‘Rory Gallagher’s Leprechaun Boogie’: Irish Stereotyping in the International Music Press

O'Hagan, Lauren Alex (2022). ‘Rory Gallagher’s Leprechaun Boogie’: Irish Stereotyping in the International Music Press. RISE, 5(2)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32803/rise.v5i2.3099


This paper seeks to explore the presence of Irish stereotyping in the international music press using a case study of the Irish blues rock musician Rory Gallagher. Using a dataset of 600 articles about Gallagher published between 1968 and 1998, it draws upon a combination of corpus and thematic analysis to identify frequently occurring Irish stereotypes and how they were used to describe him, embedding arguments in postcolonial theory, particularly the work of Homi K. Bhabha. The analysis identifies five major themes—the Irish as violent troublemakers; the Irish as heavy drinkers; the ‘Irish’ way of talking, the Irish as ‘dumb Paddys’; Irish folklore and traditional ways of life—highlighting the different roles into which Gallagher was unwillingly cast by the music press. These references often wrapped Irish prejudice in a cloak of fun and frivolity, which made it seem harmless and trivial. However, such disparagement humour fostered discrimination by moulding (negative) public opinion of what it meant to be Irish at a time when Anglo-Irish tensions were already high and ignored the deeply emotional impact of the Northern Irish conflict on Gallagher. It also took attention away from Gallagher’s music and, in doing so, downplayed the important contribution he made to the world of blues and rock.

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