Fri
Mar 15 2013 9:00am

All The Best Vampires Are Irish

Irish Vampires Buffy Twilight Dracula Being Human Angel Ireland Preacher Cassidy Bram StokerNowadays, when you mention “vampires,” people tend to think of sparkly teens or pasty-faced creeps in collared capes moaning “I vant to suck your blood” in some generic Eastern European accent. While those might be the most iconic images of the bloodsucker zeitgeist, they’re not necessarily the best. Bram Stoker’s Dracula may have defined the vampire for the modern era, but although we associate the story with Transylvania, we tend to forget that Stoker* himself was actually born in Clontarf, County Dublin, which lends further credence to a simple truth: all the best vampires are Irish.**

Let’s consider three prime examples: Angel from Buffy/Angel, Mitchell from Being Human (UK), and Cassidy from Preacher. See? Even without any actual proof for my theory, I can already tell that you agree. It was that easy. I rest my case.

Irish Vampires Buffy Twilight Dracula Being Human Angel Ireland Preacher Cassidy Bram StokerAnd yet I go on. The sparkle-vamp camp tends to forget that the thematic literary value of the vampire lies in the union of a blessing and a curse. It’s the temptation of immortality and strength at the cost of one’s family, friends, and soul. With a history rooted in religious turmoil, the Irish know a thing or two about the power of sin, as well as the guilt that so often accompanies it. Even though they’re not always active and practicing in their religion—which none of the aforementioned characters really were, prior to their conversions—that dogma is still culturally ingrained within them. After his soul was restored, Angel spent nearly 100 years wallowing in self-pity over the things that he had done as a vampire; Cassidy was involved in the Easter Rising of 1916 (which, well, certainly involved religious conflict, amongst several thousand other things), and decided to flee to America rather than face his family after surviving such a horrible massacre thanks to his newfound abilities (also that he ran away before the battle truly started, which was shameful enough). Irish Vampires Buffy Twilight Dracula Being Human Angel Ireland Preacher Cassidy Bram StokerAnd even after they’ve begun to make amends for their past crimes, it’s never enough; no matter how many times they save the world, these Irish vampires never feel that they have done enough to make up for their blood sucking sins. The ol’ Catholic Guilt is a strong motivator, and when it comes to the Irish, it almost seems to be passed down through blood.

Blood. Vampires. See? We’re getting somewhere.

Irish Vampires Buffy Twilight Dracula Being Human Angel Ireland Preacher Cassidy Bram Stoker The Irish have a history of suffering and oppression that has permeated their culture as well (I’m well aware that we are certainly not alone in this, but that’s besides the point), and they tend to find refuge in humor and alcohol. Just as vampires tend to be seductive and mysterious, much of the appeal of the Irish people (if I do say so myself) is derived from this unlikely combination of brooding and jovial charm, of melancholy and light-heartedness. It’s a darkness, underscored by self-deprecation and a smile, underscored by even more darkness. This trait is only amplified in characters such as Angel, Cassidy, and Mitchell. They have outlived their lovers, made new friends, done right and saved lives, and while these personal victories might offer temporary pride or relief, these characters are still incapable of forgiving themselves of their own trespasses. Cassidy deals with this inner turmoil by turning to drinking and drugs and a carefree lifestyle, but as much as he pushes his suffering below the surface, that shadow still sneaks through. Mitchell and Angel both eventually find a strong and supportive group of friends that sympathize with their struggles (through fellow supernatural housemates, and Angel Investigations, respectively). Every now and then, they both show that they’re capable of having fun and enjoying their lives, but by the end of the night, both remain haunted by the notion that they don’t deserve the pleasure.

Irish Vampires Buffy Twilight Dracula Being Human Angel Ireland Preacher Cassidy Bram Stoker And then there’s alcohol, that dreaded liquid haven. The stereotypical image of the Irishman is as a heavy drinker (he says, as he orders his third beer), and while it may seem charming in commercials, alcoholism isn’t all fun and games. Addiction is a disease, often passed down through heredity—and it’s a trait that runs rampant in Irish blood. What is vampirism then, but an addiction to blood? Within their respective continuities, all three of these characters have proven themselves capable of surviving without eating humans alive—whether it’s animal blood, or stolen from a hospital, there are alternatives to the actual fangs-in-neck method of consuming blood. But the metaphor of blood-as-alcohol is strong—the act of consuming actual fresh blood from a human body is seen as euphoric, and Mitchell, Angel, and Cassidy are all seen to struggle with relapses. Sometimes they overcome it, but again, the temptation remains strong. Consider the first season Buffy episode, appropriately titled “Angel,” when Buffy (and the audience) first learns that Angel is a vampire. Darla bites Buffy’s mother and flees, leaving Buffy to enter her home as Angel holds her mother’s injured body, staring longingly at the blood dripping from her neck. The temptation is clear, but Angel understands the consequences, and so resists the urge. He knows that if he drinks a the blood of a living human being, he will continue to desire fresh human blood, which will send him spiraling downwards into the lifestyle that he has worked so hard to avoid. He is the vampire as addict, drinking blood instead of whiskey. Similarly, throughout the entire first season of Being Human, Mitchell must constantly contend with temptation (both of sex and blood, which, for thematic purposes, are essentially the same) from Lucy, a vampire whom he himself turned in a moment of uncontrolled passion. In the second seasons of their respective TV shows (Angel this time, alongside Being Human), both Angel and Mitchell are also forced to deal with what happens when they give in to their addictions and revel in them. Both characters turn back towards the darkness, while asserting somehow that they have it under control; but in both cases, it soon turns much, much worse.

Irish Vampires Buffy Twilight Dracula Being Human Angel Ireland Preacher Cassidy Bram Stoker

There’s another important bit of common ground between these focal Irish vampires, and that is sacrifice. Because maniacal despot vampires might work fine as cardboard antagonists, but in order to carry a story, a protagonist must invoke sympathy, if not empathy, in his/her audience. And what dramatic action does that better than death? Vampires are immortal, of course, which makes this a difficult crutch to ride. But death has refused to stop the story for Mitchell, Angel, and Cassidy. Again, this is likely steeped in the Christian mythology that is innately and eternally intertwined with the fate of the Irish, but despite their flaws, each of these characters has proven himself as a hero through the act of martyrdom—and all but one of them came back to tell the tale.

Irish Vampires Buffy Twilight Dracula Being Human Angel Ireland Preacher Cassidy Bram Stoker Perhaps this all leads back to that ingrained Irish Catholic guilt that overwhelms our blood-sucking heroes, or that undying urge to compensate for the shame they felt while under the influence of vampirism. But what the Irish vampires have above so many others is a painfully human struggle; they may be fast healers with super-strength and longevity, but at their core, characters like Mitchell, Cassidy, and Angel still deal with the same emotional struggles as the rest of us (or at least that the rest of us can understand on an emotional level). They can’t just consume deer instead of humans and have it be done with, or sleep away the day inside a castle with a casket for a bed. The Irish have a dark history, and while they clearly didn’t invent the vampire, they certainly perfected it by finding that same darkness within their culture and spinning it out into the supernatural.

Also, and more importantly, brogues are much prettier than Germanic accents and us Irish folk are pretty much the best people ever. End of discussion.

Irish Vampires Buffy Twilight Dracula Being Human Angel Ireland Preacher Cassidy Bram Stoker

*Stoker was also a Protestant, but we won’t hold that against him.

**The one exception being Spike, of course, but that’s a larger conversation for another time.


Tomás Pádraig Theodosius Doin is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve robots). His family battle cry is “Mullach abu!” in the Irish, which translates to either “Victory from the hills” or “On top forever,” and either one he’s fine with. Find out more at thomdunn.net.

26 comments
Jenny Kristine
1. jennygadget
The Irish have a history of suffering and oppression that has permeated their culture as well...and they tend to find refuge in humor and alcohol.
What the hell? and
The stereotypical image of the Irishman is as a heavy drinker (he says, as he orders his third beer)
Since when do we treat offensive stereotypes as facts around here?
Liz Bourke
2. hawkwing-lb
1.) Angel's backstory is a combination of insulting clichés and a terrible fake Irish accent. Must we count him as an "Irish" vampire? I feel insulted...

2.) During the time he was writing Dracula, Stoker was a resident of London: London has therefore as much claim on Dracula as Dublin does. (After all, Stoker died in Pimlico.)

3.) It is important to note that the Easter Rising, whatever else it may have been (a union of nationalists and socialists) was not a massacre, and referring to it as such ignores the fact that the total casualties (116 British Army dead, 368 wounded; rebel and civilian casualties - which were not divided out, although the Volunteers recorded 64 KIA - totalled 318 dead, 2,217 wounded) were all things considered for a six-day running battle in the centre of a city, relatively low. (Which is not to excuse the civilian deaths and damage caused by artillery, incendiary shells, and heavy machine guns, which were used primarily by the British.)

4. much of the appeal of the Irish people (if I do say so myself) is
derived from this unlikely combination of brooding and jovial charm, of melancholy and light-heartedness. It’s a darkness, underscored by
self-deprecation and a smile, underscored by even more darkness

Shoot me. Shoot me now. (Brooding and jovial charm. RIGHT. This is me, BROODING JOVIALLY at this most ridiculous characterisation of the inhabitants of the Irish republic. And, y'know. Those of the so-called Irish diaspora I've met.) D'you have an Irish passport? Because I'd burn it in shame if I'd said that kind of... ridiculously-over-romanticised bullshit.

5. this is likely steeped in the Christian mythology that is innately and eternally intertwined with the fate of the Irish

That's a bit of a... simplistic thing to say, considering it disappears the non-Christians among the modern residents of Ireland. ("Fate of the Irish" - really? Who says that kind of thing?)

I remain, sir, your mortally offended correspondant.
Liz Bourke
3. hawkwing-lb
Also, this:
Stoker was also a Protestant, but we won’t hold that against him.

What the hell, man? What the ever-loving hell? Irish =//= Catholic (nor Gaelic, nor rural, whatever Eamon de Valera may have wished), and for all one may joke about that, the ideal of a Catholic Ireland led - after the formation of the Free State - to some fairly unpleasant terrorism against Church of Ireland citizens - particularly in the region of Cork, and casting Irish as Catholic today ignores not only the work people here have been trying to do to disentangle a child-rapist-protecting Church from the organs of State, but the ever-growing non-Catholic population here who are also by my lights as Irish as anyone.

So your little joke? It's not funny.
Thom Dunn
4. ThomDunn
@JennyGadget As someone who tends to take great offense at "Plastic Paddy" portrayals, I am mortified that my own writing would come across that way to someone else. I was attempting to use cultural types as a way to explore fictional archetypes of vampires, without reducing my own heritage down to a mockery, and if you think I failed, then I apologize. Maybe it was my attempt at humor that came off wrong there -- that I was in fact at the pub while writing this article, and I did in fact order another beer at that point in writing. I was trying to be self-depracating there, calling myself out on perpetuating that same stereotype. But I don't think I reduced anyone down to the mockery level of obnoxious cartoonish drunks -- my intention was to connect alcoholism / addiction with these characters, in the same way that I connected religion to it. I mention Catholic Guilt as well, but I meant no offense there to the Protestants (my Stoker comment was meant to be tongue-in-cheek), nor the Jews, nor anyone else.

I hope I'm understanding here what it is that offends you and responding appropriately, because again, that was absolutely not my intention. I actually very much wanted to write an article relevant to St. Patrick's Day that avoided the obnoxious Green-Beer-And-Leprechuans-Oh-Blimey-Top-O'-T'e-Mornin'-ness that otherwise fills the internet around this time every year.
Somhairle Kelly
5. Somhairle Kelly
This particular set of cardboard stereotypes stopped being funny a long, long time ago - in fact, I'm fairly sure the only period in which they were ever funny was while Spike Milligan was writing Puckoon.


It's also a deliberate imperialist tactic, used by the English upper classes - painting the Celtic "races" as dreamy, lazy, feckless, disorganized, and frequently rebellious drunkards, but prone to flights of fancy and poetic inspiration, let them feel justified in the systematic oppression of the time. (Also, it was really good for the important Victorian institution of the Tacky Souvenir Industry, just like tartan & shortbread are in Scotland.) Celtic-Twilight-cum-labour-relations-industry, and all that.

As used by diasporans (and many of the Irish-descended British are guilty of this, too - I've had to catch myself from time to time) it's a way of claiming identity & affiliation without sharing in the actual complex life & history, or having to think about all the myriad other strands of Irish life.
Deana Whitney
6. Braid_Tug
See:
Common Sense by Thomas Paine for the ultimate "The Irish are worthless to the Englishman."

This is why calling out stereotypes is razor edge to walk on. Often while pointing some “cool” out, you wind up making bad calls. Unless you’re a puppet and it’s set to a really fun bet.
Somhairle Kelly
7. braak
It's probably worth noting that, while Cassidy was created by an Irishman, Angel was certainly not. Angel is a fictional object, afforded a quality of "Irish-ness" by a non-Irish author, so I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense to put him in the same category as a character like Cassidy, who might actually be more representative of (Garth Ennis' very specific understanding of) the Irish.

That is to say, I guess, that fictional character don't represent anything but their authors, so maybe another choice for an essay is "All the Best Vampires are Garth Ennis and Joss Whedon."

On the other hand, I think Angel is also a pretty terrible character, so I don't know.
Somhairle Kelly
8. seth e.
Stoker was also a Protestant, but we won’t hold that against him.

So was William Butler Yeats. Who is this "we" you speak of?

This article. Good grief.
Sorcha O
9. sushisushi
ThomDunn@4 I'm not going to go through it point-for-point, as it's already been done by previous commenters, but while you may have wanted to avoid the top o'the morning to ya paddywhackery, I can tell you that you failed miserably. That sort of stereotypical rubbish might go down well with the other Irish-Americans on Paddy's weekend, but to an actual Irish person, it's just another rehash of the clueless, inaccurate rubbish bandied about by over-sentimental Yanks. Good grief is right.
Jenny Kristine
10. jennygadget
braak @ 7

That would have been in an interesting post. Which would probably have done a better job of being about things Irish without invoking stereotypes. In fact, I think examining the stereotypes themselves is one of the few ways to write a post like this and not end up endorsing stereotypes.

I also think it's worth examining why so many vampires are, essentially, white-but-not-the-"right"-kind-of-white. Either Irish or eastern European or similar. Even just a cursory examination suggests that its a variation on non-whites as savages that allows for those on the edges of whiteness to come across as something between human and monster, rather than always outright animals.
Thom Dunn
11. ThomDunn
@sushisushi Yes, I've noticed that my attempts to use the broad strokes of archetypes to draw thematic connections did not play quite as intended. I think my little self-conscious jokes meant to poke fun and acknowledge what I was doing actually did more harm than good, and I can see how that happened. Ah well. Live and learn.
Ann Leckie
12. hautdesert
It's also a deliberate imperialist tactic, used by the English upper classes - painting the Celtic "races" as dreamy, lazy, feckless, disorganized, and frequently rebellious drunkards, but prone to flights of fancy and poetic inspiration, let them feel justified in the systematic oppression of the time. (Also, it was really good for the important Victorian institution of the Tacky Souvenir Industry, just like tartan & shortbread are in Scotland.) Celtic-Twilight-cum-labour-relations-industry, and all that.

And Irish-descended Americans have eaten that crap up like it was delicious candy. I grew up in such a family, and it was an eye-opening moment when I realized what the origin, purpose, and result was of the "Dreamy, mystical Celt" thing.

As used by diasporans (and many of the Irish-descended British are guilty of this, too - I've had to catch myself from time to time) it's a way of claiming identity & affiliation without sharing in the actual complex life & history, or having to think about all the myriad other strands of Irish life.

This may well be part of it. I'm still not sure why folks pick demeaning stereotypes to romanticize and identify with. Maybe it began as a perverse "Oh, you think the Irish are drunkards? Well then, I'm proud of that!" thing, and/or the most easily available writings on Ireland having been produced by those aforementioned English upper classes so that's what you find when you're a diaspora Irish kid looking to learn more about your family's origins.

Also, of course, there's a history in the US of families saying "We're Irish!" and not wanting to complicate that by acknowledging the difference between "Great grandmother came from Ireland" and "lives in/citizen of Ireland." Noting the very complex reality of Ireland and the people who live there, have lived there, would mean realizing that it's a different reality from the (equally complex, but very different) reality of Irish-descended Americans. The author above says "we" when talking about the Irish, but from his profile, he's an American--Irish and Irish-American are two very different things, but a lot of Irish Americans really don't like to acknowledge that, and sometimes don't seem to see any difference at all.
Somhairle Kelly
13. wesinjersey
re: vampires as white but not the right kind of white. That goes back to the original. Stoker intentionally set his story on the borderlands between the West and the East in order to contrast his virtuous English (and Dutchman) against the exotic and dangereous Other.
Jack Flynn
14. JackofMidworld
My last name is Flynn, so obviously I agreed with this entire article before I even started reading it, but then I got to the end...

Also, and more importantly, brogues are much prettier than Germanic accents and us Irish folk are pretty much the best people ever. End of discussion.

Nailed it.
Somhairle Kelly
15. Cian_Shmian
@5 Somhairle Kelly:

It's also a deliberate imperialist tactic, used by the English upper
classes - painting the Celtic "races" as dreamy, lazy, feckless,
disorganized, and frequently rebellious drunkards, but prone to flights
of fancy and poetic inspiration, let them feel justified in the
systematic oppression of the time.

Not just diasporans or descendants but by Irish people in Ireland too. Certainly its root is in English imperialism but I cannot in all honesty say that I don't know lots of folks in Ireland who would say this (in a joking-but-kinda-not way).
Taking a postcolonial tack, it's probably some sort of internalisation as well as constructing a national identity from some of the same cultural and historical sources that the English did for their depiction of 'the people on the fringes of Britain'.

Now it's definitely different in character to its 18th (or earlier?) century origin but with different emphasis - 'lazy' becomes 'easy-going', 'rebellious' becomes a positive - so it's not like any Irish person is justifying their own oppression through it.* It goes without saying that this is also what the tourist industry pushes, in one form or another.

* In fact, you can probably find traces of this reformulation of the concept as a means of resistance to imperialism in early 20th c. Gaelic Revival stuff, i.e. portraying the English and by association the modern Anglicised present as being soulless and spritually bankrupt.
Alice Arneson
16. Wetlandernw
ThomDunn @ several - FWIW, some of us did recognize the humor and the play-on-stereotypes gigs, and some of us enjoyed them for what they were clearly intended to be. In fact, while it's obvious to the most casual observer that not every individual in a group fits any given stereotype of that group, most types have a firm basis in generalized tendencies. Our ability to recognize both the truth and the exaggeration in the typing can be a great source of humor - but only if we're able and willing to laugh at ourselves.
Jenny Kristine
17. jennygadget
Wetlandernw @ 16

"but only if we're able and willing to laugh at ourselves."

It would help to read what other people are actually saying. The point has already been raised several times that the post seems rather confused about the difference between "Irish", "Irish American", "of Irish descent", and "Irish character created by the same guy that made a world filled with the Chinese language but absolutely no characters of Asian descent."

So, no. the author is not laughing at himself, or - at least - his post isn't, even if that was his intent. As with most times the "can't you take a joke" defense is used, the punchline was about someone else.
Alice Arneson
18. Wetlandernw
jenny @17 - It was a general comment - we all need to be able to laugh at ourselves. I did not say that you personally, or any other commenter here, are unable to take a joke, nor that the author of this post was specifically laughing at himself. The intended humor is just that - intended humor, deliberately playing off commonly-recognized stereotypes that are equally commonly eye-rollers. Everyone falls into some group which is commonly stereotyped, and we should all be able to recognize that the stereotypes fit in some areas, and are totally bogus in others - for ourselves as well as for others.

Stereotypes can easily be used thoughtlessly, or for deliberate humiliation, and thus they have a negative connotation. However, stereotypes can also, when recognized as exaggeratedly broad generalization, be used humorously, in a way that invites the "target group" (and everyone else) to laugh along with the speaker - whether the speaker is part of that group or not. It was my distinct impression that this was the intent in this post - "Come, laugh with me as I write this almost-indefensible thesis, as I come up with capricious rationale, as I illogically pretend to logically prove this whimsical notion that all the best vampires are Irish." It's that time of year when half the US likes to pretend that we're Irish, no matter where our ancestors came from - so let's take all the stereotypes, hold them up to see just how silly they are, and see if we can all cram ourselves into them anyway.

It doesn't matter whether you're Irish or not; we (should) all know that all stereotypes are based on generalizations and that only bits and pieces will apply to any individual. Why can't we laugh about them, whether we're part of the "target group" or not? After all, what's the point of exaggeration if we can't play with it? I neither know nor care whether the author, or you, or any other commenter here is Irish, nor whether any of these individuals fit the stereotypes. I know enough Irish folks to find the stereotypes laughable, for all the right reasons - and frankly, most of the Irish folk I know laugh at them for exactly the same reasons.

Obviously I can't speak for all of Ireland, but I can speak for myself in saying that I found the blog humorous (even though I'm not into the vampire thing) without being in the least derogatory. Clearly some found it offensive, and that's their (or your) prerogative, as it is their/your prerogative to tell him about it. It is also my prerogative to let the author know that not everyone shares that opinion.
Jenny Kristine
19. jennygadget
Wetlandernw @ 18

1) as already pointed out, laughing at oneself is not the same as others laughing at you. This is where it matters that, no matter where you are from, the author of this piece in American.

2) you initially argued that the humor from "jokes" based on stereotypes lies partly in the butt of the joke being able to laugh at themselves. Is there a different way to interpret those words than "can't take a joke" ? Perhaps I am simply being a humorless feminist, but I don't see it.

3) You implied that your view was the correct one when you said that "some of us did recognize" - as if our problem is that we are too ignorant or stupid to see the attempt at humor, rather than simply not finding it funny.

"deliberately playing off commonly-recognized stereotypes"

In order to be "playing off" stereotypes, one would have to do more than repeat them wholesale.
Somhairle Kelly
20. braak
@jennygadget & @wesinjersey Yeah, I think that a more productive look at Stoker and Dracula is probably about how it's less about Stoker's Irishness, and a lot more about how he viewed Foreigners. I mean, Dracula is clearly racist as hell ("Swarthy foreigner comes to England, draining the life and virtue from our chaste white women, and turning them into sex-maniacs").

Is that all a holdoover from Dracula though, or is there something else persistent about it? Certainly, "not-the-right-white" makes a lot of sense in that vein of puritanical, WASPy literature that pervades American culture -- that fear of being infiltrated, in other words, or serving as a counterpoint to that attitude of sexual propriety. Hm.
Somhairle Kelly
21. braak
@ThomDunn It's also probably worth pointing out that "archetypes" aren't the same things as "stereotypes." You were using broad stereotypes to draw thematic connections with vampires, which is probably what people are angry about.
Somhairle Kelly
22. seth e.
It's been well pointed out by this time, especially by Jennygadget in 17 and 19, but there are two separate issues with the article. The first is the really, really clumsy use of self-effacing humor, which fails because the "self" on display, the same as the "ourselves" in Wetlandernw's "we need to laugh at ourselves," is weirdly elided with some fictional cultural identity. Thom Dunn uses we to mean Irish, when in fact he couldn't more transparently mean Bostonian Catholic Irish-American and some of our favorite unexamined assumptions. I'm sure the insult is unintentional, but it's still there. Maybe just "me" would be a better self to talk from.

The second flaw is related to this, and it's that the entire topic of Irish vampires depends on equally clumsy elisions of cultural identity. Angel as Irish? A stock caricature of a stage Oirishman, maybe, but to collapse this with Bram Stoker being a Londoner of Irish birth is just not any kind of meaningful cultural commentary at all.

Honestly, tor.com has some fun content, but if you're going to try for this kind of thought piece, you should set your thought bar a little higher. Trying to be light and funny about it isn't enough--in fact it just adds another thing to do well. It isn't the first time I've thought this about tor.com either.
C C
23. Hatgirl
Rather than reiterate what others have already said here (I will content myself with a sad, irritated sigh for what could have been), can I suggest that anyone interested in Stoker's life in Dublin (and Ireland's influences on Dracula) might want to get their hands on a copy of "The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker"
Also, the second Bram Stoker Festival will be taking place in Dublin this October. Last year they had walking tours, lectures, kiddy events... sure, it's just a simple plane ride away :-D
Somhairle Kelly
24. Dianthus
Sorry to harsh your buzz, but the best vampire (Spike) is English and the second best (Lestat) is French.
Somhairle Kelly
25. wizard clip
I read an interesting essay a couple of years back by Dennis Mcintyre of the Bram Stoker-Dracula organization in Dublin, arguing that Dracula was a metaphor for the rapacious English and Ango-Irish landlords that exploited the Irish people. I can't quite remember how effectively he actually made his case, but it's an interesting premise.

Also, I'm surprised no one's brought up Le Fanu.
Somhairle Kelly
26. Ginger
Well, at this point on Saint Patrick's Day -- a day spent in church, if one is actually Irish, and not fake-Irish like thousands of Americans -- enough other fine folks have spoken up about this tripe that pretends to be a serious post. No, seriously Mr. Dunn? You put together a collage of Boston Irish-American stereotypes, painted them as "humor", and hoped no one would see the intellectual laziness behind this. In order to be "humor", it has to be actually funny, and not just to other Americans who may or may not be of Irish descent.

It smacks not just of laziness, but also of privilege. You didn't grow up in Ireland, nor did you have to deal with the weight of centuries of people belittling the Irish as lazy, drunkards, perhaps with sexy accents, beholden to the Church for all their morals, and so on and on. People who, like you, think of the Irish as hard-drinking, hard-fighting sonsofguns really do a great disservice to all Irish descendants. The vast majority of the Irish immigrants, particularly in the 20th and early 21st centuries, have been highly technically skilled, and have blended into American society with ease. Why would you possibly think any of them would find this amusing?

Nor did you apparently grow up in the rest of America, where the Irish are not the majority as in Boston; where the rivers do not flow green on this holiday, and where people do not assume alcoholism is a part of Irish, Irish-American, or American-of-Irish Descent heritage. Even in the hills and hollers of deepest Tennessee and North Carolina, where the Scots-Irish settled in the 18th and 19th centuries, those hardscrabble farms were held by proud farming families, and do you think they would appreciate being labeled lazy alcoholics with a tendency towards vampirism by the likes of city folks?

My name is Irish. I am a second generation American, meaning all of my grandparents were born overseas. I have many cousins, some Catholic, some Protestant; some Jewish. In my grandmother's hometown, there is a Methodist church which sent a missionary to Washington DC; he founded one of the oldest extant Methodist churches in the US. Is that the kind of Irish you picture in your mind?

Another family in that same small town sent their children to Cuba, where their name mutated before they arrived in this country. Now that their name seems more "Hispanic", are they less Irish? My grandmother knew them, so they have not been Cuban for more than one generation. Are they free of the sexy Irish vampire taint now?

There is so much more to the Irish heritage, and you could have drawn seriously and critically upon that to write an essay that would have been applauded. Instead, you delivered this, followed by a few-half-hearted semi-apologies, and then sank into hiding.

I am an American of Irish Descent, and quite frankly, I am appalled.

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