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Irish Terms Genealogists Might Encounter
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Irish Confetti
Bricks tossed by a spalpeen [rascal or scamp] at an omadhaun [fool, idiot or simpleton] in the course of a donnybrook Irish version of a knock-down-drag-out brawl.

Shanty Irish
The English overlords taxed any improvement on Irish cottages and such a policy naturally destroyed ambition and led to a slackness in maintaining their homes.

Bog-Trotting Irish
Laborers or peasants in Ireland's bogs; or more likely derived from accounts of British soldiers pursuing rebellious Irishmen across bogs, where the fugitives attempted concealment but usually were discovered and bayoneted until "the bogs ran red with Irish blood." (According to Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William Morris and Mary Morris, New York, Hagerstown, San Francisco, London: (Harper & Row, Publishers), 1977.

Lace-curtain Irish
An attempt by the Famine Irish immigrants to achieve social status with a show of material things in a hostile British-oriented, American Protestant society.

Irish Potato
Actually the potato was first cultivated in South America and introduced in Europe around 1570. However, the Irish depended on the potato so greatly for food that when disease destroyed the potato crops in the 1840s, famine resulted and many Irish left their homeland and emigrated — with large numbers of them coming to North America.

Irish Moss
A type of seaweed (chondrus crispus) found off the coasts of Ireland and North America, formerly used to make a drink to treat chronic bronchitis.

Famine Irish
The name given to those who emigrated from Ireland (ca 1840-1860) after the potato crop failures in Ireland in the 19th century.

Black Irish
According to rumors and legends, the Black Irish are the descendants of a few surviving ill-fated Spanish sailors who sailed with the Felicima Armada from Spain to invade England in 1588 and were shipwrecked on the northern and western coasts of Ireland in the autumn of that year. Out of a small number of the approximately 700 Spanish men who survived and made it to the Irish coast, was the number large enough for them to have become intimate with enough Irish women to create a new inter-racial strain of progeny?

"In research to date there is no other written source to be found that mentions a dark-skinned, dark-eyed, dark-haired Irish phenotype created by the infusion of Spanish blood. Given the lack of supporting evidence, such as birth and death records, genealogies, surviving Spanish surnames, much less anything more than an oral tradition in times of well-documented 'history,' the opposing argument — that the darker Irish phenotype is falsely ascribed to the genes of the Armada's sailors — stands. As a story which purports to be true and is widely and seriously believed, both in time and space, but devoid of any data with which to support its claim, it enters the realm of myth. As myth it is open to investigation as to the reasons for its existence: how it came to be told, why, and with what effects." — The Myth of the Black Irish: Spanish Syntagonism and Prethetical Salvation, by T. P. Kunesh.

People of Northern Ireland who are descended from Scottish settlers. The term is commonly used in the United States, but not in Ireland or Scotland.

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