What being Irish means.

A stereotypical image of what the Irish look like.

We’ve been hearing a lot of things lately about the Irish diaspora. The Irish have dispersed themselves around the globe. Allegedly, over 70 million Irish are part of the Irish Diaspora.

To be Irish, in my opinion, means that we are an ethnic group made up out of an historical diaspora. What do I mean? Isn’t being Irish about having red curly hair and freckles all over? Well, yes, that’s the postcard picture of the Irish.

In reality the Irish have been conquered and invaded several times, that we know of.

The Celts were the first, then followed by the Vikings, the  Normans, and the English, and finally the American tourists. The last one is a joke by the way.

However another ethnic group came to Ireland without invasion; there are reports of the Spanish doing trade with the tribes of Galway and in the city you will find the stone archway known as “The Spanish Arch.”

The Spanish, being Catholic, also were allies of the Irish in the Great Rebellion of 1595 to 1902. The Irish fought and lost in their battle to get the English, then under the reign of Elizabeth 1st,  out of Ireland.

Why is all this so important to me? Glad you asked and here’s my answer.

In the last few years I have noticed that too much sun makes me break out in freckles on my forehead, and of all places, along the sides of my neck. When I asked my dermatologist about it I was told that people of Celtic and either French or Spanish origin have this in their DNA. He didn’t even know what my parents looked like. And to top it all off, he said I was Black Irish!

The term Black Irish comes from the Irish who have black hair and brown eyes.

My mother never sun burned, never. She had straight black hair that she liked to perm. She had brown eyes. My father had strawberry blonde curly hair and burned like the blazes. He had high cheekbones and blue eyes. Take a look, and you tell me, who looks like a viking and who looks like a Spaniard.

My father and mother, the Viking and a Spaniard.


6 thoughts on “What being Irish means.

  1. This is very interesting. I was not aware of the Spanish influence, Loretto. Your parents are perfect examples of your article. I always used to think of the red haired freckled faces beomg Irish but have more recently realized there are many dark-haired irish people too. Therefore, my idea of typical Irish no longer exists. Ireland, too, is also somewhat of a melting pot!

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