Let’s face it; sometimes nicknames aren’t very nice. And we absolutely do not condone all of the nicknames below. Just like the Irish stereotypes we’ve referenced previously, nicknames, for one reason or another, are what arise out of a misunderstanding of a culture.
You might be surprised to learn that not just Americans have used Irish nicknames. Historically, quite a few cultures were not very accepting of the Irish (or anyone perceived as an outsider). These Irish nicknames, whether we agree with them or not, are what we’ve found to be most popular:
Since many Irish last names begin with Mc or Mac, if follows that this nickname became one (derogatory) way to refer to the Irish.
In reference to St. Patrick, this is considered a derogatory term for the Irish and should never be used in polite company. It’s more popular in Britain as an Irish nickname than here.
Some of the main jobs held by Irish immigrants were as domestic servants (lots of immigrants held cleaning jobs, actually. For some reason, this stuck with the Irish, though.) Bridget became the Irish nickname for a female domestic servant.
Cat-lick is a spin off on the Irish pronunciation of Catholic.
5. BOG-JUMPER/TURF CUTTER
Bogs are prevalent all over Ireland… or they were until the 1990s. And peat cut from the bogs was used as fuel for fires until the mid-1900s. Also, the Irish nickname “turf cutter” sometimes referred to Irish groundskeepers.
6. FUMBLIN’ DUBLIN
Apparently, the Irish will sometimes use this phrase to refer to their own unemployed, drunken Dublin residents. On your tour of Ireland you’ll probably be far more impressed by the wealth of the city — it’s comparable to NYC or LA (but set up more like Boston!).
This Irish nickname is for the children of the Irish and Scottish. I can’t seem to confirm if it held a positive or negative connotation. What do you think?
Many Irish worked to help fill in the Back Bay of Boston and have this name to show for it to this day.
9. NARROW BACK
This Irish nickname applied to the children of Irish immigrants who, reportedly, weren’t as dedicated and hardworking as their long-suffering parents.
White Irish Catholic. While there’s little validity to several other acronyms, you may see ones like FBI (foreign born Irish) applied here or there, as well.
What’s important to remember when you see these Irish nicknames is that many were born out of ignorance. Just like children don’t know any better than to tease other kids, other cultures didn’t understand each other as well as we do today. They therefore associated each other not by the quality of the person as a human being, but by what they did for a living or who they did it for. Sadly, these misnomers kept everyone somewhat sheltered from what they didn’t know about each other. Hopefully, the next time you travel to Ireland you’ll see the Irish people for the friendly, hospitable and gregarious people they are!