When you type ‘Irish Man’ into the world’s most used A.I. Image Generator, the results are, without exception, full of outdated and derogatory stereotypes. Every image generated shows a man that is ugly, aggressive, drunk, leprechaun-like, or a combination of the above.

Artificial Intelligence showing us these misinformed images is a prime example of how many negative perceptions of the Irish still prevail globally.

Since we first opened our doors, we at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum have worked tirelessly to challenge such stereotypes of the Irish. We continue to do so today, asking big tech why they still paint us in such a negative light.

In layman’s terms A.I. takes data from across the internet and creates what it ‘thinks’ is the most accurate representation of a user’s prompts. When viewed through this lens, it’s easy to see why A.I. creates such wildly inaccurate imagery. The sad reality is that even though we have come a long way in the last number of decades, popular culture still perpetuates negative stereotypes of the Irish, with several recent moments taking aim at Ireland.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a new phenomenon. Negative Irish stereotypes within popular culture can be traced back to cartoons published in ‘Punch Magazine’, as far back as the 1800’s.But it doesn’t stop there. Modern cartoons are some of the worst culprits of the drunken Irish stereotype which is perhaps the most prominent cliché preserved in literature, song and film about the Irish today. It must be said that these modern references probably don’t mean to offend. The Irish are often celebrated on the world stage, but we believe these stereotypes still need to be challenged.

To understand the true character of the Irish, pay EPIC a visit today.

“While being Irish cannot possibly be summed up in a single image, we were surprised to find that A.I. generated images of the Irish are full of outdated stereotypes. At EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, we know that being Irish is a celebration that extends across the globe. We hope that this campaign will inspire people to look beyond stereotypes wherever they encounter them, and create meaningful conversations about the pitfalls and potentials of A.I.” Aileesh Carew, CEO, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum


“Whilst it’s disappointing to see the existence of these negative stereotypes within AI, at EPIC we know that the Irish are more than just stereotypes – we are inventors, poets, designers, leaders and changemakers. Our music, literature, culture, sport, food and dance attract millions of people to our country each year.” Nathan Mannion, Head of Exhibitions and Programmes at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum


“One of the recognised downsides of AI is the potential to reinforce biases that exist in information already published. We all need to understand that AI processes essentially trawl data that already exists, and therefore is susceptible to significant misrepresentation. I am not at all surprised by the findings of the EPIC team and it is a very useful illustration of the challenges AI poses, and one I plan to share with my own students.” Alex Gibson, Head of Digital Marketing Discipline, TU Dublin