Terrorist attacks by (Salafi) Islamists in Europe may lead to an increase in Islamophobia.

Did terrorist attacks by IRA (as well as Provisional IRA, Continuity IRA, Real IRA) lead to an increase in Hibernophobia in Great Britain (i.e. England, Scotland, and Wales)? Wikipedia notes that there were reports of isolated attacks on Irish people and Irish-owned businesses in the Australian press, which is a bit puzzling as Australia is far away and was not targeted by the IRA. Are there any studies on the actual prevalence of Hibernophobia in Great Britain and how this developed during and after The Troubles?

  • 2
    The isolated attacks on Irish people and Irish-owned businesses that Wikipedia says were reported in the Australian press were actually attacks on the homes of Irish citizens living in England and pubs run by Irish land-lords. i.e. attacks on Irish people in England, reported on in the Australian press. May 23, 2017 at 23:19
  • @sempaiscuba I see. Still why this information would be sourced to the Australian rather than the British press, though.
    – gerrit
    May 24, 2017 at 6:16
  • Now there's an excellent question for the author(s) of the article. May 24, 2017 at 9:51
  • Signs at lodgings saying things like 'no blacks, Irish or dogs' were pretty common...
    – Ne Mo
    May 24, 2017 at 21:28
  • 1
    @jamesqf That observation is (1) controversial, and (2) irrelevant to the question.
    – gerrit
    Jun 6, 2017 at 10:14

1 Answer 1


IRA bombings did increase Hibernophobia in Great Britain, as one would expect.

John O'Beirne Ranelagh's "A Short History of Ireland" (Third Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2012. Page 217) makes mention of increased Hibernophobia being a result of IRA bombings during the lead-up to World War II:

The effect of the IRA bombings was in Britain to alienate public opinion completely and encourage Hibernophobia [...]

Though, of course, the IRA could hardly be blamed for originating Hibernophobia, as some degree of Hibernophobia existed at least as far back as the 1100's, when King Henry II's son, John, wrote of the Irish:

Dedicated only to leisure and laziness, this is a truly barbarous people. They depend on animals for their livelihood and they live like animals.

(Gerald of Wales, Giraldus, John Joseph O'Meara. "The History and Topography of Ireland". Penguin Classics, 1982. Page 102.)

Hibernophobia has been so pervasive in English culture, that even supporters of the treaty that created the Irish Free State indulged in anti-Irish racism. (Paul McMahon. "British Spies and Irish Rebels: British Intelligence and Ireland, 1916-1945". The Boydell Press, 1988. Page 171.)

All that being said, I'm not aware of any studies or books written specifically addressing the issue of the prevalence Hibernophobia in response to The Troubles. It seems rather like asking if Islamist terrorism has increased Islamophobia, or if the Civil War and reconstruction inflamed racist sentiment against African Americans in the United States. It's just taken as a given. Everything I've seen on the topic has approached it from the stance of debunking the idea that the IRA caused Hibernophobia, such as "Religion, Class, and Identity: The State, the Catholic Church, and the Education of the Irish in Britain" by Mary J. Hickman, which was referenced at the time by a UK paper under the subtitle "Anti-Irish racism is as old as the 12th century: it is not the result of IRA terrorism, says a study published yesterday."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.