The Irish have been called names for centuries, and all over the world so much so that it is hard to remember where all the insults came from. We’ve put together our top ten.
Used by Irish-born in America to describe first generation of American-born who never worked as hard as their immigrant parents.
Tom Cruise played a "donkey" in the Irish-themed epic, "Far and Away."
Term used by Irish Americans to describe Irish fresh off the boat and their hard-working ways.
"Irish Bogtrotters" drawn in 1812 by English caricaturist Williiam Elmes.
3. Bog trotters
People considered to be from rural, uneducated backgrounds.
A typical image from Punch magazine shows a coarse-faced Irish housekeeper with the scathing caption: "The Irish Declaration of Independence We Are All Familiar With."
4. Shanty Irish
As against lace curtain Irish, still in use today most recently in Boston mayoral race where winner Marty Walsh, of modest background, was often referred to as “shanty” and opponent John Connolly, from a wealthier one, was seen as “lace curtain” or “two toilet.”
The literary Mick Clique, from left: Jim Dwyer, Pete Hamill and JImmy Breslin.
Used mainly in America and often embraced by Irish as a badge of honor e.g. “The Mick Clique” —a few years back to describe leading Irish American journalists who dominated the tabloids such as Jimmy Breslin, Peter Hamill, and Jim Dwyer.
To the WASP set, "Harps" were considered rrather low class.
Another form of derogatory term, usually used by WASPS in the old days, not so much now. John Gregory Dunne entitled his 1989 memoir “Harp.”
In Britain, "Paddy" was a catch-all name for Irish men.
More common in Britain, where “Paddy” was used as a derogatory catch all name to describe anyone male and Irish.
Irish women, particularly servants, were routinely called "Biddy."
See paddies, just used for women only. Immortalized in Dominic Behan’s “McAlpine’s Fusiliers.”
“The craic was good in Cricklewood
And they wouldn't leave the Crown (Local Pub)
With glasses flying and Biddies crying
'Cause Paddy was going to town”
The graffiti sprayed on this Northern Ireland house in 2005 says "Taigs Out." (Photo" BBC.co.uk)
Derogatory term used in Northern Ireland to describe Catholics. From the Gaelic name Tadgh for Tim.
Thinking of hillbillies in a historical context puts "The Beverly Hillbillies" in a new context.
First settlers in the South were Scots Irish and supporters of King William at Battle of the Boyne. They lived in hilly and remote areas, hence the term “Hillbillies.”
*Originally published 2013.