Irish Today, Hung Over Tomorrow. Let’s Get Ready To Stumble. Each year Irish culture is disparaged on the shelves. Especially in countries far away, where people celebrating Irish events like St Patrick’s Day have never set foot in Ireland. It may come as a surprise to them that we are not a bunch of drunken leprechauns, all punching each other in the face.
One NY-based company, founded by Irishman James Hampton, has embarked on a quest to restore dignity and respect into the charade of “Irish” branding in the U.S.
Hampton says that the “Irish Yoga” style merchandise is disrespectful to such great Irish figures as James Hoban – the White House designer, and to Wexford-born John Barry, credited as ‘The Father Of The American Navy.’
So Hampton and his company HistoryGear.com have expanded its “Irish Collection” to pay homage to the Irish and Irish Americans that helped define history.
The company’s founder hails from Saul, County Down in the North of Ireland. “I’ve lived in the US for over 22 years and am sick of the demeaning garbage. All the big retailers cash in and disparage the legacy of our patron saint with designs such as ‘Show Me Your Shamrocks’, ‘I’m So Irish, My Liver Hurts’ and classics such as ‘Lets Get Ready To Stumble’. It verges on racism. I take it personally as my family hails from Saul, where Saint Patrick landed in 432. My mother’s house is in the shadow of Slieve Patrick where a large statue of the saint watches over the county.”
HistoryGear.com has recently launched its collection of Irish Art Prints, which pay homage to Saint Patrick and the Easter Rising of 1916. T-shirt designs include ‘Choctaw 47’ honouring the $170 famine donation in 1847 made by American Native Peoples.
- The Irish Brigade – The infamous ‘Clear the way’ Brigade of the Civil War.
- Andrew Jackson – Son of Scots-Irish immigrants from County Antrim.
- Billy the Kid – Born in NYC in around 1860 to Irish immigrants.
The company do seem to have forgotten about the women of events such as The Rising, who need recognition too. But for now, it’s an improvement on the tacky racist gear available.
NY-based HistoryGear.com is an online retailer that specialises in history-inspired designs. Says Hampton, “We believe dialogue about our past will improve all our futures. Each design can become part of today’s conversation. We are committed to learning about the past and promoting dialogue about the extraordinary stories, accomplishments, and journeys that have brought us to where we are now.”