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Thread: Ireland: a nation of extremes ?

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    Question Ireland: a nation of extremes ?

    The people of Ireland really confuse me. Since I am mostly Irish, this is of interest to me. Of all of the ethnic Irish that I know, about half are the most depigmented red-haired, white skinned-people, but the other half are very dark haired and very dark brown-skinned people. I have read that the Meds. in Ireland are less than 5 %, but it seems to be 50% with these features. Maybe it is not Med. at all? I dont know. It seems strange that the cloudy Irish isles are home to the lightest and darkest Europeans that I have seen. Please help explain.

    Sorry - this is supposed to go in Physical Anth. not the originally posted place.

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    Senior Member Vestmannr's Avatar
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    Post Re: Ireland- a nation of extemes??

    Dark haired Irish are most often Brunn, Atlantid, or Keltic Nordic depending upon other characteristics. I don't think any of them have dark skin. While living in Ireland, I noticed that by far the black haired Irish typically had a pasty white skin and freckling - similar to Redheads. Only in the East did I find any that tanned, but no more so than Welshmen. Not sure where you've seen 'brown-skinned' Irishmen, unless you mean Shaquille O'Neil?
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    Post Re: Ireland- a nation of extemes??

    The strange thing is, that in the USA, alot of the ethnic Irish (I'll say at least 70% Irish background or more) are dark skinned. My dad is light brown but tans as dark as Amerindians. Its strange. BTW, we are from NW Ireland (last name is Kearney.) The same goes for lots of other Irish I know. But they do always still have light blue eyes (which looks kind of creepy haha.)

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    Post Re: Ireland- a nation of extemes??

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan1211
    The strange thing is, that in the USA, alot of the ethnic Irish (I'll say at least 70% Irish background or more) are dark skinned. My dad is light brown but tans as dark as Amerindians. Its strange. BTW, we are from NW Ireland (last name is Kearney.) The same goes for lots of other Irish I know. But they do always still have light blue eyes (which looks kind of creepy haha.)
    'Nordic' types can tan quite well. That is usually how they have divided up previously: Nordic tans, UP doesn't. I tend to think it is must a characteristic that varies: that the original European population developed tanning in the southern parts of the continent, and the northern parts of the continent preserved or evolved to the lack of tanning. I'm guessing you mean Eastern Woodland Amerindians, as they don't tend to get much darker than 'Italians and Jews', as one early American Colonial writer put it. Amerindians out West get as dark as Dravidians. But, I know what you mean: I'm one of those light eyed, dark haired individuals that can tan as dark as an Assyrian/Chaldean/Syrian/Aramaean looks naturally. If I stay out of the sun, I might as well be a vampire for how white I look (which probably explains my natural attraction to pale white skin, rather than 'tans'. )

    Look around at some of the various links to genetic surveys done of Europe. Ireland is pretty much one of the most homogenous countries genetically. It has one of the least amounts of genetic material from the Middle East or Southeastern Europe. Most of its genetic material it shares with the rest of Western Europe along the Atlantic coast. I don't think that the exact genes have been identified in Ireland as to why some are red, others blonde, and most dark brown (even black haired.) Ireland is also one of the areas with the least amount of African influence in Europe. My personal opinion is simply that the dark hair and such in Ireland and the Celtic fringe is an archaic trait from the first Stone Age European population.
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    Post Re: Ireland- a nation of extemes??

    I guess that makes sense. In the US, the UP and Nordic mixed causing the black hair and dark skin to be combined.

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    Post Re: Ireland- a nation of extemes??

    Also, I question the self-reported ethnic origins of Americans not of recent extraction. I've met enough recent immigrants being "creative" with self-descriptions; i.e. Lebanese describing themselves as "European" of "Sicilian" background - i.e., trying to seem European while giving a usually passable reason for looking dark. So I wonder what the real pedigrees of some of these "Irish" are.
    "Whatever is done from love always occurs beyond good and evil." - F. Nietzsche

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    Post Re: Ireland- a nation of extemes??

    Quote Originally Posted by Scoob
    So I wonder what the real pedigrees of some of these "Irish" are.
    Yes, because if they are truly 'brown', they are most likely mixed with something non-European. Somewhat like a certain group of the 'Pennsylvania Deutsch' that do have both Native American, Jewish, and even Sinti Gypsy admixture (not all PA Deutsch, mind you.)
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    Post Re: Ireland- a nation of extemes??


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    Post Re: Ireland- a nation of extemes??

    What an interesting thread. I do know many Americans with Amerindian admixture, that could explain some of the people I describe. I dont know about the Berber mix in Britain though. 500 people couldnt contribute that many genes to the genepool of a nation. I guess the best way to look at what real pigmentation is would be to look at the person in the dead of winter when they would be lightest.

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    Post Re: Ireland- a nation of extemes??

    I worked at a place once full of second, third, fifth and so on, people of Irish ancestry. Still, after a long time, these people retained some Irish cultural ways. One of these is really rough kidding. This became a lot of fun and anyone of Irish ancestry was allowed to take part, so I did.

    Hair color and pigmentation was up for discussion. I heard terms like "Black Irish" applied to everyone with dark hair and then an immediate association to any Black American with an Irish last name. Other terms like "kitchen Irish" were also mentioned. Most of these guys all had hair problems, balding, hair grafts, hair dye so this was a lot of laughs. Evidently, there is a dark-haired element among the Irish which they acknowledge.

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