Clonycavan man and the miserable fate of Dublin hair stylists in general

Lisa Spangenberg posted a while back on the recently publicised find of two 2,300-year-old bog bodies at Clonycavan and Croghan near Dublin. The BBC says of Clonycavan man that

he had been using a type of Iron Age hair gel; a vegetable plant oil mixed with a resin that had probably come from south-western France or Spain.

Lisa points out that Diordorus Siculus noted the use of advanced haircare products by Gauls some three centuries later:

The Gauls are very tall with white skin and blond hair, not only blond by nature but more so by the artificial means they use to lighten their hair. For they continually wash their hair in a lime solution, combing it back from the forehead to the back of the neck. This process makes them resemble Satyrs and Pans since this treatment makes the hair thick like a horse’s mane.

Now, we all know (although some choose to disagree) that in the 6th century BC Labraid Lorc was exiled to Gaul, at which point he became Labraid Loingsech, and that he later came back over the water and made himself High King. As we also know (same link), Labraid had horse’s ears and was so concerned to keep this secret that he had each hairdresser killed before the coffee got cold–he probably brought with him from France, disguised as spearmen, the first French hairdressers to darken Ireland’s shores and put highlights in its collective mullet. Although Labraid later changed his ways, his crime became customary and several centuries later Clonycavan man fell victim to this practice.

Questions should also be asked about the profession of Old Croghan man, whose

and who seems to have gone in for a rather clumsy (amputative) form of nipple piercing.

The Dublin University Magazine of January 1843 records traces of this disgraceful pursuit in a piece called Ireland Sixty Years Ago which deals in part with the criminal exploits of gangs of wealthy young men:

Barbers at that time were essential persons to “Bucks” going to parties, as no man could then appear without his hair elaborately dressed and powdered. When any unfortunate friseur [from the French, friser, to curl (hair)] disappointed, he was the particular object of their rage; and more than one was, it is said, put to death … as a just punishment for their delinquency.

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