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Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?

TheBigPinkLad 02 May 05 - 04:11 PM
Swave N. Deboner 02 May 05 - 08:03 AM
Mrrzy 01 May 05 - 05:19 PM
GUEST 01 May 05 - 02:59 PM
Cruiser 18 Dec 04 - 10:56 AM
HuwG 15 Dec 04 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,Guest 14 Dec 04 - 10:36 PM
GUEST 14 Dec 04 - 01:30 PM
ard mhacha 14 Dec 04 - 03:52 AM
HuwG 13 Dec 04 - 05:19 AM
dianavan 12 Dec 04 - 03:32 PM
GUEST 12 Dec 04 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,JTT 12 Dec 04 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,JTT 12 Dec 04 - 05:05 AM
GUEST 11 Dec 04 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,JTT 11 Dec 04 - 04:39 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 04 - 03:55 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 04 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,JTT 11 Dec 04 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,None of the above again 11 Dec 04 - 02:17 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 04 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,JTT 11 Dec 04 - 01:56 PM
number 6 11 Dec 04 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,None of the above 11 Dec 04 - 12:53 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 04 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,None of the above again 11 Dec 04 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,None of the above guests 11 Dec 04 - 12:01 PM
ard mhacha 11 Dec 04 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,JTT 11 Dec 04 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,Lighter at work 11 Dec 04 - 09:56 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Dec 04 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,JTT 10 Dec 04 - 03:45 PM
Grab 09 Dec 04 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,David Ingerson 09 Dec 04 - 05:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Dec 04 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,JTT 09 Dec 04 - 03:11 PM
MartinRyan 09 Dec 04 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,An Cat Breac 09 Dec 04 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Learaí na Láibe 10 Sep 04 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,guest 10 Sep 04 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Guest 08 Jul 04 - 11:01 AM
GUEST 08 Jun 04 - 08:23 AM
GUEST 07 Jun 04 - 09:57 AM
hobbitwoman 11 Dec 03 - 10:36 PM
ard mhacha 11 Dec 03 - 02:04 PM
Fiolar 11 Dec 03 - 09:18 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Dec 03 - 11:49 AM
ard mhacha 10 Dec 03 - 11:13 AM
GUEST 10 Dec 03 - 10:21 AM
Fiolar 10 Dec 03 - 09:48 AM
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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 02 May 05 - 04:11 PM

This thread is excellent evidence of the reluctance of people to give up their myths in the face of sound evidence to the contrary.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Swave N. Deboner
Date: 02 May 05 - 08:03 AM

This thread caught my eye earlier this morning. Irish is predominant in my family "mix", and I was always told that we were "Black" or "Dark" Irish. My granny came from County Cork. She would say the Dark Irish were Gypsies, commonly called "Tinks (Tinkers)", and "Travelers." I've no idea, really, but the Spanish Armada connection makes sense to me. Anyway, I wanted to share something I came across just a few minutes ago while surfing the web researching Black Irish.

check out this folk group

I'd never heard Stone Cross till just now. Note the reference to the Spanish theory in the introduction of their new CD, "Dark Irish"

Nice sound. Pardon the slight thread creep, but I thought they deserve a plug.

SND


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 01 May 05 - 05:19 PM

Wow, until now I never heard it used for anything except the black-haired blue-eyed Irish, like the guy who's about to play Elvis. That was the first thing I thought when I looked at him in the article in Parade.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 05 - 02:59 PM

ONCE and FOR ALL!

BLACK IRISH denoted people of usually BLACK HAIR and BLUE EYES that was very evident of addmisture of Spaniards and Irish. HOwever if you go to Spain and go to Galicia the people look very IRISH cause of the CELTIC mix. But spaniards themselves have a mix of Iberian and CELT.

So again the SPANISH ARMADA landed primarily in GALWAY BAY..so there you go. THey mixed, take a spanish name like MARTIN..many irish people carry that name as well.

If you see someone that is BLACK IRISH..they look SPANISH. The old singer /dancer ANN MILER said that she was of black irish origin.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Cruiser
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 10:56 AM

Thanks for the erudite discussions, especially by some of the learned Guests.

I have learned more about the term "Black Irish" and its possible and probable etymologies.

Mudcat Cafe is more than a fantastic music site.

Keep the discussions flowing...

Cruiser


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: HuwG
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 05:53 PM

ard mhacha, you are quite right that many of the details in the story I posted are incorrect. This is a common failing of writers the "Shock ! Horror ! Probe !" genre. Details ? Pah ! Why let mere facts stand in the way of a good juicy story. Still, the murders are documented elsewhere, in much more restrained style.

(I originally stumbled across the site looking for some more lyrics to the Jesse James tunes in the Digitrad.)


A much better piece of literature which refers to "Black Irish" is the book, "The Irish R.M" by Somerville and Ross, later made into a TV series starring Peter Bowles. The character through which the book is written in the first person, Major Sinclair Yeates, describes the extended Knox family he meets in West Ireland as "Black Protestants".

(As he continues, "They occupied every social class and situation from Sir Valentine Knox of Castle Knox, to the auctioneer Knox, better known as 'Larry the Liar'."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 10:36 PM

Well,

I've lived in Ireland most of my life. I can honestly say that most people here would not be at all familiar with the term Black Irish. Having said that, it seems to have entered into popular debate quite recently in certain circles. The truth is that there is no Irish "race" and there are no single strand theories as to the genetic/heriditary makeup of Irish people. The American perception of lots of red haired people seems so strange to me as when I was growing up there were so few red heads that they did get taunted and singled out quite a lot, called things like duracell, rusty etc - horrible that this was. Certainly it's a characteristic that does exist here and it's most likely due to various lines of nordic settlement throughout the ages, from the early viking invasions to anglo-norman plantations and everything in between. I'm dark haired and tan quite easily, both my parents are black haired and my dad is quite dark complexioned. It never entered my mind that these physical characteristcs may be seen as somewhat "un-irish" until a few years ago when things like this started to enter the public imagination. I guess the whole mini cultural revolution we've had here recently, with it's origins in the 60's folk revival has created a lot of these things, in parallel with the need for identity etc......so much of what we see now as "traditional" or "authentic" especially concerning music, doesn't really stretch back very far......but thats a whole other debate......anyways I guess I'm trying to say that this country is not unique in european terms as regards genetic heritage, there are many crayons in the box


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 01:30 PM

My father always said it meant those irish with dark hair and eyes but were fair skinned. He also said that the Spanish Armada thing was pur myth as not enough sailors survived to have an impact on the genetic make up of the local people.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 03:52 AM

If the author of the tale Joseph Geringer described as a "history enthusiant"[blue clicked by HugW] is as accurate with his facts of the Donnelly murders as he is with his dating of 1100, of William of Orange`s arrival in Ireland, then the rest of his tale can be read with a certain amount of secipitism .


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: HuwG
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 05:19 AM

Chasing Number 6's suggestion that "Black Irish" derived from "Blackfeet" who collaborated with English authority or Protestant landlords, I came across the tale of several gruesome murders in Ontario, where this Irish infighting continued on the other side of the Atlantic.

Click here


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: dianavan
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 03:32 PM

Danes have the same problem trying to figure out the roots of the term 'black Danes'. My grandfather was a black Dane with dark brown hair, a dark complexion and blue eyes. Where did it come from?

Apparently the genetic mixing occurred way back in the days when there were tribes battling in Northern Europe. The Arles were the dark ones and conquered the plains all the way to the coast. Could it be when the Black Danes found Ireland, they produced Black Irish offspring?

Who knows? My guess is that the terms come from appearance only. Genetic mixing has been occurring for centuries.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 08:12 AM

Actually JTT, there are a number of excellent US historians who have done a fine job of documenting female emigration from Ireland to America: one is Hasia Diner, the other is Janet Nolan. Their observations are even in concurrence with the male historians!

You seem to have a problem with the interpretation of the historic facts, JTT, because it makes the Irish look sexist. They were. Very. Their treatment of their female citizens at the time was appalling--they were largely viewed as chattel.

My "unscientific observations" aren't any such thing. They are now, in the canon of US immigration history, well established facts.

The reason why both girls and boys emigrated to America was largely the same: the punitive and regressive dowry system that developed in post-Famine Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 05:57 AM

Hmm, that quoting didn't work. Odd.

To continue on the same line: it's increasingly prevalent among sociologists, and psychologists, that a correct scientific observation will be coloured by the person's own assumptions.

For instance, yes, most of the Irish emigrants going to America in the late 19th and early 20th century were women. Yes, that's an observable fact.

But then to continue this thought and make the assumption that it was because women were less valued - this isn't scientific; it's not something you can test with observable data.

One of the reasons that girls went to America was that the work was there. Boys didn't stay home; some went to America (I know various elderly couples who met while working in America, she in service, he in construction, and brought their savings home to found a family), and many more went to England, where there was plenty of work for "navvies" building the canals and railways and factories of the Industrial Age.

I must really caution against extrapolating emotional explanations from observed data. It gets you into big trouble.

(This isn't particularly you, "Guest"; it's something I've watched with interest for years. I think it has leaked from journalism, where you read "Police were forced to fire on rioters" when nobody forced anyone to do anything - opinions fatally cloud the clear view and tarnish the pure observation.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 05:05 AM

[QUOTE]No other immigrant group in the US shed their language like the Famine Irish. Most retained vestiges of their language in the home until the third American generation arrived on the scene. The Famine Irish weren't even speaking Irish in the second generation[/QUOTE]

I know this is correct. The same shedding of the language was going on in parallel in Ireland. In 1840, according to linguistic historians, if you drew a line down the centre of Ireland, everyone to the west would have been monolingual in Irish, everyone to the east bilingual in Irish and English.

After the Famine Irish died out within a couple of generations in most of the country - probably mainly due to the fact that families were broken up by the deaths of parents, as well as by the determination of the British government to wipe it out.

[QUOTE], so strong was the association of "shanty Irish" with speaking Irish among the Famine immigrants.[/QUOTE]

Now, this is where the scholarly observation is tainted by assumptions that are not necessarily accurate. To not that Irish died out is correct, but to assume that this was the reason is not good practice.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 05:01 PM

Actually, the money for emigration sent home to Ireland came mostly from women, JTT. The phenomenon of bringing relatives over is known here as chain migration. All cultures do it. But the Irish sent the women first, and tried to keep the men at home, so they would keep the land and/or business in the family. Also, the male sons were privleged in Irish society, the female daughters were seen as excess mouths to feed.

No other immigrant group in the US shed their language like the Famine Irish. Most retained vestiges of their language in the home until the third American generation arrived on the scene. The Famine Irish weren't even speaking Irish in the second generation, so strong was the association of "shanty Irish" with speaking Irish among the Famine immigrants.

The emigration record of which you speak is largely pre-1845 in the US and Canada. The emigration pattern from Britain to Canada was more common for the Highlanders and Gaelic speaking Scots, along with the English speaking Irish, many of whom were Protestant as well. There just isn't as large a population of Catholic Irish as Protestant Irish in Canada, because of it's continuing ties to Britain. The majority of the Catholic Irish population that emigrated to North America came to US during and after the Famine, up until 1920 or so. The majority of the Protestant Irish emigration to North America occurred in waves, the first being to the southern US in the pre-1845 era, and then to Canada after 1845, so as not to be associated with the Famine Irish.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 04:39 PM

No offence taken, nameless Guest. My knowledge of emigration comes mainly from family and neighbourhood memories.

Yes, in that particular period a large proportion of emigrants to the US was Irish-speaking and female; many went to the US with the help of men who were supposed to be getting them jobs working in families as maids - much like the eastern European and Filipina emigration of today - and many, as today, found themselves raped and put out to work as prostitutes for those men. Not speaking the language of the country was a disadvantage to be quickly shed. And after such an experience, most didn't want to keep contact with home - they were shamed.

However, there's also another large strand of emigration from Ireland to North America that is concealed by the fact that these emigrants went to *Canada*. Some stayed, some moved down the east coast into the big US industrial cities. Many of these were better-off, and English-speakers when they arrived.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 03:55 PM

Oh, and I forgot to mention, the majority of them were also mono-lingual and bi-lingual Irish speakers.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 03:53 PM

While the pietic roots of the lace curtain Irish are well attested to in Irish American literature (try Eugene O'Neil's 'Long Day's Journey into Night' as one good example) the term is a counter-part to the slur "shanty Irish" who were the poor Famine era immigrants, many of whom did speak Irish.

The shedding of the language among the Famine Irish was universal and immediate, unlike all the other immigrant groups who came to the US before and since. Their refusal to use their language after emigrating to the US is one of the bizarre anomalies of US immigration history. The hurt was so deep and profound among this group labelled "shanty Irish" that they couldn't bring themselves to use the language here.

No offense JTT, but most Irish know little to nothing about the realities of the Irish immigrants in the US in my experience, just like most contemporary Irish Americans who are now, like me, five generations out of Ireland (yes, my ancestors were Famine immigrants as the majority of Americans who claim Irish roots are) know about Ireland. As it turns out, I've spent a lot of time in Ireland unlearning the mythologies I was taught about the Ireland and the Irish as a child growing up. Spending time in Ireland made me realize the Irish in Ireland have many myths about their American cousins they need to unlearn as well.

One of the most prevalent beliefs I encountered in Ireland was the belief that during the emigration wave from the Famine through the 1920s, when the bleeding of the Irish from Ireland to American stopped and became more of a trickle than a gush, was that the Irish believe most people emigrated with their families. Why, with all the Irish first hand experience of American wakes, stories and songs of the individual child, usually a son, taking leave on their own for America, that belief is so prevalent I don't know.

But both the emigrant as family, and emigrant as male stereotypes among the Irish, are essentially wrong. The majority of emigrants from Ireland in the 1845-1920 emigration era were poor, single, and to the shock of most Irish people, the majority were women, not men.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 03:26 PM

Many imagine that all those who emigrated from Ireland were Irish-speaking tenant farmers, but of course this isn't so. Many were shopkeepers from towns, or tradespeople, or mid-sized farmers broken by the high taxes the Famine brought, or teachers or lawyers or doctors, or clergymen and -women, or theatricals, or artists, or journalists.

Plenty of the people who went to America already had class pretensions or class allegiances; research on emigration has also found that it was not the closed door that was the traditional image for years - many, many people went to Canada, the US, South America, Australia, England or Europe, did well and returned to Ireland with a bundle of relatively easily-won cash.

The "lace curtain Irish" are much more likely to have been the people of the smallish towns of Ireland, the kind of people who used to have the picture of the Sacred Heart and statues of the Virgin and the Child of Prague (or if Protestant, the statuette of King William riding his white horse, kept in the fanlight over the door).

It may be that *some* were those who were ambitious to climb the social scale by shedding their language and taking on that of the new country; but I suspect that most were those who brought their lace curtains with them, folded and lovingly scented with Sunlight Soap and special intentions.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,None of the above again
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 02:17 PM

Sorry, me again above. Also thought I'd mention the time I was visiting some friends in Donegal, and we were chatting about one red haired child in particular who had been chosen by an Irish American magazine to appear on their cover as the model. It seems they had come looking for the "quintesentially Donegal Irish child" and chosen an cailin rua as their Donegal lass. They all loved the irony of it.

That was the crack, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 02:13 PM

jtt, the lace curtain, as I understand it, is neither a reference to religion or a slur on the English. Rather, it is aterm relating to those working class Irish who abandoned their Irishness and their working class roots, to become assimilated into the dominant Anglo middle class.

The class assimilation thing was much more central to one's ethnic identity in the US than it ever was (or likely will ever be) in Ireland. The push to gain entry to the middle class in the US required an abandoning of one's own linguistic and cultural roots, in order to assimilate into the Anglo dominant middle class. That has been just as true for every non-Anglo ethnic minority that emigrated to the US as it is true for the Irish, and all have their own culture's term for the linguistic and cultural assimilation phenomenon.

For instance, two racial groups have terms that refer to being "white" (ie Anglo) on the "inside" (ie in physical appearance only): among black Americans, the term is "Oreo" (for the cookies with white filling between two chocolate biscuits). Among Native Americans, the term is being an "apple Indian" or red on the outside, white on the inside. The Latino term equates race and ethnicity by using the term "Anglo" perjoratively to refer to all whites, regardless of their ethnicity.

As you can see, it's a bit more complicated here than it is in County Mayo. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 01:56 PM

Really? I would have thought of "lace-curtain Irish" as being crushingly respectable *working-class* Irish people. Lace curtains wouldn't really be a Protestant thing at all at all!

The American term I love is "Two T Irish", for Irish people who have made it and built the big house with *two toilets*!

In terms of different complexions in different parts of the country, this is to some extent true; I astonished a lad a few months ago by asking was he from Donegal. "No," he said, "but my parents were. How did you know?"

How I knew was his characteristic Donegal colouring: dramatically pale skin, black, black curly hair, long black eyelashes and fine soot-black eyebrows, and very pale grey eyes.

Then in Connemara you have a mixture of the typical American picture of an Irish person - red hair, white skin, green or blue eyes - and what Irish people take as typical - very dark brown hair, pale skin, rosy cheeks, blue or grey eyes - and the dark-skinned, dark-haired, dark-eyed, Spanish-looking people. Lots of these in West Cork too. In Waterford, and parts of Dublin where the Vikings particularly settled - Ringsend, for instance, you'll find long-eyed, high-cheekboned people with "nut-brown" hair, the colour of a walnut shell.

But yes, generally it's pretty much of a mixture.

And getting more so now, I'm glad to say, with the influx of beautiful dark-black and rich-brown and coffee-coloured people from Africa, tan people from the Arab countries and golden people from China.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: number 6
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 01:15 PM

Back in the mid 1800's there was an Irish secret society called the 'Whiteboys' who opposed and wreaked revenge on protestant landowners, specifically those who fenced off what was designated as common land (land granted for use to Catholics). Those Catholic Irish that collaborated with the Protestant Landowners , or refushed membership in the Whiteboys were labeled 'Blackfeet'. This could possibly have some meaning to the term Black Irish'.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,None of the above
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 12:53 PM

Oops that was me above.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 12:37 PM

Although it just occurred to me that there is an Irish equivalent term for 'lace curtain Irish' which would be the term 'West Brit'. And maybe the derogatory use of the term 'Dublin 4' to describe a 'West Brit'.

Anyway, they are largly equivalent to the American Irish term 'lace curtain Irish'.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,None of the above again
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 12:33 PM

Also, someone mentioned the term 'lace curtain Irish', which was coined by working class American Irish to describe the hypocritical nature of the Anglo affectations adopted by and prevalent amongst their social climbing American Irish middle class brethren.

Not a polite term, to be sure.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,None of the above guests
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 12:01 PM

Thank you for finally clarifying it all so succinctly, JTT. I was really beginning to wonder if there were any folks here who could explain that the term is of Irish American origin and bust some of the myth of it being of Irish origin instead, based upon what me mum and me granny told me. And that the term for black race (as in African black race) in Gaelic doesn't use the word 'dubh'.

As Irish folks have pointed out, any attempts by Irish Americans to match physical characteristics to geographic regions of Ireland, with Spanish sailors or Iberian origins of the Celts, would be met with some skepticism back in the old country. Though it might make for some entertaining craic down at the pub.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 11:12 AM

McGrath naturally Kipling had a soft spot for those Irish gullible enough to be used by the Empire as cannon fodder.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 10:57 AM

Red-haired people are not considered irascible in Ireland.

Black Tyrone is in the Black North.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 09:56 AM

In the great John Ford cavalry movie, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," why does Victor McLaglen angrily refer to another sergeant as being from "the black Tyrone"? What's the deal with the Co. Tyrone?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 05:28 PM

That would imply that if you were naturally hot-tempered it should be rua, and if you'd just become that way because of the things that happened to you in life, it should be dearg.

And the same for hair, according to whether it's natural, or out of a bottle...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 03:45 PM

Heh, "gorm" is pronounced gurrum. Surely if they're gormless they *haven't* got the blues!

Rua is used for red in natural things: hair is red, a fox is red, autumn leaves are red. I suppose, too, it suggests a *russet* red.

Dearg is used for red-dyed things, and also for the red of roses, and the red of cheeks. Pink is bándearg - white-red.

Same with glas and uaine - glas is for natural greens, uaine for dyed greens.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Grab
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 05:44 PM

So JTT, does that mean if they're "gormless", they've not got the blues?

I'll get my coat...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,David Ingerson
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 05:21 PM

I'm confused about the following statement, An Cat Breac:

Colours when used in Ireland tended to be emotional description (An Fear Rua/red man = Angry man, An Fear Dubh/dark man = the Devil), not expressing physical attributes.

I'm no expert but I do know the word for red is 'dearg'. 'Rua' actually means red-haired. Of course, I see the symbolism, which is apt, and I noticed you qualified your statement with "tended," but wasn't Owen Roe O'Sullivan named for his red hair, not his anger? My impression is that the tendency was to describe hair color and to only sometimes imply an emotional description.

But maybe I'm wrong. I'd love some more clarification.

David


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 03:37 PM

Well, maybe it's the stereotype if "the fighting Irish" presented here, but it's an approving enough stereotype - The Irish Guards

...The fashion's all for khaki now,
    But once through France we went
Full-dressed in scarlet Army cloth,
    The English—left at Ghent.
They're fighting on our side to-day
    But, before they changed their clothes,
The half of Europe knew our fame,
    As all of Ireland knows!
       Old Days! The wild geese are flying,
            Head to the storm as they faced it before!
       For where there are Irish there's memory undying,
            And when we forget, it is Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!...


That's a tanner you owe me, I'd say.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 03:11 PM

Sorry, Martin, was just about to!

When speaking of black people as in the black race found in Africa, the Irish language uses the word "gorm" (used for blue, but in actuality one of the various terms for "things that are their natural colour", like glas and liath). So it's "cine ghoirm" ("blue" - black - race), "fear gorm" ("blue" - black - man), bean ghoirm ("blue" - black - woman) and so on.

My grammar isn't so hot in Irish, so while the feminine is softened by adding an "h", I'm not sure about the slenderising by adding an "i" before the end of the word, by the way.

When speaking of black hair, we use "dubh" (black); also in English we'll say "D'you see that little black fellow over there?", meaning little black-haired fellow - though this is a usage that's dropping away now that there are so many people from Africa now living here and it might sound rude.

"Black Irish" is an American term for dark-haired Irish people commonly supposed to be quick-tempered and bear grudges, as I understand. I suppose this may have come from the fact that many of the Irish people who emigrated to America over the generations may have arrived under intense stress, and remained stressed and edgy for many years after their arrival due to the pressures of poverty and lack of work.

"Black Protestant" is a term used in Ireland to suggest a Protestant, almost invariably Northern, who's bigoted.

The "Black North" comes from the fact that the northern direction was seen as that from which ill-luck and monsters came; distressingly, the children's graves in graveyards are traditionally placed to the north.

Kipling was a racist. Find an approving mention of an Irish person anywhere in his work and I'll give you a tanner.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 01:59 PM

... I'm glad none of the Irish have mentioned the word "blue" - things are confused enough as it is!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,An Cat Breac
Date: 09 Dec 04 - 01:39 PM

I agree, i only heard this term from some Americians while in the US traveling and had to look it up. It's simply implausible to attribute supposed Mediterranean features to a few stragglers shipwrecked in scattered areas 400 years ago, there is certainly no history or remembering of Spanish blood in there areas. If one was to say that dark hair and/or dark eyes are the result of Spanish blood then they must have been throughout the island ag streachailt leathair.

I'm think i'm only repeating what Ard Mhacha & Learaí na Láibe were saying but this seems to be just descendent of emigrants now living in America romanticing their past and retaining fragments of it, which now form incorrect perceptions. Colours when used in Ireland tended to be emotional description (An Fear Rua/red man = Angry man, An Fear Dubh/dark man = the Devil), not expressing physical attributes. There is no usuage of the term Black Irish in relation to Armada survivors in Ireland, and no record of it here, including in the irish-speaking areas, the places that have retained most of our folklore. If Irish-americans want to use it fine, but its history they've invented.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,Learaí na Láibe
Date: 10 Sep 04 - 07:49 PM

Jeysas! All this 'Black Irish' stuff again. Born and reared in Ireland, I may have heard of the Black Irish here but I certainly don't remember having done so before surfing the net. As Ard Macha pointed the story of survivors of the Spanish Armada having an influence on the Irish bloodline is just a myth. But people don't like having their myths debunked. As for trading links with Spain - all northwest European countries had Spanish sailors calling at their ports. How come we had no Spanish surnames. The only Spanish derived name I know is De Valera and that came via the USA. We have Gaelic, Viking, Norman, Welsh, Scottish, French, Flemish, Jewish surnames. Did all those lusty Spaniards just have one night stands and pull up anchor leaving the poor hapless colleens in the family way without even knowing the surnames of Juan and Pablo?

Anyway logic will have no effect on this Irish American myth. I've seen it appearing repeatedly on Irish related sites, It's not going to go away.

Let me share a secret. 'Twasn't the Spanish were responsible. It was aliens from the planet Gzob. There are signs of their prehistoric visits all over the landscape if you know where to look.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 10 Sep 04 - 08:50 AM

the gaelic irish and scots are essentially the same peoples and with
the gaelic manx form the goidelic(c) celts. the welsh, cornish and
bretagnes form the brythonic (P)celts. related, their labels is
a reference to the variation in their languages. for example welsh
for head is penn and irish is ceann. it seems that the goidelic
celts were both in ireland and maybe england earlier than the
brythonic celts but eventually there were pockets of each related
celt living side by side. the black irish does refer to the black haired and sometimes sallowed skin gael, but you can find this in
wales and cornwall as well. generally and from historic discriptions
of the celts of britain and ireland they were generally discribed
as a fair haired and skinned people with a generous amount of red or gingery hair types. red hair being a regressive gene will eventualy
die out. the celts were involved in a lot of raiding to capture
slaves and indeed traded some of these captured people with the
romans. they would also buy slaves. these slaves would have had chidren and as the irish for example would go to mainland europe
to raid and trade the genes of darker complexioned people would have
become part of the melting pot geno. however, their is some evidence
of north african influence in the west of ireland because christian gnostic monks looking for isolation found there way to irelands west coast and helped amongst others, including st patrick(a captured slave) to bring knowledge of christianity to ireland. the celts as discribed did not call themselves celts, it is a discriptive word that was burrowed fron the creeks by the romans which means 'hidden people' and was to discribe not only the celtic peoples as we now know them but indeed other tribes, including germanic peoples, by the roman observers. there is an identifiable irish/gaelic gene and in my opinon the irish/norse mix would probably be most evident in north west ireland and the western islands of scotland. iceland has a very large ethnic mix of, i think, 40 per cent males with celtic dna and 60 per cent females with celtic genes. this racial mix results in the fiery look of the west highlander and the gingery ruddy complexioned irishman. this blood mix made for good fighting men, and the galloglass from the western islands of scotland made up the backbone of the o'neil and o'donnol armies who fought the english and later fled as the the wild geese. galloglass means young foriegn soldier/servant.as a matter of interest the viking called the irish westermen and when the viking first discovered iceland who did they record as living their before they arrived, the westerman and where they lived in christain communities is now known as the westermann islands. the irish would call the vikings lochlainn which means lake and land and some irish/scottish names may have been influenced by viking intermarriage to end up with names like McLoughlan, meaning son of lake and land. this is just an assumption and like everything else just my opinion


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 08 Jul 04 - 11:01 AM

I was adopted from a couple that came from Ireland. My mom sat me down one day and told me that both my biological parents came from Ireland and that they were what was called " black irish". I too have jet black hair and blue eyes, but I tan just thinking about the sun. Thanks to all on this thread who have shed some light on my ancestry.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jun 04 - 08:23 AM

49 years living in Ireland and never heard this term used except by returned emigrants that described described "black Irish" as a derogatory racist term.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jun 04 - 09:57 AM

I have just read most of the contributions in this link and would like to add a little twist...

My Grandmother often spoke off of her fathers people coming over from Ireland, and has used the term "Black Irish" in reference to our prominent features. The name was O'Dempsey, later changed to just Dempsey. They apperently settled in Arkansas. We also have some native American (Cherokee) blood. In my research to sort out my geneologic history, I have also ran across the fact that back when they were forcing a lot of Cherokee to leave there land in the east, several of the mixed families claimed they were Black Irish, so that they could keep their land.

Has anyone else heard of this type of event?

jeffdavid.com


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: hobbitwoman
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 10:36 PM

This thread is beginning to remind me of the song "All Mixed Up".

Annie


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 02:04 PM

Fiolar you are right, the programme was repeated again on SKY TV History UK and they did take DNA samples in the two areas mentioned. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Fiolar
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 09:18 AM

Guest: They did actually take two areas in Ireland for DNA testing. One was in the west of Ireland and the other was in a small town in Co Dublin. There was no evidence of Viking DNA in the west and less than was expected in the Dublin sample.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:49 AM

Leaving out the chaff, it comes down to the fact that we are a bunch of mongrels- like most other people.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:13 AM

Poor Mimi her tiny ass is frozen. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black Irish: Etymological Consensus?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 10:21 AM

I had always understood that the original celts were dark-haired and mainly blue-eyed. Yes, they spread throughout Europe from origins (or first appearance) in Hungary before 2000 bc, and the last populations survive in the west, mainly Wales, Ireland and Scotland.
Celts came to Scotland from Scotia (Ireland), supplanting Picts. The Pictish language was related, and therefore so were the Picts. Celtic is in fact a remote branch of Indo-European, related to Latin, of course, but distantly.

A recent BBC TV program on the Vikings tested DNA from various parts of the OK to try and identify the Danish influence in the UK population, and yes, in Mid-Wales they found very little Danish and a lot of Celtic. Unfortunately this didn't cover Ireland.

(Swansea area where I live has a fair amount of Viking ancestry, not surprisingly when the name is reckoned to be from Sweyn's Ey, an island formerly in the river. Sweyn was apparently Sven (pronounced Sweyn) Forkbeard)


(Don't know HOW they recognise Celtic DNA though. Danish they compared with Denmark, and other Viking areas)


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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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