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Black Irish

Posted by Sean McGuiness on January 15, 2000

In Reply to: Black Irish posted by Bruce Kahl on January 12, 2000

: : : What does it mean to call someone a "Black Irishman".

: According to rumors and legends,Black Irish are the descendants of a few surviving ill-fated Spanish sailors who sailed with the Felícima Armada from Spain to invade England but were ultimately shipwrecked on the northern and western coasts of Ireland in the autumn of 1588. A very small number of the more than seven hundred Spanish men who made it alive to the Irish coast survived, and a few of those who did allegedly became intimate with enough Irish women so as to engender a new inter-racial (Hibernian-Iberian) strain of progeny whose "dark hair and eyes and soft brown Southern skin testifies to its remote Spanish ancestry."
: Follow on the link below for a very, very detailed essay, with footnotes, on the Black Irish!

I speak only as a 70 year old Irishman from Galway, who has lived here all his life, and not as an expert on anything in particular. All I can tell you is that in all my life I've never heard of a "Black Irishman" and I don't know of anybody in this part of the country who knows of any Irish family with Spanish ancestry dating back to the 16th, or any other, century. I wonder if your facts are as soundly based as you assert. Maybe you could seek an explanation in the 'Black and Tans" or even the "Black Mouths" the former being the name given to the locally recruited militia which the British set loose on the republicans in the early years of the 20th century: the latter was the name given to some of the Presbyterian minority in the North in the 18th and 19th centuries.