Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Warp Speed Wednesday: Irishly Going Where No Irish Has Gone Before

March 17 is close upon us. 

Whether you know this day by it's original title (The Day When the Irish Diaspora Rub Their Heritage In The Faces Of Other Ethnic Groups In Hopes Of Assuaging Their Niggling Inferiority Complex That Is A Holdover From The Days When "No Irish Need Apply" Signs Were Common Place) or by it's more modern title (St Patrick's Day), you can rest soundly knowing I am doing my bit to let everyone know that being Irish is swell. 

To get you in the mood, here's a partial list of Irish-y things in Star Trek

The students from Worley Elementary School in Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland: the children wrote letters to the crew of the Enterprise NX-01. This is one of the few Enterprise episodes that I've seen. It didn't suck too badly, but it was a total rip-off of a MASH episode.

Finnegan: an upperclassman who bullied Kirk at the Academy. He appears in an original series episode as a illusion. He has a faintly Irish name, so I'm including him. 

USS Gander: name of a runabout from Deep Space 9, named after the Gander River in Newfoundland. You know the only place more Irish than Ireland? NEWFOUNDLAND. Hence I'm including this on the list. 

Kate Mulgrew and Robert Duncan McNeil: actors of Irish extraction who appeared on Voyager

Miles O'Brien: a character from the Next Generation and Deep Space 9. He was portrayed by Irish actor Colm Meaney, who was reportedly adamant that his character never be written as a caricature of Irishness. 

Fair Haven: over-the-top, fictional, 19th century, twee village created on the Voyager holodeck. WHY WAS COLM MEANEY NOT CONSULTED?! GAH! It's chockablock full of stereotypes. The only thing that saved these episodes from being 100% horrible was the character of Michael Sullivan whom Captain Janeway fancies. 

The Bringloidi: sweet Jesus, this Next Generation episode is also rife with ugly stereotypes. The drunken father. The harridan daughter upon whose lovely, girlish shoulders all the work falls. The meek, cowed women with umpteen children. The useless men who don't work, because they are drunk. ALWAYS DRUNK. ON POTEEN, NO LESS. Their society is agrarian, and deeply suspicious of technology. The conclusion of the episode is essentially the heroine saying "Oooh. But that cloned fella looks like he's got two coins to rub together, and that's worth putting up with all kinds of bother."

Fionnula Flanagan: famous Irish actor. She appeared on two different Star Trek series, and is known as a champion of young Irish actors working in Hollywood.  

Jill Ireland: Is she Irish? I don't know. But her name is, and that is good enough for me. She was Spock's love interest in This Side of Paradise from the original series. 

The Delaney Sisters: seldom seen, but often discussed, Jenny and Megan served aboard Voyager.

Molly: Captain Janeway's Irish Setter. Molly -- unlike Archer's damn Porthos -- never lived on the ship. Thank heavens. 

Lieutenant Kevin Riley: briefly appeared on the original series as a young bridge officer. 

"Take You Home Again, Kathleen:" an Irish-American Ballad sung by the aforementioned Kevin Riley whilst under the influence of an alien…aroma. Don't quote me on that last bit. It's been a while since I watched this particular original series episode. 

This clip: it's from the DVD extras on the rebooted Star Trek 

Well. God love 'em both for trying. 

• • • •

Any Irish-Trek references or associations I missed? Let me know in the comments.


  1. Now I'm trying to remember if the Fair Haven episode was THAT bad. I think I was too distracted at the time by the sexiness of Irish accents to pass fair judgement.

  2. @Marty -- Michael Sullivan's accent was quite divine. But in general, I wasn't a fan of holodeck episodes and that might explain my grumpiness. Another explanation: I am predisposed to grumpiness.

  3. Any time I do an Irish accent in my head, it sounds like a pirate. It happened to me just now.

  4. Just thought you would want to know. You're welcome.

  5. They're very similar in my head, too! ARRRRRRR, matey