Irish Skinheads

Photo credit: Bold n Bleachers
Photo credit: Bold n Bleachers

Newspaper articles on Irish skinheads:

Skinhead gang warfare in Dublin – 1972 Irish Press (PDF)

Skinheads: the unexploded time bomb – 1973 Irish Press (PDF)

Gardai plan to beat threat of the boot boys – 1974 Irish Independent (PDF)

Blogs:

Violence and the Dublin Live Music Scene

Picture profile of Irish skinhead subculture in 1980s Dublin (these videos depict skinheads who Christopher called “posh skinheads”)

See the Facebook page dedicated to Irish skinheads.

The book quotes an abbreviated passage from Where Were You? by Garry O’Neill. Here is the entire passage from the chapter on the Seventies:

The decade’s first youth cult, the Skinhead, originated in London in 1968 and didn’t take long to spread across the Irish Sea, with various newspaper articles relating to Skinhead activity in [Dublin] appearing as early as December 1969.

Some early skinheads bought their clothes while on holiday or on work trips to England. After returning home, some were approached by shop owners, aware of the popularity of the new trend and eager to copy the cut and style of certain brands not available here. The early look featured No. 2 crop haircuts, with optional sideburns and feather haircuts for the girls. Loafers and brogues, hobnail and Army surplus boots were worn prior to Doc Marten boots being readily available. Wrangler and Bruta Skinners 12-inch parallel jeans, with a half-inch turn-up. Thin braces worn over collarless grandfather and button down shirts. With media reports of violence leading some city clubs to ban Skinheads, including the Club A Go-Go on Lower Abbey Street, the scene opened its own short-lived club, the Boot Inn, in a basement premises on Middle Abbey Street but also danced with Bartons and Mothers, both on Parnell Square, and Two Ages on Burgh Quay.

By 1972 the look had morphed into that of a Suedehead, a short-lived, slightly sharper and dapper version of its predecessor, sporting slightly longer hair, sometimes with a side parting. A trend for sewing patches of your favorite football team’s crest onto the breast pocket of crombie overcoats. Harrington jackets and zip-up cardigans appeared around this time.

Within a year the Boot Boy scene had emerged. With some favouring long hair, they wore parallel jeans or trousers from the Spider’s Web and O’Connors shops, over the top of Doc Martens boots, that had replaced the heavier boots of the early Skinhead days. Widespread and larger gangs meant that inner city Boot Boy violence was a regular occurrence in the mid-seventies, with sharpened umbrellas, metal combs and car aerials being used as weapons in the fighting. In the Irish Independent of 20 January 1974 Gardai said “The Boot Boys problem has grown to proportions equal and probably greater than that of the Teddy Boys and Skinheads at their worst”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *