Today, when we refer to ‘extreme good fortune’ we may use the term ‘the luck of the Irish’. As it turns out though, the expression was not initially used for good luck but it was a sarcastic, gold mining joke.
According to Edward T. O’Donnell, author of the incredible ‘1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History’ (Get it from Amazon) and Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA, the origin of the phrase can be traced back to the gold and silver rush years in the 19th century:
“During the gold and silver rush years in the second half of the 19th century, a number of the most famous and successful miners were of Irish and Irish American birth. Over time, this association of the Irish with mining fortunes led to the expression ‘luck of the Irish.’ Of course, it carried with it a certain tone of derision, as if to say, only by sheer luck, as opposed to brains, could these fools succeed.”
If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: What Does The “O” and “Mac” Mean When Used As A Prefix In Irish Surnames?
Main Article Photo: The Onion, Indiana Kitchen
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Sources: “Luck of the Irish” is an Old Mining Expression
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