Mudcat Café message #2187316 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #64952   Message #2187316
Posted By: Declan
06-Nov-07 - 03:39 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
Just read through most of this thread.

As with the other Irish people who have contributed over the years, I was unaware of the term Black Irish until reading the threads on here.

Ireland has had various "invaders" over the years who have been assimilated into the native population and became "More Irish than the Irish themselves".

As with most other nationalities any talk of "racial purity" is simply dangerous nonsense. Film maker Bob Quinn made a film called "Atlantean" (in the '70s I think). In it he sought to question the consensus that the Irish are mostly of Celtic origin. There is little doubt that Gaelic is a celtic based language, but this is a cultural rather than a racial thing.

He cited sailors coming from Iberia, and further south (e.g. Morocco) as a possible source of the dark sallow skinned people to be found on the western seaboard. These were not from the Spanish Armada per se but part of trading links that would have existed between the areas. I'm not sure to what extent he would have felt he proved his thesis. He was mainly making the point that it was as plausible as the Celtic 'mythology' which mainly grew out of romantic notions in the late years of the 19th century. The term Atlantean was to refer to people who travelled to Ireland via the Atlantic rather than anything to do with Atlantis as far as I know.

Among his theories was that the Bodhran resembled closely a drum which was in use by the Berber people in North Africa. Certainlyh an import we could have done without ;~) Also in another of Bob Quinn's films "Poitin", when one of the characters turns on the radio some North African music comes out. Quinn put this in - mischievously I think, to see if anyone would notice.

The norse invaders (Danes/Vikings) were known as Dubh Ghaill (Dark foreigners) and Fionn Ghaill (Fair foreigners). These terms live on in various place names such as Fingal - North county Dublin and Baldoyle (Baile Dubh Ghaill) to the north east of Dublin. I heard someone assert on the radio recently that red hair was unknown in Ireland prior to the vikings, but I don't know whether they had any proof of this.