IMA Source Catalog

Gathering all the sources for historical Irish martial culture in one place.

The Irish “Glibbes” Hairstyle

Also from Louie Pastore

The Irish “Glibbes” Hairstyle – The original helmet hair? 

The Irish style of having long hair over the eyes and short hair at 
the back which can be seen in Durer’s pic of Irish Kern/Scot 
galloglas may have been considered as a form of head protection by 
the Irish… was it practical, was it similiar to native American 
ghost shirt that were supposed to guard against bullets or was the 
comment by Spencer merely mocking the Irish?


“their going to battle without Armour on their Bodies or Heads, but 
trusting to the Thickness of their Glibbs, the which (they say) will
Sometimes bear off a good stroke”
Spenser’s View of Ireland (1596) 

Spenser also writes about his dislike of the mantle because the 
Irish are hiding weapons and armour underneath them, he also 
comments on the glibb hairstyle – outlaws can cut it off so that 
they look nothing like themselves or pull it low over their eyes!
Worst of all some English are adopting it….

“But what Blame lay you to the Glibb ? take heed (I pray you) that 
you be not too busie therewith, for fear of your own Blame ; feeing 
our Englishmen take it up in such a general Fashiuon to wear their 
Hair so immeasurably long, that some of them exceed the longest 
Irish Glibbs.

Iren. I fear not the Blame of any undeserved Dislikes: but for the 
Irish Glibbs, they are as fit Marks as a Mantle is for a Thief. For 
whensoever he – hath run himself into that Peril of Law, that he 
will not be known, he either cutteth off his Glibb quite, by which 
he becometh nothing like himself; or pulleth it so low down over his 
Eyes, that it is very hard to discern his thievish Countenance, and 
therefore fit to be trussed up with the Mantle.” 

A Father Walter Talbot, chaplain to an Irish Regiment in the Spanish 
service serving in the Low Countries, who saw Durer’s sketch of the 
Kern mercenaries in the Low Countries mentioned that the glib 
hairstyle and moustache were ‘forfitured’ at home and the price would 
be their heads! 

Another source mentions – “the English authorities took a strong 
dislike to the
Irish “glib”, a thick lock of hair worn over the forehead and
eyes: “I have caused all the Irishry in this province to forego
their glybbes” (dated 1570 in OED).

An article by Katherine Simms argued that certain Irish tonsures and 
hair styles were associated with a revival of a pagan warrior cult
sometime after the Norman invasions. She specifically mentioned the 
hairstyle known as cúlán as being a mark of a díbergach.


February 20, 2009 - Posted by | Gallowglass, Period illustration | , , , , ,


  1. the hounds of ulad or
    is the the hoodies of conna chieftain
    or is the archer hunting quail of munster
    need to find out where the leinster men are
    and what they are up to
    looks like these are a great warrior class
    sons of rossa failghe where are you rise up and reveal yourselves boys of the hood
    who else will throw more light on this image
    searching and looking at the ghosts of irelands past our durer and me
    seeking those brave warriors looking for the light in irelands dim past

    Comment by liam hua duinn | November 26, 2014 | Reply

    • 2014 the above message revealed hiding in durers picture
      1. the two hoods in the folds of the fabric of the chieftain from conna
      2. the hound of ulad between the two young warriors on the conna chieftains left
      3. the light bearer in the middle of the hound of ulad throws more light on this image
      4. the bird like quail creature on the chain mailed munster warriors sleeve
      2015 on a visit to the desci county the following was revealed
      4. the man warrior carrying the spear seems to have a animal head shape in his crooked elbow
      5. one of the young warriors is shouldering a minx or is it a ermine type creature
      6. the chieftain of conna displays his wolf likeness or is it his foxiness in the middle of his stance
      7. the chain mailed munster warrior dons the helmet mask of the lady of the lake water
      8. the display of the art of weapons demonstrates albrecht durers symbols of the artists paintbrushes likeness
      9. one individual mentioned the likeness of the central figure to a jesus type figure
      any further knowledge on why durer demonstrated this craft to belong to the noble gaelic galloglass warrior clans would be of helpful assistance to me in understanding my ancestral lineage of the ghosts of gaelic irelands japhetic noahite dim past tradition
      any further knowledge on this or the revealing of more imagery in the painting will help and assist to unfold the unfolding consiousness of durers artistic insight as one of the light bearers of the golden race
      gloir gloir gloir tri noid a gloir ardmhaithair eiru banba fodla agus eire mullach abu go leir

      Comment by liam hua duinn | January 2, 2015 | Reply

  2. […] Irish Martial Arts blog on the Glibbe hairstyle […]

    Pingback by Dreadlocks, Tattoos, Celts and Vikings | historyfantasyfiction | April 1, 2016 | Reply

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