While many Irish stereotypes and slurs have fallen out of use, others are still surprisingly common. Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

The worst Irish insults and racial slurs - from Cat-lick to Mackerel Snapper


While many Irish stereotypes and slurs have fallen out of use, others are still surprisingly common. Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, racial slurs against the Irish are still regularly used.

Recently, and shockingly, an Australian construction company owner actually advertised for a job saying “No Irish” need apply.

Although it’s sad that these racial slurs are still being used, we’ve put together an amazing list of some of the most strange and wonderful insults towards the Irish and where they came from. You’ll be surprised at the weird and historical origins.

Here’s the list:

Bog-Jumper - Many bogs in Ireland.

Bog-trotter - Abundance of bogs in Ireland.

Carrot Top - Hair color.

Cat-lick - Catholic.

Clover - Clovers are prevalent in Irish society.

Clown - Not used so much as a racial slur, however, the classic clown is based on a stereotyped image of Irish people: bushy red hair, a large red nose (from excessive drinking), and colorful clothes often with plaids, and often with a great many patches to represent that the Irish were poor and could not buy themselves new clothes. With excessive plaid is a Scottish variation.

Coal-Cracker - Many Irish immigrants mined coal.

Donkey - It was cheaper to hire an Irishman than a donkey in the Pennsylvania coal mining days of the 1800s.

Drunk - Irish are stereotypically drunks.

F.B.I. - Foreign Born Irish.

Fenian - Refers to Irish Roman Catholic immigrants living in such large UK cities as Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. Also used by Protestants to demean Catholics in Northern Ireland. Irish republicans use it to identify themselves as a member of Sinn Fein. Derived from Gaelic stories of the Fianna, a mythical group of warriors. Not inherently derogatory.

Fire Bush - Red hair.

Fire Crotch - They have red hair.

Frotch - See: Fire Crotch.

Fumblin' Dublin - Known as a slur for drunk, unemployed, Irish men. They are usually found under the influence outside of Dublin's bars.

Green - The Irish were once loosely called the green race.

Green Bean - Mixed races. Meaning an Irish/Mexican mix.

Green N***er - Mainly in US cities with large Irish populations. Used to denote and deride the Irish, similar to the way in which it was used towards the black population.

Harpie - Perhaps derived from the fact the harp is also the symbol of Ireland, a green flag with a harp was displayed by a lot of Irish people.

Hibe - Short for Hibernian (of, relating to, or characteristic of Ireland or the Irish).

Hillbilly - Ulster Scots who supported the Protestant King William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne came to be known as "Billy Boys." The combination of "hill" and "billy" first came into use at this time. A large number of Appalachian settlers were Scotch-Irish, and the term arrived with them.

Leprechaun - From the well-known old Irish myth of the chubby green-clad gnome (what happens when you mix Catholicism with Paganism). Popularized in America by Lucky from the Lucky Charms cereal and St. Patrick's Day.

Leprecoon - Combination of Leprechaun and Coon for blacks of Irish descent.

Mackerel Snapper - It can be applied to any Catholic, Irish or otherwise. In the past, Catholics were forbidden from eating meat on Fridays. They got around this the same way some vegetarians do, by eating fish (although technically this is not vegetarian, but "pescetarian"). Still observed in heavily-Catholic areas (they even have school/church fish-fry Fridays).

McChigger - Irish/Chinese/African American mix.

McKraut - German/Irish person. Used in the “Godfather” trilogy.

McNugget - For Scottish or Irish children - Mc (or Mac) for Scottish / Irish, nugget to represent that they are children.

Mead - The Irish are commonly drunk on mead and mead-derived alcohols.

Mick/Mic/Mc - Many Irish surnames begin with "Mc" or "Mac." Many Irish are also named after the famed Michael Collins, making Michael (Mick) a very common name. Not as derogatory as Paddy.

Mucker - Used in Boston because Irish immigrants could mostly only find employment helping to fill in the Back Bay which was at the time, marsh and water.

Narrow Back - The son or daughter of an Irish immigrant because they never worked as hard as those who emigrated.


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