Friday, July 27, 2007

What Type of Irishman Are You?

A while ago I found, and bought, a complete 10 volume set of Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopaedia. I think I gave some charity shop a fiver for it. At the moment there's someone selling a 1930s set (like mine) on Ebay for a ton but I'm going to keep my set because it provides Nellybert with a great deal of pleasure, education and entertainment.

Last night I dragged it out of the attic and started looking for interesting colour plates to upload to Flickr. I was diverted by a very interesting article on our own wee country. Last weekend Ploppy Pants really annoyed me by spouting some Orangeman rubbish about how the Scottish planters civilised County Down and County Antrim. Apparently it was a wild and tangled forest before the Scots came, cut down the trees and showed the savage Irish how to be farmers.

As I'd been looking for some killer facts to refute Ploppy's argument, I started to read. And was utterly diverted by these fascinating paragraphs about the people of this country.

The Three Types of Irishmen

There is a very primitive type still to be met with in the west. It is the one that was formerly used in Irish caricatures by unfriendly observers. The forehead is low, the mouth and lower part of the face are large, there is an inclination to a squat figure, and the general effect is that of a survivor from an early period in human history.

Then there is the tall, often blue-eyed, engaging Irishman of easy address and good-humoured air, who would wile a
bird from a bough by his fluent tongue, ready for adventure anywhere.

And there is the business man, chiefly from the north, who carries in his speech and form and features signs of being a stiffer and less pliant breed, as from Norse, Scotch, or English forefathers. (
Arthur Mee: The Children's Encyclopaedia, Volume 5, p3061)

Ploppy is definitely a mixture of the first and third types. For he has a simian appearance, a dour outlook on life and couldn't wile a bird from a bough if his life depended on it.

Here are some modern examples of the three types of Irishmen -

From left to right, the squat primitive, the silver-tongued charmer and the stiff Scottish type.

So what type of Irishman or Irishwoman are you?


Hails said...

I LOVE this! I know several of the first kind, a handful of the third kind, but only one who truly fits the middle category (and I really think it's only because he's got twinkly eyes and speaks wit' de sexy Suddern Oirish accent).

Poor Bono, though. I want to defend him, I just can't seem to come up with a winning argument...

Grannymar said...

Nelly we women are like flowers, shrubs or trees.

I am like the Lemon Tree.

'Lemon tree oh so pretty and the lemon flower is sweet.
But the fruit of the lemon is impossible to eat.'

'Impossible to eat' is not that I am bitter, no way, it is that I am around a long time and dried up with age.

Freshblade said...

Brilliant, Nelly. I have a definite tendency towards squatness. Unfortunate.

ejh said...

Now, while I may be tall and blue-eyed, I also lack the ability to do the 'easy address' bit. So there may be elements of all three in myself.

Freshblade said...

And Handsome, Ed. Don't forget handsome.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm probably the last of the three, sadly.

Nelly said...

I think I'm well mixed up. Squat, twinkly and morally upright.