Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Scotland vs. Ireland: They aren't the same.


A pet peeve of mine and one that will roll the eyes or get blank stares from Scots is to think Ireland and Scotland are the same. Unfortunately, ignorant Americans lump Ireland and Scotland together because of music or kilts or accents or a combination of the three. Another reason is the "over there" factor. A basic lack of knowledge causes a lot of the confusion. A lack of caring keeps the indescretion from being corrected.

I will attempt to illustrate the differences and hopefully educate those who link the two countries.




Ireland
Ireland is a country of its own. It is an island by itself. Ireland's currency is the Euro. Scotland's currency is the Pound.



Ireland has a booming software industry and is the "silicone valley" of Europe.



Scotland is known for banking. The Royal Bank of Scotland owns many US banks.




----------------------------------
Irish names begin with Mc.

McCarthy
McLaughlin


Scottish names begin with Mac.

MacKenzie
MacGregor
-----------------------------------


Northern Ireland
When I was in Scotland, when Ireland was discussed the reference was to Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland still belongs to the United Kingdom.

Northern Ireland is the onclave of the Protestants of Ireland. This is the area of the "troubles". This small part of Ireland is the only part that links Scotland and Ireland but they are as similar as Puerto Rico is to Texas. They may look familar in lots of ways but it is in the details the differences can be seen.

I think the analogy of Puerto Rico to Texas is the best for explaining the differences between Northern Ireland and Scotland. There are cultural differences and political differences.

The accents are different. Their history is different.

---------------------------------
IRELAND

The flag of Ireland is flown only in Ireland. Ireland has a President and a Prime Minister. They do not have a Queen.






---------------------------------
THE UNITED KINGDOM
consists of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.


The Union flag (Union Jack) is flown in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. They constitute the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has a Prime Minister as well as a Queen.




This flag is the governmental flag of Northern Ireland.








This is the flag of England: St. George's Cross. Notice if you put the Scottish flag and the St. George's Cross together you get the Union flag.







This is the flag of Scotland. Scotland has its own parliament but it acts much the same way as our state government. The federal decisions are made in Westminister, England. Scotland has representatives in British Parliament, again however, the affairs of Scotland are privy to the Scottish Parliament. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, is Scottish and with it comes much disdain and expectations from his fellow Scots.


This is the flag of Wales. Don't forget, Wales is also a member of the United Kingdom.





------------------------------
Ireland has its own television news network. http://www.rte.ie/ Click on the link and check it out. You might want to compare it to the BBC... http://www.bbc.co.uk/. When the BBC discusses "Ireland" it directly refers to Northern Ireland. You can click on the links inside the BBC site and you will see what I mean.

I have heard many Americans confuse Scotland with Ireland and ignorantly toss their confusion as a "what's the difference?" There is a huge difference for those who know better. If you go to Scotland and believe there is no difference, I suggest to you there is no differences between Canadians and Americans.

The next time someone lumps the two countries together, you can educate them of their ignorance.

50 comments:

English chap said...

I'm sure it's unintentional but there are a few mistakes in what you've written.

"Scotland has representatives in English Parliament, in fact, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, is Scottish."

There is no such thing as an English Parliament. England is as far as I know the only country in Europe without a parliament.

Gordon Brown is the PM of the UK Not England. But due to a highly unsatisfactory devolution process Mr Brown is in the situation where he can vote on health, education, housing, transport etc in ENGLAND but NOT in his own Scottish constituency. Needless to say the English are none too impressed and are planning to throw off the Scottish yolk asap.

Regarding the UK's flag it's only the "Union Jack" when it's flying from a ship. When it's flying ashore it's called the "union flag".

Talking of flags you seem to have missed one out - the Cross of St George. It's ok I'm used to it.

A lot of ignorant people confuse England with the UK. It's insulting but you learn to live with it.

All the best, and if anyone is visiting Scotland have a great time but see a little of England too if time allows.

Kilty said...

Thanks for the comments...
I have repaired the post as best to the ability of an American.

Scotland's Parliament should be a seperate section as it is complex and quite an interesting governing body.

American Idiot said...

Well, don't I feel dumb.

I knew ireland and scotland were seperate, but

Wales and England?

No!

That does clear up many, many things, though. I think it's out of pure pigheadedness that nothing is taught of the UK, and nobody seems to care enough to learn to distinguish.

If time allows, I think I might just learn more so that when I go abroad I don't look like some ignorant lump.

Anonymous said...

You never really deciphered much cultural difference or accent difference which I think is what a lot of people are unaware of and that would help them understand better. Details about flags, territory, politics don't really set any memorable or explanatory differences.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we Americans are aware that Scotland and Ireland are different. But thanks for pointing it out in impressively annoying fashion, you condescending prick.

Anonymous said...

Notice he doesn't criticize the South Africans for any confusion of the differences between Scotland and Ireland. The only reasons why he is criticizing "ignorant" Americans is because the Americans have the money, and he wishes he was one. Sour grapes owned.

Go back to Glasgow, drink some Jamesons, sing God Save the Queen, and shut up.

Sanders said...

why so harsh? I'm sure the author just hopes to clear things up.

Paul said...

The only reasons why he is criticizing "ignorant" "Americans is because the Americans have the money, and he wishes he was one."

Thanks Anonymous, you've just proved my point of view concerning American arrogance. I'm happy being a Scot myself and as far as I know it is YOU who like to call yourselves Irish, Scottish, German or Italian without ever having set foot out of that side of the Atlantic.

Clayton said...

Always room to learn more about an ancient and diverse area. The beauty of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England fill my heart with wonder. I still love the people and the rich history of the whole region. My time there was too short. - retired American, Col. Bo.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading the article, but then when I started reading the comments I was shocked! Why is everyone hating?? Yes SOME Americans can be ignorant and rude but why do you need to clump us all together. We are a very diverse country with many point of views. Just because we Americans say we are Irish, or Scottish, or German doesn't mean we are being rude to the countries. We are just proud of our family heritage. We like knowing where we came from, and finding out where we came from can be a real chore sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Ireland and Scotland have different flags? Who would have guessed there was such an extraordinary difference!

I will never lump the two together again now that I know they have different flags!

Thank you oh wise one for informing us ignorant morons of these astounding differences!

Anonymous said...

Well i am just the average American and i probably fall in line with what the OP disliked but we don't mean any offense by it. i knew they are not the same country although...

i think a lot of the reason i consider them the same is because their accents sound similar (for the record... i love listening to Kelly Macdonald's accent and she's Scottish ;) )

Anonymous said...

Well, that means I won't be going to Ireland for haggis fishing!

And thanks for pointing out that the founders of McDonald's were, in fact, of Irish descent!

Esteez said...

I know Scotland and Ireland have different history, different government, etc. I guess the question I should have searched was how are they alike, if at all.

Mandy said...

with the last names Irish people have an O in front of it like O'Riley i never heard of a Mc for us that's mainly Scots...i should know i am part Irish myself...but thank you for informing people about the difference

Anonymous said...

Great explanation - even here in Spain people struggle to understand the British Isles (UK plus Ireland). Good job explaining and to the detractors, please wise up.

Dominic in Barcelona

Anonymous said...

Mandy, Mc is Irish, as in McDonald for example. The Scott's use "mac". Reason for the similarity is because the Irish originally settled in Scotland. Indeed, Scoti is Latin for "Irish", hence the name Scotland. Hence, Scotch Garlic language is very, very similar to native Irish language. "Mac" just means "son", so the original family surnames were derived by which clan you belonged to (whose son you were). Likewise "O" means "of" meaning you were of that family, and "Ni" is the female equivalent. The conflicts between Ireland and England and Scotland and England led to replacement of the native languages with English and anglicisation of their names, with mc and mac resulting. More confusion - when Irish people use their non-anglicised, pure Irish names it remains "mac" (though you'll know because the entire name will be in Irish and will look strange if you've never studied it). Over the centuries, as the religious divides and plantations of English culture were implemented, the communities of both Ireland and Scotland became divided. Hence half of Scotts celebrate a common identity and culture with Ireland, while the other half hate them. To further confuse the issue, the anglicised (mainly Protestant) Scott's were then used to further plant Ireland, most recently Northern Ireland, and thus even in Northern Ireland many unionists have Scottish names and refer to themselves as "Scotch-Irish", yet detest Irishness and Catholic or "nationalist" Scott's. Furthermore, the recent troubles mean the term "Scotch-Irish" has been somewhat hijacked by sectarians today and is not really comparable to what it would have meant 100 years ago when there was no division of Ireland for example.

All this hasn't scraped the surface, but with such a long and convoluted history it's no wonder Americans get confused. Personally, as an Irishman, I just think we should accept the current state of things and ALL learn to get along. I think the Irish and the Scotts should continue celebrating our common culture and making more wonderful contributions. As for getting annoyed with American misconceptions - actually, it's quite arrogant when people on this side of the pond just expect Americans to know and care about our cultures. To me, they are Irish-American - racially the same but with a distinct history that forked from ours at some point (most commonly during the famine). From that point, they went one way due to their situation while we went another due to ours. They are proud of their roots as are we, but our presents differ. If Irish people (or Scotch or whatever) both sides of the pond could accept that, they'd stop getting so wound up by it. On the other hand, when Americans go around teaching people what Irishness is and speaking on our behalf or teaching our history without actually studying it first, it can be provocative. We have enough stereotypes as it is :)

CupcakeGirl said...

I'm sure Americans aren't so ignorant to not know that Scotland and Ireland are two completely different countries, but no one really explains the cultural differences. They always do what you posted and call us ignorant for asking, how are we going to learn if we don't ask?

Anonymous said...

Potato Potato

Anonymous said...

As others have mentioned, you never actually told us any meaningful differences between Scotland and Ireland. I came to this article expecting to be educated, and instead you gave me the equivalent of "Uganda and Nigeria are different because they have different flags and names and presidents. There!"

Please, if those are the most meaningful differences you can find between the two lands, you're not going to convince anyone that Ireland and Scotland are truly different.

Anonymous said...

The only reason we think americans are arrogant is because they think every body in england is a posh snob that speaks posh and drinks tea all day and scottish eat haggis all the time and go around wearing kilts all day. most of americans just completely believe in that sterio typical rubbish

Anonymous said...

As an Irish person, I would generally refer to Scotland as a 'foreign' land. However many people from Northern Ireland and from Donegal, in the north of the republic, would have a different view. Many Donegal people in the past migrated to and from Scotland as seasonal workers, many went on a more permanent basis. Glasgow has a large 'ethnic' Irish population (look up Glasgow Rangers & Glasgow Celtic). Unionists from northern Ireland share a common heritage with Scotland and there has been a feedback to Scotland from Northern Ireland. While many people emmigrated from Ireland in general to America, a significant minority came from a Unionist background, and these became known in america as Scots-Irish. This identity became fused with Scots in some places/families and Irish in others. So, from an american point of view, you could be Irish, Scots, or Scots-Irish.
From a surname point of view, Ireland and Scotland in the past could be viewed as a continuum, with the same gaelic language. A crossover of families and clans occurred, giving their names to many today. The mac/mc bit is not quite a hard and fast rule, (mac meaning son) with mc generally being the anglicized version, but I know many who use Mac (generally surnames in Irish).
Finally, as emmigration has continued, more or less uninterrupted to America, most Irish families have strong ties to the US. So whatever type of American you are, we don't really see you as 'foreign'. Come visit.

Anonymous said...

Good point, but lets switch that up. Be honest with yourself, how do you see americans? All i am hearing is one sided arguments of how americans are "arrogant" and "ignorant". Dont you think that we know that most countries see us as "wild arrogant cowboys who think they own the world and eat hamburgers all the time"? Im assuming everyone is trying to get rid of the stereotypes that us americans supposedly hold against all of you, but instead of pointing fingers, lets look in the mirror first...and by the way, i am a first generation Mexican-American, i know all about stereotypes! And im proud to be an american. Im here to learn, not to be bashed at.

andrea said...

As an individual who does not know all the cultural differences between Scotland and Ireland, I wish this site would have provided more in-depth information. I like that many of the posts provided additional insight.

However, I do not understand or appreciate the condescension toward all Americans. Just because I do not know all the idiosyncrasies of a particular nation does not mean that I stereotype the people who live there, and it is not fair to assume that I do.

I also don't think it's fair to expect people to be experts on all 196(ish) countries of the world, especially considering the cultural differences thriving within those
countries.

Just something to think about.

Anonymous said...

As I was doing research on my family background, I came across your site. I don't know if you have spent much time in America, if so you should know that we as American's come from very diverse backgrounds. They don't call us a melting pot for no reason. I discovered that my family came over from Ayrshire in 1765. Until my grandfathers generation, the men of the family married within their communities. They married strictly Scots until 1910. So I am only two generations removed. I consider that to be a strong blood tie back to Scotland. I may be American, but my blood line is really no different than yours. My family just recently participated in the Human Genome project. As it turns out since there were hundreds of years when the Scots and the Irish co-mingled or migrated for multiple reasons, the two share very strong blood lines. We are actually more Irish. The family name Nevin stems from McNavien. According to you that is an Irish name. According to immigration records from the 1700's my Great Grandfather and his family had been in Scotland for at least a 100 years. So, while they may be two separate communities now, with different identies, there is still much that is the same. While American's or people for that matter are not perfect, I find your blanketed statement regarding American's ironic. In a sense, we are all cousins. America is vast, and so are the communities, regions, ethnic and racial communities. There are still strong German, Irish, Scottish, African, Indian, English etc communities in America. Please remember, we had large amounts of immigrants still coming to America well into the 1920's. Our dialects are different from state to state. Maybe you should visit America and explore a little more if you have not done so already. As for us considering ourselves Scots or Irish, its because we have grandparents who migrated. Our grandparents are no different than yours. They just choose to get on a ship or plane and come on over to America.

Anonymous said...

Of course we believe that, it's the truth! You forgot how you guys have horrible teeth and irish/scottish follow rainbows for leprecons, oh and don't forget Brits are a bunch of pussys like the sissynannys football (real fucking football that is) team from family guy.

Anonymous said...

Black wanglies

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm American, but just because I wasn't born in Ireland doesn't mean I'm not Irish. Im very Irish, actually, and just wanted to say that not all of us are as stupid as that person who wrote that comment up there. I'm really sick of people grouping all Americans together and calling us whatever the hell you want. Hey, there's horrible people here, ignorant, disgusting slobs, but those types of people are everywhere. Not just in America. And sorry if were proud of our heritage, but no one is really "100% American" because it's made of countries all over the world.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of sports, have you ever tried rugby? As my Britsh friend Chloe once said, "I don't understand American football. They should play rugby. It's football for REAL men."

Anonymous said...

Very true. I'm American, but second generation Danish on my dad's side and first generation Irish on my mom's side.

Anonymous said...

Its so funny, how everyone is defending their country from stereotypes but than goes on to say, all Americans believe in these stereotypes, or all Americans are ignorant. well aren't you doing the same? stereotyping us? so before you start getting upset by what " all Americans" do to you, make sure your not doing it back.

And i will agree, that a lot of American's are not well educated when it comes to cultural, geographical, and social differences of different races and countries, that usually is because there is a wide variety of different types of education levels and cultural exposure. So honestly it depends on the person rather than the country, wouldn't you agree?

Also, I think the better question would be why are Scotland and Ireland so similar, did they once own the other or do they have the same ancestors etc. I think that's what most people truly expect to learn when they ask whats the difference.

Be grateful that they're not comparing you to something completely absurd like Australia or Wales. I hate when people say whats the difference between mexico and puerto rico, or ecuador and dominican republic because that is truly comparing orange and apples. I will say that a lot of Americans do that more than anything. I am a young hispanic woman and first generation American, I love learning about the cultures of different countries, so as a generation, as a race, and as an american, we aren't all ignorant.

Thank you
Isabel

Anonymous said...

My wife is 100 percent native American... go fish lol

trickortreat said...

Thank you for the post on this topic. I have been to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland,and England and I still learned something from this post. My next trip will include Wales and the Isle of Man. I understand that the intent of the article was to be helpful and it was written for people of a wide age range. "Thank you" is all that needs to be said. Shame on the flamers.

Anonymous said...

My family came from Ireland in the early 1800s and landed in Texas in the 1840s.

A friend of mine is first generation American (his father came in 1947) from Ireland (now the Republic). He proceeded to tell me that am not Irish but in fact an American of Irish decent.

He proudly proclaimed himself the only "true" Irish in the bar.

I explained to him that if his family had not left prior 1840, they most likely were raped by the English successively for the next 100 years and were merely afforded an Irish surname by a sense of English guilt.

A. Bruce McDonald said...

Are you still an active blogger. I have a number of things I'd like to comment on, but IM not sure anyone is out there??? Andrew Bruce McDonald... As Scottish a name as there ever was... Mc Mac M'ic m'hic m' it's all the same. It is a patronymic naming system used by many people's and cultures. The names MacDonald, McDonald, McDonnell, Mcdonell McKonnel, MacDomnhuill, MacDonal and many other forms are the same. It is a myth that Mc is Irish and Mac is Scottish. Pick up a Scottish phone directory or look at any Scottish genealogy site, look at immigrant passenger ship lists...

Horrace Njord said...

I'm half-Irish and half-Native American. I live in U.S.A. and was raised to respect the difference between cultures. You keep calling us "Americans" and that can't claim heritage. Ironically, the only "True Americans" to put it bluntly, are Native Americans. You should learn about us, it might be an interesting experience. American people you call "American" are really just people raised in U.S.A. That's like us saying every Scottish person in Ireland is "Irish." We're so different from each other between States, it's almost like going to different countries. So, no, we're not all the same.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for calling this to attention

Anonymous said...

So you complained about Americans lumping you all together and yet you just did the same to us. You're such an idiot! Puerto Rico and Texas have absolutely no similarities except for the fact that both are under the US government. That's like comparing Japan to Madagascar. And by the way, the US is not the only country in America, so if you were referring to us you should've been a bit more specific.

Anonymous said...

Hi. It is Silicon Valley, (rather than silicone)The term originally referred to the region's large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers, but eventually came to refer to all high-tech businesses in the area, and is now generally used as a metonym for the American high-technology sector. (...wikipedia)
I'm pretty sure a silicone valley is found between a set of boob implants hahaha.

Anonymous said...

Your wife isn't 100% native American. Native American is a term that was never used until the 20th century's later half. Even now, it is the source of much confusion and even though it is an attempt at being politically correct, it isn't. You MEAN to say 100% Chippewa....Navajo....Arapaho.....talk about ignorant....

Anonymous said...

Dude you're a racist. Just because some Americans can be dumbasses doesn't mean you get to trash all of us.

pictishbeastie said...

The bit about Irish names beginning with Mc and Scots ones Mac is frankly pish! Mc is an abbreviation of Mac, in both Irish and Scottish names!

pictishbeastie said...

A. Bruce McDonald said: " Andrew Bruce McDonald... As Scottish a name as there ever was"

Still doesn't make you Scottish though, does it? No matter how often I'm sure you say you are. You're not Scottish, you're an American of Scots descent.

pictishbeastie said...

There really is an incredible amount of misinformed nonsense in these comments. Here's a radical idea for all you experts on the history of my country. Read a good book about Scottish History by a reputable Scottish historian and don't believe 90% of what you read on the web.

Lily said...

America is a confederation of 50 separate countries. (52 if you are the President, haha.) America is almost the same size as the EU and the population s 300 million vs 500 million.

California and Texas have economies, population, and size that rival any country in Europe on their own. Even Florida and New York are bigger than most of the EU nations.

To put it in perspective:

The Republic of Ireland would be one of our smaller states and in the middle of the pack as far as economy and population goes. (Adjusted for cost of living, the economy would be lower.)

Scotland is smaller.

Even all of the UK is about equivalent to California and Texas population and economy and the UK is 4 countries put together.

You want Americans to consider Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England as separate entities with different cultures and lifestyles, but then you lump all 50 states together like there is no difference between them even though one could easily make the case that California, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and New York are far more different than Ireland, Scotland, and England.

England is the UK in the same way that the USA is the USA. Each of our states and territories have their own government but fall under the umbrella of the federal government. Much in the same way that it works in the UK. You might call it different things, but it is the same. Wales, Ireland, England, and Scotland are all states in the UK.

The United States is so much more diverse than the UK that it isn't even funny.

That being said, I loved traveling on your side of the pond and will be doing so again next year. I must say the amount of ignorance of the world outside of your tiny part of it is pretty amusing.

The British aren't any more traveled or worldly than the Americans once you put it into perspective. Going to France is like going to the next state over for us.

As a small, relatively insignificant country, I'm not sure why you are so prideful and snobby about it.

Lily said...

America is a confederation of 50 separate countries. (52 if you are the President, haha.) America is almost the same size as the EU and the population s 300 million vs 500 million.

California and Texas have economies, population, and size that rival any country in Europe on their own. Even Florida and New York are bigger than most of the EU nations.

To put it in perspective:

The Republic of Ireland would be one of our smaller states and in the middle of the pack as far as economy and population goes. (Adjusted for cost of living, the economy would be lower.)

Scotland is smaller.

Even all of the UK is about equivalent to California and Texas population and economy and the UK is 4 countries put together.

You want Americans to consider Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England as separate entities with different cultures and lifestyles, but then you lump all 50 states together like there is no difference between them even though one could easily make the case that California, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and New York are far more different than Ireland, Scotland, and England.

England is the UK in the same way that the USA is the USA. Each of our states and territories have their own government but fall under the umbrella of the federal government. Much in the same way that it works in the UK. You might call it different things, but it is the same. Wales, Ireland, England, and Scotland are all states in the UK.

The United States is so much more diverse than the UK that it isn't even funny.

That being said, I loved traveling on your side of the pond and will be doing so again next year. I must say the amount of ignorance of the world outside of your tiny part of it is pretty amusing.

The British aren't any more traveled or worldly than the Americans once you put it into perspective. Going to France is like going to the next state over for us.

As a small, relatively insignificant country, I'm not sure why you are so prideful and snobby about it.

cathy said...

Thanks to him he settle a argument between me and my mom,I always tried to tell her they were separte countries. She thinks were scouth irish, but there not we have irish in our blood. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I'll just settle for being 100% human. When you really think about it, we are all mixed.

Anonymous said...

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CBkQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fgeography.about.com%2Fb%2F2007%2F03%2F07%2Fgeneticists-english-irish-scottish-and-welsh-are-same-people.htm&ei=EYO7U6-WJdDw8AGTnIDgBQ&usg=AFQjCNFEMdc_grMcmV-82zmQsLe1sMue7w&sig2=LAtKz-LPevN47zH5-TVxjA

Anonymous said...

Uuuuuum... All the states have different flags too. Have you ever stopped to consider our history classes have to include a whole lot of different things. The country is so large that a lot of history has been made in the short time we have been one. We may be ignorant to certain aspects of the world but that is only because that extra knowledge must be obtained in our own studies. Most people don't care to further their knowledge on Ireland vs. Scotland because they aren't planning on traveling and exploring anywhere other than the large and diverse areas of America. The people that are reading this blog are most likely planning on traveling and exploring one of the topic countries and its not very nice to group world traveler with ignorant people who have never left their backyard, much less to another state. Last but not least, ignorant voices do tend to be the loudest in any disagreement. So by all means shout your opinion.

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