Get your Northern Ireland Top Trumps playing cards…

Fergus Boylan is an cartoonist. Originally from the North Coast he now lives in Dublin. You can follow him on Instagram.

Hi, I used to do the political cartoons here at Slugger. Recently, I drew a bunch of Catholic and Protestant trading cards and posted them online. It obviously started as a mildly amusing idea but, shortly after sharing, people started messaging me about their availability. I’ve posted similar crap ideas in the past, like an NI themed video game, but cards sounded a lot more doable, so I went and designed a bunch more characters, found a manufacturer and had 50 packs made.

Very unexpectedly, the 50 packs sold out the same day I posted them. That same week, the Belfast Telegraph did a write up about them, which caused sales to go a bit mad. Since then, I’ve been ordering in new batches every few weeks to try keep up with orders. I had no idea sectarianism was so popular.

The cards are basically a blend of what I could google about Top Trumps and whatever I could remember from Pokemon cards. A Redditor suggested the name ‘Top Tramps’, which I thought was perfect. As for the characters, I tried to cover a broad range, both in age and location, and from various walks of life. I’ve ended up with 36 cards, 18 Catholics and 18 Protestants.

Some of the characters include:

– Ivan the Presbyterian Biker from Ballymoney
– Majella the Auld Bag from Derry
– Paul the Geriatric Skater from Portrush
– The Town Centre Goths from Limavady
– Free State Fiacra from Dublin 6W

There are also “playable” games included in the pack which have most certainly not been properly road tested. The stat allocation has generated some lively debate online. I can assure you, the stats have been rigorously assigned via a complex sectarian algorithm and are rock solid.

None of the cards are really based on anyone specific, most of them are an amalgamation of different characters and personality traits I’ve encountered through the years. I have noticed however, as I post them online, people are starting to ‘recognise’ certain characters from their own town, which is funny to me. I also noticed, as I was determining who was Catholic and who was Protestant, that most of them could be either or. Maybe deep down we’re not so different, man.

You can check out and order the cards on my website. I’ve been trying to post them out the day they are purchased, in the run up to Christmas.


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