The reference to Thomas Crapper, inventor of the flushing toilet, by Dermot Ryan (Letters, September 25) reminded me of a quite pertinent quote by James Augustine Aloysius Joyce. While we often think of Joyce as being harsh on his fellow countrymen, he could also paint us in a favourable light, particularly in comparison with our neighbours across the Irish Sea.
''And in spite of everything, Ireland remains the brain of the Kingdom. The English, judiciously practical and ponderous, furnish the over-stuffed stomach of humanity with a perfect gadget -- the water closet (the present-day toilet). The Irish, condemned to express themselves in a language not their own, have stamped on it the mark of their own genius and compete for glory with the civilised nations. This is then called English literature.''
Going to the loo will never seem quite the same again!