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The Strange Sayings of Sir Boyle Roche
Mr Speaker, I smell a rat; I see him forming in the air and darkening the sky; but I will nip him in the bud.
It was sentences like these that made Sir Boyle Roche famous in his day. Long after his death, many of these sayings are still remembered.
Sir Boyle Roche
Born in 1743, Sir Boyle Roche1 became the Member of Parliament for Tralee, County Kerry in the Irish House of Commons. His striking but incoherent images became famous. More seriously, he played a part in Irish history by opposing Catholic emancipation. When the Act of Union was passed in 1801, abolishing the old Irish Parliament, he did not become an MP at Westminster. He died in 1807.
Most of Sir Boyle Roche's more famous blunders were in speeches to the Irish House of Commons. In his speeches, he supported the Act of Union with Britain, and was deeply suspicious of any political ideas inspired by the French Revolution. A few of his sayings are remembered from letters to friends.
The Irish Bull
This type of confused figure of speech became known as an Irish Bull. Dr John Mahaffy (the great 19th Century scholar of Trinity College Dublin) said that 'An Irish Bull is always pregnant'. Irish Bulls can still be spotted occasionally, especially in the speeches of politicians.
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