Whate are the top tackiest and stereotypical tattoos for an Irish-American?
From the fighting leprechaun to the Gaelic phrase, our guide on what not to order at the ink shop.
1. Anything written in Gaelic.
Meaning “Erin go Bragh”, “Pog ma thoin” et cetera.
Seriously, just don’t go with that. Chances are, if you’re an Irish-American, you don’t speak a lick of Gaelic and therefore the only Gaelic tattoo you’ll get will be one of very few phrases that everyone generally seems to know. Plus, any Irish-born individual will look at it and want to slap you upside the head for your foolishness.
2. A Leprechaun
The stereotypes around this are bad enough. A fairly disgusting children’s cereal and constant references from pop culture have made leprechauns just one big played-out joke. Any Irish-American I’ve ever met has been called a leprechaun at least once, or as at least heard the insinuation that they are descended from them. Unless you went to Notre Dame, there’s no reason for it.
3. A Shamrock (or clover, for that matter)
There are fewer things less imaginative than someone of Irish descent stamping themselves with a shamrock. Besides, you run the risk of having the intention of a shamrock but then winding up with a clover. You’ll say it’s one thing and those who don’t know the difference will accept it, but then you’ll run into a genuine Irish and they’ll quickly correct you and leave you feeling ashamed and disappointed. Best not leave it to chance.
4. The Country itself
I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of knowing a girl who had the small of her back tattooed with the topographical representation of Ireland. This girl who is at least 5th or 6th generation American has about as much connection to her ‘homeland’ as I do to Emma Watson’s romantic affections. The worst part about it is that when asked where her ancestors hailed from, she couldn’t answer me, but assured me that she was just so in love with the country. Spare me.
5. A Celtic Knot
After the Shamrock, this must be the next least imaginative Irish-themed tattoo you can have. It’s essentially the same as appropriating ‘tribal’ tattoos, only it’s worse because everyone and their mother seems to have some variant on the Celtic knot. Not to mention, the knot isn’t an inherently Irish thing- depending on how it gets done, it could appear Scottish or Welsh. Do yourself a favor and untangle yourself from that idea.
If you really must have something Irish tattooed on yourself, why not go with your family crest? As far as I’ve seen, most Irish surnames come with a crest behind them. If you can’t find yours, then maybe you’re not “Irish enough”, and in that case you should just get a butterfly tramp-stamp like everyone else. Or hell, do what I did and get a regular tattoo in Ireland. It’ll mean more to you, I’m certain.