Close up, the Irish, and Irish-Americans, are a pretty hardscrabble lot: famines, economic troubles, alcoholism, a whole lot of sunburns (for those of us in the U.S., anyway). But a glimmer of something fabulous lurks beneath the surface of freckles and greenery. After all, Ireland is well-known for its beauty and its mystery – a pretty glamorous combination.
It might be difficult to spot anything glamorous at your local St. Patrick’s Day parade, where it’s hidden among a whole lot of Guinness-waving frat boys in “I’m Irish Today” t-shirts. But it’s probably there anyway, in the little old man walking with the Hibernians, or the ancient lady in a green blazer and comfortable shoes.
They might not look like movie stars, but these characters are pretty glamorous anyway. They embody the Romantic ideal of the “Noble Savage” – good, simple individuals at the mercy of civilization. Unfettered by societal pressures and norms, their innate goodness would help them live ideal lives, but as a part of civilization, life is difficult and imperfect.
Add to that all the mythology that surrounds Irish life – the magic, the fairies, the leprechauns – and you’ve got some glamour. Even if it is buried underneath a messy pile of frizzy red hair and a big, bulky sweater.