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Dublin Skanger

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The Irish version of the Lower-Class Lout and Working-Class People Are Morons.

As Irish media gains more and more traction, the world as a whole is now starting to realise that not every Irish person lives on a farm, speaks in an Oireland dialect and is ridiculously friendly. The popular image of Ireland as a rural Arcadia has now evolved to reflect the country's many urban areas — Dublin in particular. As the capital produces most of the country's media output, stereotypes associated with the city are starting to appear in fiction. Skangers can be from anywhere in Irish slang, but it's a term strongly associated with the city.

North Dublin is generally considered a working class area, full of crime, drug dealers and aggressive young men ready to pull a knife on you as soon as the sun goes down. While this is Truth in Television to an extent, if a North Dublin character shows up in an Irish-set work, chances are they'll be involved in crime, on drugs or getting into at least one fight. You can thank Love/Hate for popularizing this.

This character will often be white (never mind that Dublin has had many other ethnicities living there since the 2000s but hey, Two Decades Behind), only wears tracksuit bottoms, has a shaved head or crewcut, always lives in a council estate (if they're not homeless), has a nickname that's basically just adding "o" onto their given name ("Dan-o" for example), and will rarely be seen without a joint or cigarette. Female variants will often be extremely outspoken, sexually aggressive and prone to walking to the shop in their pajamas. Or else they're prostitutes. The females tend to be shown more positively due to their independence. Notably, the term "skanger" originally referred to a female but is now considered unisex.

A more affectionate variant will be to play this character for comedy, often as a Lovable Rogue or endearingly stupid. The comedy variant is more likely to be on drugs and speak very slowly. Given the popularity of Conor McGregor (whose native Crumlin is technically the South Side of Dublin), expect some of these characters to be obsessed with MMA or lifting weights.

Compare Violent Glaswegian, The Bogan, Brooklyn Rage, Oop North, Joisey, Spicy Latina, The Idiot from Osaka, and White Gangbangers. Fighting Irish usually overlaps with this character, as they're more prone to getting into drunken fights in the pub or the park. Southies are more or less the American equivalent of this.


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  • Adam & Paul is the archetypal comedy version; its two leads are a pair of Dublin drug addicts who wander around the city in search of a heroin fix.
  • Dredges features such a scumbag who calls out debts by threatening to slash tyres.
  • Dublin Oldschool downplays it. Protagonist Jason is working class and presented as the slob compared to his South Dublin ex, and of course he's spending a long weekend doing drugs. His half-brother Daniel is likewise a homeless junkie. And his friend Dave (who nicknames himself 'Dave the Rave') is a slob who's eternally on drugs.
  • Eden (2016) has a minor character of a homeless man that jabs people with his used heroin needle. The director Robbie Walsh (a native of Ballymun) cameos as a character who used to be this but ended up improving his life - and is one of the few people halfway decent to the homeless protagonist. The prostitute variation shows up as well, although the protagonist is surprised at how attractive she is.
  • The Guard has a pair of prostitutes with North Dublin accents, played for comedy (sure enough, Dominique McElligott puts on a thick accent for the role) and one of them later reappears having been beaten up by her pimp.
  • The Magdalene Sisters: Brendan is the only character with a North Dublin accent, so of course he's a chain smoker (granted in the 60s everyone smoked but he's one of the few characters shown doing so) and is easily bribed to help Bernadette with sexual favors... but chickens out at the last minute. His actor is Northern Irish, so the accent was a deliberate choice on his part.
  • Manhunt has a character called Jono, who is The Friend Nobody Likes and an overall Motor Mouth. He also attends a 5-year-old's birthday party looking like he's ready to drink in the park all day. Given that he's played by the director, this is a clear form of Self-Deprecation.
  • Michael Inside is about a young adult from a council estate who gets busted for drug possession and has to do three months in prison. His grandfather meanwhile gets threatened by the druglord he owes money to.
  • Rory O'Shea Was Here: The titular Rory is from a working class area of Dublin, has an aggressive personality and tries to pick fights he knows he won't have to get into because he's in a wheelchair. Uniquely for the trope, he has a love of heavy metal music as opposed to the stereotype of 'urban character worships rap and hip hop'.
  • Sing Street: This trope applies to The Bully Barry, who is played sympathetically, with an abusive father. He has a Heel–Face Turn and becomes the band's roadie. There's also Darren, the dim-witted Motor Mouth of the group who displays some late 1980s casual racism.
  • The Snapper plays this somewhat lovingly, with the 20-year-old protagonist - who had a Teen Pregnancy the year prior yet still finds time to drink and go clubbing.
  • Widespread features such a character in a post apocalyptic setting, robbing the teenage protagonist as he tries to get medicine for his mother. His actor Greg Young was told to put the accent on at the last minute.
  • The Young Offenders: Best friends Conor and Jock are two teenagers from Cork who dress the same, act the same, and even have the same weak moustaches. Jock is a notorious bicycle thief who plays a daily game of cat-and-mouse with the bike-theft-obsessed police sergeant Healy, and lives with his alcoholic, abusive father. Conor is the son of a single mother, Mairéad, who works for a fishmonger at an indoor food market and with whom he has a strained relationship.

  • Dubliners: The protagonists of "Two Gallants" are a pair of homeless drifters who get by conning women out of their money. The narrative does state that they're a product of an environment that offers very little support to the working class. "Grace" has one of the middle class gentlemen imitating the accent when mocking a shopkeeper. An actual shopkeeper from Glasnevin shows up to subvert the trope by being intelligent and insightful.
  • Skippy Dies, set in Dublin, has the "knackers" Mark, Deano, and Knoxer that hang around the park near Seabrook selling drugs and live out of their mothers' council estate apartments. They are generally portrayed as scary, brainless creeps, and beat up Barry and Carl for edging in on their territory before inducting them into their gang. Mark, the brains of the operation, didn't actually grow up on the council estates and was a posh boy from Seabrook, until he got kicked out of school for selling drugs.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Catherine Tate Show
    • This trope is parodied on the "Have You Heard About Our John?" sketches. The titular character comes from a lower-class family that lives in council housing; the mother is constantly seen smoking and talking about the neighbors with venom, the father is a "suffering in silence" type, and John himself is something of a drifter who can only find intermittent work. The twist is that John is homosexual, although he lacks all stereotypical gay qualities and hobbies. At first it seems as though his family and community won't accept him because of this trope—but the problem (and humor) come from the fact that everyone loves that John is gay and acts as though he's an expert on fashion, interior decorating, and men.
    • The sketches also deliberately play up John's family as Skangers to further the parody. In the Christmas special, their gifts to each other include brass knuckles, a balaclava (the kind of mask bank robbers in fiction wear), and a chocolate penis. No points as to which gift is for John.
  • Darklands: The series focuses on Irish teenage gangs, and was criticized for laying the stereotypes on thick (especially as it attempted to be a Teen Drama). Many unintentional laughs were had by the lead gangster being called "Butsy".
  • Love/Hate really popularized this in Irish media, with a cast full of drug gangsters who get more violent every season. That being said, it was a series that did this type of character well, while also having plenty of aversions in the cast to ground the story. Ironically Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, who played the show's Breakout Character Nidge, isn't even from North Dublin and shocked people with how well he put on the accent.
  • Red Rock features a few naturally, given that it's a police procedural. One notable example is a teenage boy who poisoned his neighbour's dog; his mother came to the station in her pajamas and spoke in an incredibly thick accent.
  • Tallafornia is a Jersey Shore and Geordie Shore emulator set in Tallaght (which is in South Dublin, ironically enough) and full of heavy drinkers, snapback wearers and gym addicts.
  • Kin has Eric "The Viking" Kinsella, a violent thug who studies BJJ in his spare time and has a tendency to carry out drive by shootings whenever his Hair-Trigger Temper is set off. He spends most of the first series in prison.

  • There's a recurring theme in Irish hip hop, featuring artists from North Dublin trying to defy this stereotype. Examples include Jordan Lennon, Mason Creedy, Dubal C, Danny Ruszo, Ellis Nayr, Caitlin C.
  • Despite being from Limerick, the Rubberbandits play themselves up as bizarre, pan-Irish skangers wearing plastic bags over their heads with an obsession around yokes, shoplifting, fighting, faux-Republicanism, sharp satire via drugs, and stealing.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Over the Top Wrestling: Martin and Workie, the "Lads From the Flats", who wrestle in tracksuit bottoms and need cocaine to do high spots. Martin was Put on a Bus and replaced with the slightly older Paddy M, who merged this with the Cool Uncle trope.
  • Sammy D in the early part of The New '10s had a gimmick that was a parody of Tallafornia mentioned above — playing up the gym addiction, heavy drinking and general perviness. He himself is from Tallaght.
  • "Session Moth" Martina merges this with Hard-Drinking Party Girl, often wrestling in pajamas and with rollers still in her hair.
  • Rough Stuff play up the 'violent hooligan obsessed with lifting weights' aspects of the trope. CT Flexor is from Tallaght and is portrayed as the more violent and serious of the two (Paul Scarfe is not from Dublin).
  • The Ballymun Bruiser, who even had shorts designed to resemble a beer can. He was, however, able to play a Face in Celtic Championship Wrestling, merging this trope with a "Stone Cold" Steve Austin character.

  • An Triail subverts this with the character Maili - who lives in the inner city and is a Street Walker... but turns out to be the only halfway decent person Country Mouse Maire encounters. When her accusers suggest her home might not have been suitable for a single mother, Maili­'s "go to hell" is presented as an empowering moment. This caused a minor scandal at the time.

    Web Videos 
  • Damo And Ivor, a comedy double act, features two contrasting characters both played by Andrew Quirke. Ivor represents the "D4" stereotype associated with south side Dublin, and Damo of course represents this. He provides the page image.
  • The Gumdrops: Subverted with a Camp Straight called Joey who's also a Nice Guy. There is a reference to the trope where he hears police sirens in the distance and coos "just like home", while also proving Genre Savvy over how to break into a house.
  • Just Saying, which is set in Dublin at Christmas, has the narrator referencing this trope as a form of Self-Deprecation. He's played by Emmet Kirwan, who plays Jason in Dublin Oldschool listed above.
  • Miles Away: A character of this sort appears as a much tamer take on this trope. He's something of a Jerk Jock who drinks, but is otherwise pretty soft spoken.
  • Mr Peterson again plays this for comedy, featuring Archie and Deco as a pair of thieves who allude to having a stash of drugs they need to get rid of. Adam Douglas was even cast as Deco based off his work in The Nutters.
  • The Nutters does this somewhat lovingly, as it was made by a group of Finglas teenagers who wanted to show their area as more than Love/Hate. So while there are gags such as Eoin's suitcase being stolen as soon as he arrives and a pair of teenage thieves in the Christmas Special, the characters themselves are normal working class teenagers. The inevitable Wild Teen Party isn't actually that wild.