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Rich Irish farmers, always complaining about something

- in popular urban mythology

I was on the road in rural Kilkenny with a Dubliner in the summer of 2007 and made a comment about the hay in the fields — that I was glad the farmers had been able to get it baled.

The farmers are always complaining about something, said the Dubliner.

That year the persistent rainfall had made the task of driving upon the soil of the fields difficult, and the harvest had been in danger.

Those farmers, always complaining....

The urban Irish have a tendency to be prejudiced against farmers.

This goes beyond the city-dweller's bias against rural folk that is evident in the derogatory term "culchie," which refers to a person from the countryside (or, in its extreme form, to anybody beyond the semicircular M50 motorway.) The prejudice against farmers is more trenchant and insistent, even, than that.

An Irish friend of mine imagined why this might be so. It came to him as a surprise recognition.

Farmers are landowners, and landowners have historically been The British ... Anglo-Normans, the aristocracy, loyal to the monarchy — an occupying force.

The owners of large pieces of land are no longer in league with the English crown. But that crown is the politics from which the large land-holdings derives — and may be the historical source of the Irish city-dwellers' prejudice against modern farmers.