British legislation against Irish culture (hairstlyes specifically
included) has a very long history. The Statutes of Kilkenny were put into
place in 1306 and remained in effect until the seventeenth century. These
were an attempt to outlaw Irish music, poetry, language, games, and a
whole horde of other obstacles to British conquest.
Many Elizabethan writers made much of the coolin (aka "glib") as a
measure of the supposed savagery of the Irish race. Edmund Campion in "A
History of Ireland" (1571) says "Proud they are of long, crisped glibs,
and do nourish the same with all their cunning: to crop the front thereof
they take it for a notable piece of villainy."
Edmund Spenser (of "Faerie Queen" fame and also holder of 3000 acres of
the second Munster Plantation) wrote about glibs in his 1596
essay "A View of the Present State of Ireland." He records that the Irish
wear "long glibs, which is a thick, curled bush of hair hanging down over
their eyes, and monstrously disguising them." Spenser maintains that the
glib aids in the Irish resistance to the Crown because "besides their
salvage (sic) brutishness and loathly filthiness, which is not to be
named, they are fit masks as a mantle is for a thief, for whensoever he
hath run himself into that peril of the law that he will not be known, he
either cutteth off his glib quite, by which he becometh nothing like
himself, or pulleth it so low down over his eyes that it is very hard to
discern his thievish countenance."
So now you know why you shouldn't trust those long-haired Irish
ps- sorry for the long lapse between posting and reply.
On Wed, 27 Dec 1995, Tim Hoke wrote:
> I think I've read somewhere that coolins were a hairstyle popular among the
> Irish. An English ruler (Eliz. I?) outlawed the practice of wearing coolins.
> No idea what they looked like--I keep picturing dreadlocks in mind's eye,
> Of course I can't find the book where I read this (standard disclaimer).