The Scots (originally Irish, but by now Scotch) were at this time inhabiting Ireland, having driven the Irish (Picts) out of Scotland; while the Picts (originally Scots) were now Irish (living in brackets) and vice versa. It is essential to keep these distinctions clearly in mind (and verce visa).
— - 1066 and All That
Scotland, Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland condensed into the same place. The Loch Ness Monster, Leprechauns
, shamrocks, threatening people with shillelaghs*
, potatoes, haggis, plaid (actual plaid, or tartan), kilts, clans, castles, caber tossing, and a lot
of angry drunk people
This is the only other part of the British Isles that's not London
. In fact, the Republic of Ireland isn't politically part of Britain
, but if Hollywood can't get geography
right then politics don't stand a chance. Wales sometimes gets lumped in as well, the few times it's featured outside of UK media. This trope is probably helped by the fact that the Scottish and Irish are both Celtic in origin, and have enough in common culturally to be distinguished from the Germanic Anglos
without having a similarly clear distinction between themselves.
Also not to be confused with the American ethnic term 'Scots-Irish'
for people who are, um, both and neither all at once
The prevalence of this trope in American media is probably due to the fact that, to untrained U.S. ears, Scottish and Irish accents sound remarkably similar. This trope does not exist in Canadian media, however, as the Irish and the Scots are seen as completely distinct races. It's said that the longer an Irishman lives in Canada the more Canadian he gets, but the longer a Scotsman lives in Canada the more Scots he gets. Some Scotsmen have lived in Canada for so long that their accent has become completely indecipherable.
It's worth noting that there is a long history of cultural exchange between Ireland and Scotland, to the point that Scots-Gaelic and Irish Gaelic are considered mutually intelligible languages, and a good chunk of the Northern Irish
population is descended from Scottish "planters", so the trope is somewhat rooted in fact, albeit loosely.
Compare Britain Is Only London
, Ancient Grome
, and Mayincatec
. See also Violent Glaswegian
, Fighting Irish
, Bonnie Scotland
. Oddly, Scottish actors and actresses have a disproportionate tendency to be cast as Irish characters
. Whether this is a side effect of this trope or whether it actually helps enforce it is anyone's guess.
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Adaptations and other cross-media examples
- Wolfsbane from X-Men is supposed to be Scottish, but her accent and culture switch back and forth between Irish and Scottish.
- Moira McTaggart has this same problem.
- Silver Banshee from Superman is literally from Scotireland; when the writers realised they'd based a Scottish character on Irish mythology, they claimed Siobhan McDougal was actually from a fictional island in the Straits of Moyle.
- Though there's an awful lot of overlap between Scottish and Irish mythology (or rather, there's no vaguely unified Scottish mythology, and a significant chunk of Irish mythology is shared with or even set in Scotland). Banshees (with different spellings and pronunciations outside of English) exist in both.
- Suprisingly the DC New 52 version of Silver Banshee drops the Scottish connection entirely and retcons Siobhan as coming from Dublin.
- In a meta sense, The Untouchables, where Sean Connery plays an Irish cop using his real accent, and it's never addressed. This is, however, rather common for Connery.
- In Finding Forrester, at the end Forrester (Sean Connery) tells his young friend Jamal that he's going back to his homeland.
Jamal: You mean Ireland?
Forrester: Scotland, for God's sake...
Jamal: (laughs) I'm just messing with you, man.
- In the G.I. Joe movie, the Scottish villain has programmed his missile to respond to commands in Irish.
- Was it not in "Gaelic"? Which could make sense as it describes the family of Irish/Scottish/Manx languages.
- Actually it was "Celtic". Because that's definitely a language.
- In The Crying Game Irish terrorist Fergus initially tells Londoner Dil that he is Scottish, and Dil appears to believe him. Possibly justified in that London has a wide variety of accents and Dil, being young and perhaps inexperienced, might not have known the difference.
- Somewhat justified in that the Irish accents found in the north of Ireland (where Fergus is from) are very close to Scottish due to the large amount of Scottish Protestant people who settled there during the Ulster Plantation several hundred years ago.
- 25thHour and The Departed are particularly bad as both feature Irish-American storylines yet include rousing renditions of 'Scotland the Brave'.
- Scotland the Brave is one of the first songs that a bagpipe student learns, and is therefore a staple of pipe bands. It's not uncommon to hear it played during St. Patrick's Day parades, so its presence at the police academy graduation in The Departed is not completely out of the blue.
- Lampshaded in Tom Clancy's Patriot Games when one of the ULA bad guys comments to himself how the staff at the American airport he landed in couldn't tell the difference between a Scottish burr and an Irish brogue.
- Loosely autobiographical McCarthy's Bar by Pete McCarthynote (an Englishman who inexplicably feels that he ought to be Irish) has a scene with stereotypical truck-sized American tourist couple in a faux-Irish pub. After a hearty meal, the husband is puffing on a large cigar and ordering another shot of "this great Irish Scotch".
Live Action Television
- Scottish bagpipes play a Mixolydian mode scale, while Irish bagpipes play a full two octaves. This means that it's easier to write melodic sounding "Scottish bagpipe" music using Irish bagpipes.
- The Braveheart soundtrack explicitly used Irish bagpipes despite being set in Scotland specifically due to this issue - the composer wasn't able to get a sound he liked from Scottish pipes (some the movie was filmed in Ireland too).
- NPR's long running show The Thistle and Shamrock showcases music from Ireland and Scotland, taking its name from the two nations' symbols. To the untrained ear (ie: most people) there is no discernible difference between the two styles. Host Fiona Ritchie has a lovely authentic accent, as well.
- Countless "Irish" punk bands use Scottish tunes or pipes in their music, or intersperse a traditional Scottish song with Irish Gaelic.
- A bit of commentary in WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 has something to this effect - Coach refers to the oh-so-very Irish Finlay as English. When called on it by way of Michael Cole listing all of the extremely Irish things about him, Coach indicates that he knows the difference between English and Scottish.
- The introduction of the Merida face character at the Disney Theme Parks sparked a minor controversy when many of the actresses couldn't get the accent right and sounded more Irish than Scottish.
- Inverted in Legally Blonde: The Musical, in the song "Ireland". Paulette dreams of meeting an Irish man and living in Ireland, and confuses Scottish and Irish culture- which Elle (and the audience) find funny.
- Valkyria Chronicles features a recruitable sniper named Catherine O'Hara. While it's never stated that she's from the game's alternate universe versions of Ireland or Scotland, her accent veers dramatically between the two whenever she speaks.
- For what it's worth 'O'Hara' is very definitely an Irish rather than Scottish name, associated as it is with Sligo and being an anglicisation of 'Ó hEaghra'.
- The succubus Morrigan Aensland of Darkstalkers fame was discovered as an infant by her adoptive father Belial in Scotland and her D.O.B. (1678 A.D.) coincides with the first appearance of a succubus in Scotland, but her name and some of her character quirks are taken from a deity in Irish mythology. With the exception of the 90s cartoon, the dub of the Night Warriors/Vampire Hunter OVA, and the recent Marvel Vs Capcom 3, her English voice actresses also tend to give Morrigan an American accent, not a Scottish one. By a technicality, this would make her "younger sister" Lilith also qualify for this trope.
- Parodied in Toonstruck: The bartender in Cutopia is a head of green cheese, shaped like a shamrock, wearing a tam-o-shanter and a kilt, whose accent alternates between Irish and Scottish every other line. Yes, that's right; he's half Irish, half Scottish. It's that kind of game.
- Cult British stop-motion animated series Portland Bill is a rare justified example, as the action is clearly taking place somewhere on the coast of the Irish Sea. As noted in Real Life below, there's been engough intermarrying and cross-colonisation over the centuries that the differences in accent are quite subtle.
- Borderline Example: Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness in The Elder Scrolls series has an Irish accent when calm, and a Scottish accent when excited.
- In Bowser's Kingdom episode 7, Hal and a Chomp Bro. fight in an event called "Shell Wrestling". Hal states that if he can beat a gorilla wearing a tie (Donkey Kong), then he can take down a German Turtle. The Chomp Bro. then reveals he's Austrian and punchs Hal off the stage. This example could be called Germaustria in this case.
- Nineteen Eighty Three Doomsday has Ireland merge with Scotland after the collapse of the United Kingdom, creating the Celtic Alliance.
- Gargoyles manages to avert this a fair bit in the episodes where they visit Ireland and (modern) Scotland. One of the principal settings is an old Scottish castle...
- Even though in the flashbacks to old times, some of the voices came out sounding more Irish.
- Also, they should be speaking Gaelic. But...
- Phineas and Ferb went ahead and made a character who was half-Scottish, half-Irish, presumably in an attempt to avert this trope, or perhaps a parody.
- One for the England vs. Wales aspect: The early-90s Hanna-Barbera cartoon Young Robin Hood featured an episode where Prince John had hatched yet another plan to steal the throne of England from his brother Richard. Said plot heavily involved the Duke of Wales. There has never been, in all of history, a Duke of Wales....because Wales is not and never has been a duchy. In fact, during the reign of Richard the Lionheart, Wales was still ruled by its own native princes; it wouldn't be properly absorbed into the English crown's holdings until the reign of Edward I.
- And if it had been, Prince John would have been the Prince of Wales.
- Miner Smurf of The Smurfs is spoken of as having either an Irish or a Scottish accent.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars presents us with the Lurmen, a race of ScotIrish sentient lemurs whose Actual Pacifist sentiments are rather a Shout Out to the Irish peace process.
- The Adventures Of Portland Bill neatly dodged this one by never quite getting around to specifying which side of the Irish Sea it was set on.
- This definitely can count as a Justified Trope in some cases. There has been quite a bit of cultural exchange between Scotland and Ireland, especially recently. At the beginning of the 20th century, Irish Republicans adopted the kilt as a sign of Celtic solidarity and identity in their struggle for independence from the UK. And Northern Irish Unionists occasionally display the St Andrew's Cross to celebrate their Scottish heritage.
- This Overheard in the Office quote:
Receptionist: How was Ireland?
Office manager: Actually, I was in Scotland.
Receptionist: That's not the same place?
- In a 2010 interview for Irish televison Katy Perry seemed under the impression the Loch Ness Monster lives in Ireland. Perhaps they confused a each uisge with a peist.
- That could help with the tourism industry if we explain (s)he's just hiding over here then.
- In fairness, the sons of Usnach went into exile on the shores of Loch Ness.
- In July 2011 James O'Keefe released a heavily edited video of himself pretending to be an IRA member applying for medicaid for his Irish friends, while wearing a Scottish tartan and sporran.
- The Scots and Irish are not only both Celtic, but they are also both Gaelic, as is the Isle of Man. Thus, Scottish and Irish culture and language are very similar, with the Gaels originating in Ireland. The other (extant) group of Celts are the Brythonics, who inhabit Wales, Brittany and Cornwall.
- Indeed, this is what the page quote is talking about. You see, the land now called Scotland was formerly inhabited by the Picts, who spoke a language that was, if not Brythonic, than closely related to to the Brythonic.* Around the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Irish started raiding the island of Great Britain; the Romans and Romanized Britons (the Brythonic-speaking ancestors of the Welsh, Cornish, and Bretons) called them Scoti, i.e. Scots. Eventually, some of these Scots from Ireland settled in the northern part of the island, conquering and marrying the Picts, and still keeping contact with Ireland (which was after all a very short boat trip away even in those days).
- There's some argument over the language the Picts actually spoke. Bythronic [Welsh, Breton and Cornish] is thought to be influenced by the Romans while the Picts were never conquered.
- Over time, Scotland and Ireland grew apart, and the next time there was a big movement of people, it was the other way around—Protestant, English-speaking* Scots joined the English in building "plantations"—i.e. colonies—in Ireland, particularly the northern part of the island (closest to Scotland). Many of these Scottish immigrants weren't too well-off themselves, and eventually moved to America—from which we get the "Scots-Irish". People from the Isles might know them better as Ulster Scots, but either way, the US is chock-full of them, including much of the population of the South (from which we get Country Music—based heavily in Celtic folk traditions—and the South's obsession with all things deep-fried) and at least seventeen Presidents of the United States.
- Then, to confuse the issue further, a lot of Ulster Protestants, mostly Presbyterian and descended from Scots, immigrated to the west of Scotland and Glasgow, at the same time as many Catholic Irish. Thus, in Scotland today, there are Scots of Irish Catholic origin (usually from the north and Donegal) and Scots of Ulster Protestant origin, and just plain Scots, and people who are half Irish Catholic and half Scottish Protestant.
- Scotland actually derives its English name from what the Romans originally called it; Scotia Minor with Ireland then being known as Scotia Major. This Trope was relatively true right up into the middle ages, where the scholars spoke a common language and there was a rather blurred border between the two, with Robert the Bruce even trying to unite them into a common kingdom. However as the reformation and contact with the English took hold differently in both nations, the two cultures have long since diverged.