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Súgán or súgán cotháin is a form of rope made from straw in Ireland, being the Irish word for straw-rope.[1][2]


Súgán as a rope could have many uses, being used as a weaving material to make household items such as cradles and baskets.[3] The most recognisable use of it is that of a woven chair seat, commonly known as a súgán chair.[4][5] These chairs tended to have a wooden frame, and the seat being made by weaving súgán through the frame.[6] Some of these chairs looked more like an armchair, with the entire body being wrapped in the rope.[3]

Pejorative term[edit]

Súgán has also been used as a pejorative term in the Irish language, the nearest English equivalent being "a man of straw". It is most commonly used in reference to James FitzThomas FitzGerald, the 16th Earl of Desmond,[7] whose authority was never recognised by his family's traditional supporters, and who is mainly remembered today as "the Súgán Earl".[8]


  1. ^ "súgán". Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla. Foras na Gaeilge. Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  2. ^ O'Dowd, Anne (2015). Straw, Hay & Rushes. Newbridgr: Irish Academic Press. p. 366. ISBN 9780716532743. 
  3. ^ a b Kinmouth, Claudia (1991–92). "The Last Straw?" (PDF). Carloviana. 39. Retrieved 22 April 2017. 
  4. ^ Mac Gowan, Alva. "The throne of the quiet man: the Súgán chair". Irish Archaeology. Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  5. ^ Dolan, Terence Patrick (2006). A Dictionary of Hiberno-English. Cork: Gill & Macmillan. p. 231. ISBN 9780717140398. 
  6. ^ Cotton, Bernard D. (1989). "Irish Vernacular Furniture". Regional Furniture. 3. 
  7. ^ Murphy, D. The Súgán Earl of Desmond Irish Monthly Volume 5 1877
  8. ^ Keenan, Desmond (2015). The Real History of Ireland Warts and All. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1503574458. [self-published source]