Irish men have received little critical attention as gendered subjects. Historically, masculinities were invisible in Irish society. Thus, this article contributes to the visibility of Irish masculinities and the critical study of men, by sociologically examining Irish men’s conceptualisation of masculinity and their understanding of what it means to be a man in contemporary Irish society. Using masculinities as the primary theoretical and analytical lens, this article draws from 9 focus groups conducted with 44 Irish men, which explored their views about masculinities and about being a man in contemporary Ireland. The men in this study presented a complex conceptualisation of masculinity shaped by a traditional past and a fast changing present. This paper reveals complexities at play between men’s conceptualisation of how to be a man in contemporary Ireland and their lived experiences as men. The findings of this study suggest some Irish men are moving away from a rigid and stereotypical notion of masculinity to a more fluid and progressive construct. This paper argues the ambiguity, contradiction and fluidity of Irish masculinities gives some men greater flexibility in how they express their gender identity.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.