When you hear the phrase “the luck of the Irish,” most people consider it to be a term of endearment. But it’s origin is far from a loving one, in fact it was coined with a fair bit of disdain towards the Irish. That’s right, the origin of “luck of the Irish” was a racist put down.
The phrase “luck of the Irish” originated during the latter half of the 19th century. During the gold and silver rushes of America, some of the most famous and successful miners were of Irish origin, or Irish American birth. To strike it rich in the mines of the 19th century actually took a bit of luck. They didn’t exactly have modern day metal detectors, or heavy earth moving equipment. It was a very hands on approach, and required a lot of guess work.
As time passed by, and more Irish miners were making it rich, the phrase “luck of the Irish” was born. It was the association with their success in mining that spun the phrase. But why is it bad?
At first glance many would think that it’s a term of endearment. The reality is that it wasn’t. A certain tone of derision in the phrase was as if to say, only by luck, not brains could they succeed. You see the picture. Most people thought that they were dim witted and just lucky.
Of course there is always another explanation to the luck of the Irish origin. In another explanation it has been suggested it is because the Irish were inherently unlucky. They were racially segregated and they were forced to leave their homeland for a hopefully better life. In doing so many would never see much of their families again.
What ever is the real origin of luck of the Irish, today it’s especially considered to be kind words.