His name is Paddy McFlaherty and he’s obsessed with drinking, fighting and potatoes. We can tell this because he’s holding a pint of Guinness in his right hand, while angrily clenching his left into a bloody-bandaged fist.
The “loving potatoes” part of his whole deal we can infer, subtly, from the T-shirt he’s wearing of deepest, emerald green, which declares “I © Spuds”. But this is not a Punch cartoon from the 1870s. It’s an ad from 2022, aiming to dispel myths about the Irish by concocting a singular golem of celtic stereotyping against which we might steel ourselves. Commissioned by the Irish Emigration Museum, Paddy McFlaherty is “an attempt to tackle the perception that we like fighting, drinking potatoes, and holding grudges”, to show that the true legacy of Ireland is in the incredible people, culture and innovations we’ve spread far and wide. And so, two weeks ago, he went massively viral when he was unveiled as part of their “This Is Not Us” campaign.
Look, do Irish people make fun of our own appearances because we have a well-rounded, secure vision of ourselves which doesn’t need to be bolstered by asinine pretensions to conventional beauty standards? Yes. But does this mean that Irish people are somehow less attractive than the people of other nations? Well, also yes – but who cares? To paraphrase Dylan Moran, “we’re a rugged bunch – even Irish babies look like they’ve had a decent stab at an international rugby career”.