Can people not from Ireland be Irish?

This is a question that popped into my head as I’m thinking ahead into this week of St. Patrick.

Many have noticed the turn toward Irish beards. I made a error calling the actor who once played Bond Irish. For that I apologize. Turns out he’s Scottish, but of Irish descent. So does that possibly make him Irish? What about me? I’m actually American, but of Irish descent as well. Can I be called Irish? Or considered Irish in some way?

My first name is the same as the mentioned actor who played Bond. A name I’ve always been told was not only Irish but an extremely common Irish name. My last name is different than the actor but is considered to be a very common Irish name as well. Can we be assumed to be Irish since we have Irish first and last names?

I am in agreement that one should never assume, but can one be considered so due to heritage?

I know this isn’t an earth shattering world changing contemplation. I however contemplate it in advance of this week when all things celebrate Ireland.

I read up a bit this morning on that certain Mr. Patrick whom has been named a Saint. It seems there’s many assumptions that aren’t quite set in stone facts. There are also some stories that have been proven incorrect. Yes this St. Patrick is not without a convoluted if not slightly shady past. Turns out this former escapee slave most likely was not from Ireland and apparently wasn’t accepted by the locals, at least at first, upon returning there as a man of the cloth. Can he actually be considered Irish as well? Or do you even have to be Irish to become the patron saint?

And what of this Irish Beard and Mustache association? Are they in Ireland? From Ireland? Decendants of Irish blood? ……Geeez! So much to contemplate.

Dont even get me started on the snakes.


12 thoughts on “Can people not from Ireland be Irish?

  1. “Can people not from Ireland be Irish?” – nope.

    same as I cannot be irish, italian, greek, or jewish. my background is british (father’s side), czech and austrian (mother’s side).

    “everybody is irish on st. patrick’s day” is pure bullshit.

  2. I think only people who are legally citizens of Ireland are properly called Irish. All the rest of us who have Irish heritage by descent simply have some Irish blood. And after all these generations, probably not very damn much, objectively speaking.

  3. As an Irishman – I hold duel citizenship – I find this whole “on St Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish” stuff demeaning. The “good” Saint himself was not Irish,and he did much to destroy the old culture of the Island and replace it with the new culture of Christianity. And it would appear he did not do it in the most “Christian” of manners. And for people to think they are celebrating Ireland by getting drunk on bad beer laced with food colouring and then puking their guts out into the gutter is actually insulting to the Irish. There we go then, rant over, feeling better for it. So I shall lock myself away on the 17th of March with a decent glass of pinot noir, James Joyce’s The Dubliners and come out when the detritus of the supposed festivities has been carted off to a much deserved burial in a distant landfill.

      • No fights here. The kind gesture of wishing someone a Happy St Paddy’s day and possibly raising A pint (singular) at a pub, has morphed into an ugly drunken brawl. It has morphed like many holidays in the U.S. Into something other than possibly its original intended meaning, not unlike Cinco de Mayo. As far as I’m concerned the Holiday of MOST Distortion is one particular one in December associated with a baby and a manger.
        You are an Irishman, I am of Irish descent and at times out of convenience it is shortened and I say “I am Irish”. I never ever will say I am an Irishman for I am not of there. My using the term Irish is not in any way meant to demean someone actually of Ireland and should be taken as a compliment since due to my heritage of both sides, I prefer to identify or be associated with the Irish.
        Besides with my given name I am asked frequently at first meetings “My…you must be …Irish?” Meaning, I am sure, “With that name you must be of Irish ancestry”. For, by this time, they have already heard my accent and it is strong of Appalachia (think hillbilly) not Ireland.

      • Strange you should mention the Appalachian accent – it has remarkable similarities with the Belfast accent. Peter Hall the British director once said that if you want to hear how Elizabethean English was spoken then listen to the people in Appalachia.

        Sorry I hope it didn’t sound like I was offended and it certainly didn’t sound like you were trying to offend.

      • No offense at all my dear.
        I was told growing up in the area (but have not researched) that Appalachia was a destination for poor European immigrants to work the low paying jobs prevalent in the region. Most being Irish or English. Both sides of my family heritage were very low paid and hardly educated people of Irish descent. It seems that the affinity to associate with Ireland stayed strong in the workers of their class, a source of pride actually. The bluegrass music that is indigenous to the area is also reminiscent of music I hear in American Irish pubs throughout the U.S.

  4. Further to Mr Connery – he’s become something of a figure of derision in this country in recent years as he’s not only a strong advocate of Scottish independence (nothing wrong with that in, itself) but he spends most of the time in one of his homes in warmer climes and thus, incidentally, avoiding paying a large part of British taxes or, as they now can fairly be called, Scottish taxes, as that power has now been significantly devolved to the Scottish Parliament sitting in Edinburgh. However, I’m sure that avoiding taxes must have been the last thing on his mind, right?

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