A Self-portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

(In my physiognomy there is little, if any, trace of my mother’s Englishness, though she herself is part Spanish as are supposedly the people of South West Ireland where the O’Sullivan clan originated. Either way, I am the living image of my father, a descendant of County Cork.)

Looking at myself in the mirror, it comes as no surprise to me that my surname in Irish, Ó Súilleabháin , means grandson/descendant of either the ‘black-eyed’ or ‘hawk-eyed’ one. My eyes being large and deep set are coincidentally self-contained and self-declarative. The eyes of the man as a child live on.

The iris to sclera ratio is fairly even meaning my gaze, as well as being highly conscious, is piercing. And furthermore, because the colour of my iris is royal blue, being neither too distinct from the pupil nor blending in too much, I give away very little of what I’m thinking. In other words, I can’t help but look on with a quiet indifference.

Irish eyes do not necessarily smile. My eyelids are long, particularly the lower, and the upper is furrowed. The skin colour in general has a light beige hue. The eye line is almond-shaped and ever so slightly slants downwards at the corners. Without the precedent blood of the Rebel County coursing through my veins, my eyes would look melancholic: ‘we Irish have a deep sadness’ so to speak.

My face is square and my lower jaw projects a little too much, though not beyond my forehead which is more or less equal in length. My bite is not particularly broad, though this is in line with the narrowness of my face, meaning, my features are concentrated to the fore. Ironically, there appears to be more of the warrior in my appearance than there is the intellectual. I am likely a throw back of the Beare cadet branch given the part of Ireland my paternal grandparents come from.

The nose dividing my brow and philtrum is large, though proportionate, and half-triangular. Whereas the rest of my face is flush, the apex overtakes. Though the bridge is neither entirely straight nor sharp and slightly upturned, combined with the eyes and the high-soaring cheekbones it is potentially threatening or, as I know myself, somewhat misleading, meaning, the Irish are generally as fierce as they are kind-hearted. The Irishman’s face is always naturally over-designed.

In conclusion, all my features seemingly have a life of their own, but at the same time have equal prominence. Nothing in my face recedes. It is an imposition. The Irishman’s spirit is a peculiar coincidence with his outward form.