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.