Irishman backs project to challenge stereotypes

To mark St Patrick’s Day (17 March), The Irishman whiskey will sponsor The Paddy Irishman art project, a New York-based exhibition that challenges Irish stereotypes.

The multimedia, not-for-profit project is being exhibited in several high-profile locations from 12-17 March in New York City.

The Paddy Irishman Project by photographic artist Ross O’Callaghan captures the stories of 50 people identifying as Irish and male, whose names are either Paddy, Pat or Pádraig.

O’Callaghan’s inspiration was to meet, photograph, record and curate the stories of each person through photography and audio-visual media.

He said: “My idea was always to take a far-reaching, affectionate and curious look at the depth and breadth of the Irish male and their experience, while challenging a stereotype that has followed us for generations.

“My intention has always been to launch in New York City – to export a new vision of Ireland, a snapshot of us no matter how we identify or whatever our beliefs, tradition or birth right. This is about who we were, who we are and where we’re going.”

The 50 ‘Paddies’ are diverse in age, background, ethnicity and sexuality. Collectively, their stories challenge the prejudice of stereotypical views and reveal a new narrative that explores identity on Ireland in the 21st century.

The Irishman founder Bernard Walsh said: “The renaissance of Irish whiskey in recent decades, which The Irishman whiskey has been a leader in, aligns very well with The Paddy Irishman Project.

“We too have been challenging stereotypes since 1999, both our own and other peoples’, in terms of what we know about and can expect from an Irish whiskey.”

He added: “We hope that many of the two million people that come to New York City for St Patrick’s week will make time to engage with the both The Paddy Irishman project and The Irishman whiskey and think afresh of Irishness and Irish whiskey. The two don’t have to go hand-in-hand, but it’s a fine combination if they do.”

The project will also exhibit during Easter to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, the international deal that brought peace to the island of Ireland in 1998.

Earlier this month, we spoke to Irish bar owners about how the on-trade can authentically celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

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Author: Georgie Collins