On St. Patrick's Day (March 17) 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 St.Patrick's Day he returned to the same venue to attended a patriotic gathering, one of several events held that day in St. Paul, a city with a large Irish population, to observe the occasion. Despite inclement weather, the Opera House was full for a series of addresses 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 some 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.
Daily Globe (St. Paul) March 18, 1882, 1
Opposite is a portion of the local newspaper review of the event.