In Hiberno-English, culchie is a term sometimes used to describe a person from rural Ireland. It usually has the pejorative sense of "country bumpkin", but is also reclaimed by some proud of their rural origin, and may be used by either side in banter between town and country people. Dublin GAA fans call supporters of any other of the county teams from Ireland as culchies, fans from counties in the north are called nordies. Dublin's fans are themselves called Jackeens in retort. In large cities such as Cork, Limerick and Galway, the term may be sometimes allocated to anybody who comes from outside an urban area. The same is true for Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland, where the term is also popular. Generally the term is more humorous than abusive in rural areas, as opposed to the more offensive term "muck-savage".

A suggested origin of the word comes from an old Gaelic term "cúl a' tí", meaning the back of the house. It was, and still is to a certain extent, common practice in rural areas to enter a neighbour's house through the back door, rather than the front (which is for more formal visits). Thus the term cúl a' tí or culchie was applied to these country people. Also, many city dwellers from Dublin tenements had to work as servants. The servants were not permitted to enter the house from the front but had to use the back door or servants entrance. However the latter does not explain why country people (as opposed to city people) are called "culchies".

Another possible derivation is from the Irish coillte meaning "the wood/forest", to describe people who lived in the woods. Yet another perceived derivation, however, comes from a shortening and alteration of Kiltimagh, a town in County Mayo. A further, simpler, explination is that the word derives from the word agriCULTURE, highlighting the industrial/agricultural divide between rural and urban populations.

There is an Annual Culchie Festival in Athboy, Co.Meath every August to find "The culchie of the year". Contestants come from all over Ireland, and abroad. The applicant is considered to have a good chance if he can dress in old clothes, drive an old Honda 50 motorcycle, and is well prepared to get his hands dirty trying to earn a living. A direct manner, a positive optimistic outlook on life, and a complex sense of humour also help. This competition is purely humorous.

Culchies are seen as simple people who have a fairly direct manner, physical strength, limited social skills, and a rich accent.

The Term Culchie in Popular Culture

David McWilliams coined the term Dulchies to describe Dubliners who decide to live in other counties of Leinster. This subgroup of people often live in urban areas like Navan, Kells and Naas. Characteristics include preference for outdoor activities, reduced status consciousness, a higher priority placed on quality time over money, and involvement in local organizations.

The comedian Pat Shortt has made a successful living out of being a culchie comedian. He has his own television series, Killinascully, based on a theme of culchies in a village in rural Munster. The Christmas episode of Killinascully receives viewership figures that place it in the top 3 most viewed programs in Ireland, on an annual basis.


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