Sean Connery
b) Roger Moore
c) Timothy Dalton
d) Pierce Brosnan

7. One of these men is not counted among great Irish tenors:
a) Frank Patterson
b) Dennis Day
c) James Galway
d) John McCormack

8. The following artists have recorded with Ireland’s preeminent traditional band, The Chieftains:
a) Marianne Faithful
b) Jackson Browne
c) Elvis Costello
d) Rickie Lee Jones
e) All of the above

9. The writer and wit Oscar Wilde’s full name was:
a) Oscar Guinness Stout Wilde
b) Oscar Flannigan Maddigan Milligan Wilde
c) Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde
d) Oscar Jonathan Swift Wilde

10. An Irish rock band that recorded “Zombie,” “I Can’t Be With You” and “Yeats’ Grave” takes their name from the following fruit:
a) The Raspberries
b) The Strawberries
c) The Loganberries
d) The Cranberries

11) For his performance in “My Left Foot,”--a film about the Christy Brown, a Dubliner afflicted with cerebral palsy who wrote with his left foot--this actor won a Best Actor Oscar:
a) Carroll O’Connor
b) Daniel Day-Lewis
c) Mickey Rourke
d) Eugene O’Neill

12. This Irish band’s signature song was “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” a song about violent strife in Northern Ireland:
a) The Irish Rovers
b) The Boom Town Rats
c) The Screaming Banshees
d) The Clancy Brothers

13. This Irish rocker was knighted for his humanitarian efforts after he played an instrumental role in organizing Band Aid for Ethiopian famine victims:
a) Sir Bob Geldolf
b) Sir Paul McCartney
c) Sir John Gielgud
d) Sir Elton John

14. This Irish chanteuse with the shaved head and strident politics landed the #16 spot on the Rolling Stones/MTV list of top 100 pop songs for her cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U”:
a) Flannery O’Connor
b) Sinead O’Connor
c) Sandra Day O’Connor
d) Georgia O’Keefe

15. This year, this Irish band performed at the Super Bowl and subsequently won four Grammys:
a) The Black and Tans
b) U2
c) St. Brendan and the Navigators
d) The Dead Kennedys

16. Irish monks, whom some credit with salvaging Western Civilization during the Dark Ages, lavishly illuminated this manuscript when? kept in the library of Trinity College in Dublin:
a) The Book of Kells
b) The Book of Bells
c) The Book of Shells
d) The Book of Wells

17. These were the original colors of Ireland:
a) Black and tan
b) Green and orange
c) Green and white
d) Saffron and blue

ANSWERS: 1 c; 2 e; 3 d; 4 b; 5 d; 6 d; 7 c; 8 e; 9 c; 10 d; 11 b ;12 b; 13 a ; 14 b; 15 b ; 16 a ; 17 d

This quiz appeared originally appeared in March 2002 in The Denver Post in slightly different form under the headline “Big Contributions from a Tiny Island.”


  1. All I know is that Sean Connery is Scottish....

  2. Right, and the Scotts, the Irish and the Welsh form the Celts. Why is it we say "Celts" with a hard "C" except when talking about the NBA team, the Celtics, with a soft "C"?


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