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Cursing in Ireland

The one about Charles Haughey and an Aran jumper

Q. What's the difference between Charlie Haughey and an Aran jumper?

A. One's a country craft.*

  — An Irish joke that takes a bit of explaining for the non-Irish.

Charles Haughey was a politician. He was the taoiseach, (prime minister) several times between 1979 and 1992. An Aran jumper is a sweater knitted of wool in a style that comes from the Aran islands just off the coast of Galway.

Charles Haughey was popular as taoiseach and widely respected even though he was clearly well-versed in political corruption.

Popular, Haughey was; but supremely controversial. Paradoxical, and complex. He was a man of the people who bilked public coffers of tens of millions of pounds at a time when the average person lived in poverty. Haughey received many fine gifts, and he transparently manipulated the legal system for the benefit of himself and associates.

He also established precedents of great value to the country; and he's generally credited with establishing economic policies that would bring Ireland into the modern world.

Born 16 September 1925, Charles Haughey died on 13 June 2006.

The Irish will always hear the phrase "country craft" as "crafty cunt." That's just how their ear works.

"Cunt" is just a way of referring to a fellow.