Is “Downton Abbey” Anti-Irish?

Some have criticized the show’s portrayal of Irish history through it’s Irish characters, particularly by the Irish newspaper The Herald. For example, the character Tom Branson’s brother Kieran has been compared to a drunken, uncouth Irish stereotype. Furthermore, Robert Crawley’s anti-Catholic views has drawn some accusations of xenophobia.

But some, like Dublin-born Downton Abbey actor Allen Leech, disagree, with Leech arguing that the anti-Irish sentiments of the show are meant to reflect the racist attitudes of the time. Show creator Julian Fellowes, a Catholic himself, chose to depict anti-Catholicism in the upper-class because it was a common observation he remembers from his childhood.