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Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?

Cruiser 04 Dec 03 - 12:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Dec 03 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Philippa 04 Dec 03 - 03:21 PM
MBSLynne 04 Dec 03 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 04 Dec 03 - 04:24 PM
TheBigPinkLad 04 Dec 03 - 04:29 PM
CapriUni 04 Dec 03 - 04:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Dec 03 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,Annegi 04 Dec 03 - 04:44 PM
mack/misophist 04 Dec 03 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 04 Dec 03 - 04:49 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 04 Dec 03 - 07:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Dec 03 - 08:39 PM
mg 04 Dec 03 - 09:00 PM
Brakn 05 Dec 03 - 04:36 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Dec 03 - 06:03 AM
ard mhacha 05 Dec 03 - 06:52 AM
The O'Meara 05 Dec 03 - 08:10 AM
Fiolar 05 Dec 03 - 08:32 AM
Cluin 05 Dec 03 - 08:58 AM
mooman 05 Dec 03 - 10:06 AM
PoppaGator 05 Dec 03 - 05:05 PM
hobbitwoman 05 Dec 03 - 09:38 PM
LadyJean 06 Dec 03 - 12:04 AM
GUEST 06 Dec 03 - 09:08 AM
ard mhacha 06 Dec 03 - 01:14 PM
GUEST 06 Dec 03 - 01:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Dec 03 - 03:14 PM
Dave the Gnome 06 Dec 03 - 03:18 PM
hobbitwoman 06 Dec 03 - 11:02 PM
Fiolar 07 Dec 03 - 08:35 AM
mooman 07 Dec 03 - 09:59 AM
ard mhacha 07 Dec 03 - 12:15 PM
ard mhacha 07 Dec 03 - 04:00 PM
Glen Reid 07 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM
mg 08 Dec 03 - 12:16 AM
ard mhacha 08 Dec 03 - 03:54 AM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Dec 03 - 04:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Dec 03 - 04:40 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 08 Dec 03 - 12:36 PM
PoppaGator 08 Dec 03 - 01:27 PM
ard mhacha 08 Dec 03 - 02:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Dec 03 - 03:24 PM
The O'Meara 09 Dec 03 - 08:31 AM
PoppaGator 09 Dec 03 - 10:56 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Dec 03 - 12:43 PM
ard mhacha 09 Dec 03 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,twlord 09 Dec 03 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,mimi 10 Dec 03 - 12:01 AM
Fiolar 10 Dec 03 - 09:48 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Cruiser
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 12:47 PM

I did a search here on Mudcat and found many interesting references to the term Black Irish. The relevant threads are often hidden in other messages (as thread-creep) so I thought I would try to consolidate some opinions, if not unanimity, of the term's derivation here, if possible.

There are several excellent posts, one at:

0.7742 - Thread - Message - RE: ??Who WAS the 'Brown Girl' - Feb 8 2000 4:12PM -   McGrath of Harlow

A good Link From Wolfgang @:

One long explanation:

Black Irish

The derivations vary from hair color, mood, potato famine, etc., to ethnicity.

So, is there a Mudcatter consensus (not asking much, huh?) on the meaning of the term Black Irish or are it's etymologies forever obscured, as with so many other terms, phrases, and songs?

Cruiser


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 02:59 PM

Kipling used the term in "Soldiers Three," 1888: Those are the black Oirish and 'tis they that bring dishgrace upon the name of Oireland."
More recently, J. B. Priestly said "He was a black Irish type, with centuries of rebelliousness behind him."

The Oxford English Dictionary defines black Irish as Irish of Mediterranean appearance (This was the definition in the Irish section of my family).

I was told by an Ulsterman that it applied to the Catholics.

Lace-curtain Irish?
Shanty Irish ?
Bog Irish?
Nylon-curtain Irish ? Relatively new, applied in U. S.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 03:21 PM

I once came across a book called the "Black Irish of Jamaica", so to me "Black Irish" are people with dark skin and both Irish and African ancestry. (I suppose we all have African ancestry, but I don't mean as far back as that ...)

so there goes consensus even on the meaning of the term!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: MBSLynne
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 03:53 PM

When I've read the term the context has always led me to believe it meant black-haired. I've heard it used to distinguish one set of Irish from the "Red Irish". I guess in these references it means the Irish of different ancestral origin.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 04:24 PM

In my family the "Black" referred to hair color. Usually included pale skin & blue eyes, like my mother.

clint


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 04:29 PM

I'd like to hear what one of our Irish-speaking bretheren has to say about the word 'dubh' and if it has any connection.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: CapriUni
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 04:36 PM

I always understood the term to mean those Irish folks with dark or black hair, as well, and a slightly darker complexion than the red-headed Irish (Light tan, rather than pink-white)... but neither of African nor of Mediterranean descent, which are some of the theories explored in the link above.

According to my mother (I think she's the one who introduced me to the term... she's 13 years dead, so I can't double-check -- and I'm not sure where the information came from, in any case), they are descendants of the ancient Celts who inhabited the islands before the fairer-complexioned Norse invaded and set up trading posts in the southeast.

The article above was the first place I'd seen the "Survivors of the Spanish Armada" theory. As someone who's dabbled a bit into Irish mytholothy, however, I recognize the Spanish from "The Book of Invasions," which was a mix of history, legend and mythology compiled by monks in the 12th century. According to this "Book", the Tuatha de Danaan, a god-like people who helped shape the landscape of Ireland, came to Ireland by way of Spain (the monks were redacting Irish myth to fit it into Biblical and political history) -- certainly a lot earlier than the Spanish Armada! The Tuatha later built and retreated into the "fairy mounds" when they lost the battle with humans over control of the land (they survive today as the "fairies" or "Fair Folk" in more recent folklore).

Now, it's just my hunch, but if this "survivor of the Spanish Armada" does stem from an imperfect memory of a small detail in a 12th century text, it might lend support to the idea that the "Black (haired) Irish" are indeed descendents of early natives of the islands.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 04:44 PM

It means different things. When it's referring to hair colour (which is probably the nost common sense, historically anyway) it'd mean the sort of jet-black hair colouring you see sometimes, which tends to go with a skin that looks paler, if anything - possibly an optical illusion because of the contrast.

But it'd equally be used in a different sense to refer to a fierce kind of person, not so much a flaring up sort of anger, but rather the unrelenting kind.

And then more recently it's used in the same sense as in Black American or Black British, to mean people with some Afro-Caribbean ancestry.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,Annegi
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 04:44 PM

My grandfather cam fromConnemara and it was always thought in my family that the term came from the Spaniards, part the Armada, shipwrecked on their journey home - going round the west of Ireland. A name in our family is De Lapp was said to have derived from these ancestors. All of our family are the black haired variety!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 04:48 PM

My grandmother was from Dublin. She used 'Black Irish' to refer to native Irish whose ancestors came from elsewhere. I know a man from County Clare who uses it to refer to Irish with a mediterranean complection. And I've seen several other usages in print. In other words, I don't believe there is as concensus, except perhaps locally.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 04:49 PM

some have postulated it goes back farther than the Armada to the Ibero-Celts who came to Ireland and displaced the Tuatha de Danaan already here. always meant black hair, blues eyes and fair skin to describe a type of Irish features, as opposed to freckled red or strawberry blond folk.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 07:11 PM

Bill, that describes my mother exactly and she always referred to herself as Black Irish- and told the Spanish Armada story!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 08:39 PM

Mediterranean as a 'racial' type no longer has much meaning, but in the first half of the 20th century it also meant dolichocephalic head shape (on the long side, front to back measurement visibly longer than from side to side, cephalic index less than 75), usually long face, rather broad nose, dark brown or black hair, slender form, medium height, finer bone structure than central Europeans, and less trouble with ingrown toenails among other things. (I have just roughly described myself; Mediterranean from two sources, Spanish and black Irish, from three of four sets of grandparents).

These ideas came into disrepute and became politically incorrect as a result of Hitler elevating the Nordic race to the top of the heap.
Forensic anthropologists still measure these characteristics but do not to refer to them as 'racial' as was done before WW2. DNA nowadays has refined their methods.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: mg
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 09:00 PM

I always heard the Spanish Armada theory. You wouldn't know it by looking at me, because I take after my mother's Welsh side of the family, but I am descended from the black Irish..I think it just means they have the black curly hair. mg


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Brakn
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 04:36 AM

I've only ever heard the word black used to describe Orangemen in the North. If you were in a black area it would be staunch Protestant.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 06:03 AM

"Black Protestant" - now that's similar to the second meaning I gave, to do with being "a fierce kind of person, not so much a flaring up sort of anger, but rather the unrelenting kind". But unjustifiably extended to cover a whole group in this case.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 06:52 AM

Never ever used in this north-east part of Ireland, various large clans like the Laverys used Ban [fair] and Rua [red] along with a large assortment of nicknames, to distinguish families in the Clan, I never heard Dubh used. Ard Mhacha..


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: The O'Meara
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 08:10 AM

My father and grandfather and grandmother were black-haired blue-eyed folk, and were called Black Irish by the St.Paul MN Irish community. (Grandfather came over from Tipperary). My mother was ginger-haired Norwegian/Irish. I turned out to be stereotypicaly red haired, Green eyed, and fishbelly white skinned.

Um...what were we talking about again now?

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Fiolar
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 08:32 AM

I always understood that "black Irish" was used in relation to hair colour, creamy white skin and blue eyes as distinct from the red-haired, usually green-eyed and freckled skin folk. "Dubh" in Irish when used in relation to people usually means "dark-haired" as in the songs "Bean Dubh a' Gleanna" (the Dark-Haired Woman of the Glen) and "An Buachaill Caol Dubh" (the Dark-Haired slender boy). Likewise "Rua" rather "dearg" refers to "red-haired" as in "Bean an Fir Rua" (The Red-Haired Man's Wife).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Cluin
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 08:58 AM

`Tis all a fierce pile of bog.

Black Irish refers to a particular beverage.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: mooman
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 10:06 AM

My family were sometimes referred to as "Black Irish". Indeed, a large part of the family is descended from Spanish armada survivors very close to the west coast in Sligo and a great many of my relatives (including my mother and several of her brothers and sisters) retained strong, sallow Southern Spanish looks with brown eyes and black hair. I used to have the black hair (see old photo in photos section!) and the brown eyes but otherwise have the more typical Irish skin type and colour (i.e. I cannot go out in the sun at all!).

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 05:05 PM

My father's parents came to the US from County Mayo. The explanation I've always heard from that side of my family is that the "Black Irish" -- black-haired, with eyes and complexions that may or may not be darker than those of other Irish -- were descendants of Spanish sailors who found refuge and sympathy in Irish port cities during various conflicts between Catholic Spain and Protestant England, especially during the 16th & 17th centuries.

I find this theory pretty persuasive. It may have been my imagination, but during my recent first-time-ever, only-one-week-long visit to Ireland, I'm sure that I noticed more locals conforming to this physical description in Galway city (an important port in post-Reformation times) than anywhere in the nearby, more rural, areas of the West of Ireland that we visited. I was especially taken back to observe many of these semi-Mediterranean-looking types speaking Irish!

I'd be willing to bet that there are also plenty of Spanish/Irish-looking natives of Cork.

Of course, the same two words "Black Irish" can also be logically applied to people of part-Irish/part-African ancestry, or to Irish residents/citizens of any African or part-African genetic heritage. There are probably many more such folks than many would imagine.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: hobbitwoman
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 09:38 PM

In our family black Irish was always understood to mean those descended from the Spaniards and the Normans, with black or dark hair. I have light skin and blue eyes, and I used to have dark hair as well, but oddly enough, the older I get the redder it gets! ;o) Go figure!!

My maiden name was Browne... and as far as I know my dad's people come from Sligo and my mom's from Mayo. We believe the Brownes were originally De Bruns who came to Ireland during the Norman invasion.

Unfortunately I'm not related to any Brownes who ever made any money - like Jackson or Sylvia!

Annie


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: LadyJean
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 12:04 AM

I inherited my father's black hair and dark complexion. (I remember as a child, on the playground of a lily white prep school, being asked if I was African American.) I was told that I was black Irish, and a descendent of the Spanish Armada.
I have read enough about the Armada, in part because of what my parents told me, to know that it wasn't true.
I saw a bust of a Roman general once. I don't remember the guy's name, but he could have been my father's twin.
Dad was Irish Protestant, not Italian.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 09:08 AM

Hobbitwoman ,Have you checked out whether you might be connected to Admiral William Browne ,a native of Foxford Co Mayo and founder of the Argentine navy?
Sorry for the thread creep


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 01:14 PM

There where few if any survivors from the Armada, those that did make it ashore were killed by the natives, Sir Richard Bingham Governor of Connaught had any natives executed who gave refuge to the Spanish.
The only known Spaniards who were ransomed were Don Luis de Cordova and his nephew this after a long negotiation.

Captain Francisco Cuellar after many narrow escapes, made his way to Scotland
[aided by Irish Chieftains McClancy, O Rourke, and O Neill].

Cuellar eventually made it back to Spain, he being the only one who lived to tell the tale.

Only in North-West Ireland, where the Irish Chieftains had retained some independence of English rule, did those hapless Spaniards receive some shelter.
In Mayo, Galway, Clare and Kerry, the Irish were so fearful of their English overlords that no aid was given to the exhausted survivors.

An English offical recorded, "Spaniards drowned 5,600, Spaniards slain and executed 1,000.

The people on this thread should look elsewhere as for the reason for their dark complexions, certainly it has nothing to do with any of the poor wretches that met such a terrible fate along Ireland`s western shore. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 01:21 PM

I've seen a reference recently (was it in a book review in last weekend's newspaper? -- I only ever buy a paper on Saturday) which suggested that the Armada theory was unlikely. Not that there are no Irish with Spanish ancestry, but that it's much more likely to be the result of Spanish/Irish trade than the Armada.

My wife has always claimed Armada-Spanish-Irish descent through her father, surnamed Dyas (ex Diaz?); when I pointed out the article to her, she merely shrugged.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 03:14 PM

It seems much more likely that most Spanish-Irish ancestors would be from trade links and so forth over the past few thousand years rather than that unpleasant business in 1588.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 03:18 PM

Just to throw a Spaniard in the works (pun intended). Ever seen a peat bog? I hadn't heard the term but the thing that instantly sprang to mind was the black mud of a peat bog. Could it not be as simple as black = bog? So black Irish could be the same as bog Irish?

Just a thought...

DtG


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: hobbitwoman
Date: 06 Dec 03 - 11:02 PM

No, Guest, I haven't - but it could be interesting! As far as I know - and I'm taking this on my sister's word, as she's the one who did the research - my dad's side of the family - the Brownes - came from Co. Sligo. My mom's people were from Mayo.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Fiolar
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 08:35 AM

Sorry Dave. Not all peat is black. Quite a fair amount of it is dark brown especially near the surface. It's only really black when you go fairly deep. The appelation "Bog Irish" was only ever meant as an insult. Very few Irish, if any, ever lived in a bog, which was only used as a source of fuel bearing in mind that coal mines as such are few and far between in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: mooman
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 09:59 AM

Certainty is something you cannot assert on this subject Ard Mhacha! There is evidence to the contrary, certainly in the NW part of Ireland my family is from. As others have pointed out, there were centuries of trade between West of Ireland seaports and the Iberian penisular as well.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 12:15 PM

Thre was trade between all of the European countries and it is possible that there was plenty of lusty sailors doing there own form of trading.
I was always amazed on my visits to my US relations to hear them assert there swarthy complexions on the Spanish Armada, it didn`t matter to them that the Spanish ships went down a long way from Armagh.                                                            They were not alone in this as I found most citizens of the US kept telling me of their native american ancestory,there were not pleased when I told them they should have gone easy on the hamburgers, romancing instead of looking at the true picture seemed to be prevelant. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 04:00 PM

Further information on Google, type Ireland graveyard of the Spanish Armada by T.P. Kilfeather. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Glen Reid
Date: 07 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM

My fathers people came from the north of Ireland and reffered to themselves as Black Irish, they were also staunch Protestant.
Glen


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: mg
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 12:16 AM

well, well...I am from the black Irish on my father's side and have some Native American ancestry on my mother's..as do very many Americans. mg--------


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 03:54 AM

I have lived here in the north for wellover half a century and black was only used in a derogatory sense, referring to an RUC man as a black b, this had nothing to do with his looks, he could have been as fair as Ellen, and a black protestant referred to his bigotry.

All of this was far removed from the Spanish Armada, you have to laugh. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 04:12 AM

The term "the black North" to refer to the parts of Uster where there was Protestant hegemony dates back well before Partition. For example in this piece.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 04:40 AM

The quote in question from 1911 being: "Bunkum, friend Connolly; you are obsessed with an antipathy to Belfast and the black North..."

And here's another example from the same period (from a verse by Chesterton):

"The folk that live in black Belfast, their heart is in their mouth,
They see us making murders in the meadows of the South;
They think the plough's a rack, they do, and cattle calls are creeds,
And they think we're burnin' witches, when we're only burning weeds."


(And in both these cases the "black" may in fact refer to the smoky industrialised part of the North, as in the Black Country in England.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 12:36 PM

I'm a 55-year-old Irishman but never heard the term outside these Mudcat discussions!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 01:27 PM

I wonder if the brand name for that wonderful premium Bushmills whiskey, "Black Bush," comes from it's purportedly black-hearted Protestant legacy? (Yeah, I know, it's just a reference to the black label -- but why black?)

Despite my Catholic/Gaelic ancestry, I much prefer Bushmills to Jameson, and occasinally take some ribbing for my preference. (Tullamore Dew is my favorite distilled-in-the-Republic brand.)

I still believe the theory that Spanish sailors figure in the ancestry of those dark-haired "Black Irish." Even though there may not have been signifcant numbers of survivors from a particular final battle between the Armada and the English Crown, there was a long natural alliance between the Catholic Spanish establishment and the downtrodden people of Ireland, as well as plenty of trade through a number of ports including Cork and Galway. I don't believe for a minute that no children were begotten of any individual "alliances" between traveling Spaniards and Irishwomen.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 02:39 PM

Do you not realise An Pluimeir that living here has little sway with the members on this Site. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Dec 03 - 03:24 PM

Face up to it, you redheaded and blond Irish, there are too many of us Black Irish. We were there first and you were the newcomers!

Celtic languages are closely allied to the Italic dialects (language cousins under the skin- See Encyclopaedia Britannica). The Celts were a racially mixed group only sharing a common language by the time they got to the islands. Didn't they get to Rome and Spain as well as NW Europe? I don't think that they were celibate.

It is more likely that Roman soldiers contributed more of their genes to the population than Spanish sailors and traders did later. Not all were blonds from the north of the Roman Empire; probably many were from south of Rome and remember that they had soldiers from Iberia as well. Aren't Mediterranean peoples supposed to be more sexually active than northerners?

Hair color of the Picts in the pre-Druidical islands? No one knows! Shure and wouldn't you expect some of their genes survived?

Hmmm, I should start another fakelore website. Just a touch of history and a pot full of speculation are all that are needed to convince most people.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: The O'Meara
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 08:31 AM

Someone with a scientific background in DNA research could probably prove this one way or another, but I think (Gasp!) not that many people worldwide are interested in the answer.

I myself, however, am something of an authority on Bushmill's Irish whiskey (consumption thereof) and note that Black Bush is so called because the color of the whiskey itself is considerably darker than Bushmills other varieties.

So there!


O'Meara


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 10:56 AM

O'Meara (and other Bushmills* lovers):

In a Cieran Carson's delightful book about Irish (and particularly Ulster) folk music, "Last Night's Fun," there's a great story about the legendary player who left instructions to be buried in a white tuxedo jacket with a half-bottle of Bush in the inside breast pocket.

I'm not sure, but I think it was the regular stuff, neither the black label nor the extra-aged single malt.

(* No apostrophe -- the little town where the world's oldest distillery is located is named Bushmills, with the "s.")

The Henehan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 12:43 PM

Yes, the 'black bush' is fine. A mite expensive here (and I guess everywhere)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 02:03 PM

A final footnote on the black Irish myth, I do my daily couple of miles walk every day with old friends and just for the craic I suggested that a certain person of our knowing was "black Irish", it wasn`t so much of a conversation stopper as a walk stopper.
"What the hell do you mean" was the retort of one and all, so I informed them of the going ons on this Thread,it was met with disbelief, the verdict was that it was a US concept, definitely not in vogue in any part of the north. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,twlord
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 02:36 PM

Very interesting, the black Irish..I was born and raised in Ireland, my father's family the O'Malleys of Westport, Co.Mayo had jet black hair and blue eyes, he married my mother, an O'Sullivan from West Cork and we, the family ended up with fair hair and green/blue eyes..you wonder. Personally, I've heard all my life it was the Armada theory, however, as an historian and professional Irish folk singer, I aggree with the theory of hundreds of years of trade with Spain and the rest of the Meditterranean. You never hear it mentioned in Ireland..TWLORD


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,mimi
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 12:01 AM

You are all a bunch of wankers!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Fiolar
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 09:48 AM

PoppaGator's story reminds me of the story about the Scottish Laird who on his death bed was giving instruction to his gillie that when he died he wanted a bottle of the best Scotch poured on his grave. The gille response was to say "Would ye na mind, sir, if it passed through me first?"


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