Well-known Irish Steampunk and Alt model Black Swan Persona
Well-known Irish Steampunk and Alt model Black Swan Persona (Íomhá: Joanne Pasternak)

Because there is far too little Steampunk in Ireland, here are some links:

Steampunk Collective Ireland

Steampunk Ireland

The Josie Baggley Company

Talking to a friend a few days ago who is a sean scoil Steampunker I found him frustrated by the way the movement in Ireland is subsumed into the cod-Victoriana of the Pax Britannica, even by Irish adherences, with no distinctive identity of its own. The conversation actually came about as part of a discussion relating to the Fenian fáinne Chladaigh and other 19th century Irish Republican memorabilia. Recently he has moved towards the more welcoming environs of the Belle Époque and his Continental peers and it easy to see why. I’ve written a few unpublished stories in the Steampunk genre myself, using the struggle of the Fenian movement against the British colonial powers in the mid to late 1800s as the background with one Séamas Ó Muircheartaigh as the hero (better known to some as Professor James Moriarty).

So is there a distinctly Irish Steampunk aesthetic? I believe there is – or at least there could be. And what of a name as Gaeilge? The term Gaelpunc is probably another example of Béarlachas (not to mention that some might understandably take it as a reference to Gaelic/Celtic Punk). It would probably be right up there with other poor Gaelicisations like “Fantaisíocht. Ugh!

So, any suggestions?

UPDATE: So this post is my second mention in a year on the satirical hipster webzine Broadsheet.ie. They will probably hate me for describing them as hipsters, but honestly is there anything more hipsterish than sarcasm? I of course strongly deny being a hipster myself. I’m not sure about the “Gaelster” accusations though (apparently speaking Irish is now considered the very definition of “hipster” in Ireland!). It went under the headline “Fenian Steampunk” which to be honest I sorta like (though that might not have been the intention). There was actually a large market in “Fenian literature” in the late 1800s and early 1900s that has been all but forgotten now. Several authors made a living from it, as did a number of illustrators. There was even some Fenian “scientific romanticism” or Science-Fiction added to the mix (e.g. “A Modern Daedalus” by Tom Greer, 1885). So we certainly have some precedents on our side 😉

A Modern Daedalus by Tom Greer (1885)
A Modern Daedalus by Tom Greer (1885)

UPDATE TWO: It seems I have upset Portadown Belfast journo Newt Emerson. Oh dear. And when I regularly post articles surely more offensive to Status Quo and Unionist sensibilities than this entirely innocuous one? Its a funny old world. But at least he was kind enough to link to this piece and so help to surge today’s number of visitors. Which was nice… 😀

6 comments on “Steampunk In Ireland

  1. an lorcánach

    silver haired cailleach looks fantastic, sionnach: still it’s all an inherently anglo-americana fantasy genre (apart from the tangential-continental narratives) – fan myself of lesbian fetishist-phantasmagoria but was thinking that likes of william carleton and charles kickham are practically out of print – i don’t know — http://www.drb.ie/essays/fighting-with-shadows @


    • Agreed. If there was ever a photo-shoot for a Fann or Lí Ban from Má Mheallach, whips in hand, she would definitely be a candidate. Pretty well known Irish Alt model. Well known overseas I should say. I doubt the Sindo will be doing any interviews soon except in a “stare at the freak” way that they usual employ for anyone who doesn’t conform to their conservative straitjacket.

      Steampunk is certainly guilty of the Anglo-American dominance in the English language but there is quite a thriving market/fanbase in France and Italy with a very distinct take of their own. I started out as a Cyberpunk and have now progressed to Steampunk. I think I appreciate the (pseudo-)aesthetics of it more. Nothing wrong with a bit of “lesbian fetishist-phantasmagoria”. I was probably one of five people in Ireland who used to purchase Métal Hurlant back in the day.

      Thanks for that link. Here are a few in return 😉

      The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies

      Celtic Science Fiction & Fantasy

      Science Fiction and Fantasy set in Ireland: a checklist

      Cathal Ó Sándair


      • an lorcánach

        fascinating links there Sionnach – thanks very much – I’ll have to check those out in the morning – I guessed Irish gothick literature was only ‘revisited’ in last 20 years though to be honest I’d have to really search for the stuff – can’t afford to go downstairs in hodges higgis anymore – loss of greene’s, fred hannah’s and sister shop on quays since mid 90s is major loss in searching for inexpensive good quality seconds hand and antiquarian books – so much for choice as many of abe books online are over priced! – oíche mhaith, @


        • Ah, all the great bookshops we used to have. Its ages since I’ve gone book-shopping in the city-centre. Amazon is now the default setting. Abe used to be great until Amazon took over.


          • an lorcánach

            but sionnach as the voluptuous mary lou might say “here’s the thing!” – nothing is in isolation and ultimately everything relating to commerce and culture should be based on a social contract — how many amazon workers in uk are subjected to capitalism’s rapacious race to the bottom? – sure the staff in fred hannah’s weren’t all fantastically civil and the attractive girls in greene’s upstairs avoided eye contact but priests aren’t saints! – foinse: http://www.channel4.com/news/labour-councils-use-staff-with-zero-hours-contracts


            • Amazon in the US has been through the wringer over worker conditions there so its about time people started looking at the Scottish and European facilities.

              British Labour and our own Dear Leader’s party are ever-more ideologically synonymous. Irish Labour these days is a very pale shade of pink fading into grey.

              If this oft rumoured new centre-left social-democratic party does actually appear from the Labour refuseniks it will find a ready audience in Labour ranks. I suspect its more likely that Gilmore and co. will jump ship before the next general election to spend more time with their families (ahem…) and leave the debris of the party that was once Labour behind them.

              The last really attractive girl I saw in an Irish book-shop was a customer in De Búrca’s long ago. Tall, long red hair, several hardbacks in hand. Then she exited the door and the dark Dublin evening swallowed her up. Damn my lack of courage… 😉


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