15 Ways to Offend an Irish Person

Ways to Offend an Irish Person

I’ve met many people from Northern Ireland, and let me tell you, the most annoying thing is when we hear their accents and immediately ask if they are Protestant or Catholic.

But the things we can do to offend an Irish person goes beyond jokes around religion. In this post, you will learn the different ways you can effortlessly annoy an Irish person.

Indeed, some of these things can get you a jab in the throat, but many Irish people can joke about themselves, too. 

So if you do any of these things, especially as a non-native, you can expect to get, at worse, a witty Irish response in return.

List of the Best Ways to Annoy an Irish Person

1.  Roast The Irish Person 

Ways to Offend an Irish Person

One of the easiest ways to annoy an Irish person is to roast them. This can happen in many ways. 

You can pick out something from their appearance, behavior, defects, or even their background of being Irish. Then you make a roast or diss out of it to annoy them.

But there are even other roast punchlines to use. In a separate article, I have written more of these lines, which you can put in your back pocket for future cases. 

2. Make fun of their Irish accent

Mocking an Irish accent means imitating it funnily or exaggeratedly, often by stretching out certain sounds or using silly phrases. 

This can really piss off an Irish person. But they get this one a lot, so there are higher chances that they will just laugh at it or give you a witty comeback. 

Generally, when you tease someone for where they’re from or how they talk, they can quickly get annoyed. 

For example, when you say:

  • Top of the mornin’ to you, laddie! Sure, and isn’t it a grand day for a pint of Guinness?

It’s a stylish way to get them annoyed.

3. Mistake Them for British 

Mistaking an Irish person for a British can get them really vexed. 

How do you feel when someone keeps calling you by the wrong name or assumes you are from a completely different place than where you’re actually from? Exactly. It’s annoying. 

But particularly for Irish people, it goes beyond that because Ireland and Britain have a complicated history. 

Ireland fought hard to be its own country and not part of Britain.

To not bore you with history, the fight was called The Irish War of Independence (Irish: Cogadh na Saoirse) from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army (IRA, the army of the Irish Republic) and British forces: the British Army.

So, when you intentionally confuse the two, it feels like you’re ignoring all that history and the struggles Irish people went through.

One way you can express this intentional mistake to get them annoyed is to tell the Irish person:

  • Oh my God, that accent — you must be British!
  • I love the UK! Especially Ireland!

Watch how they will react annoyingly.

4. Ask them why they don’t have Queen on their Money prints.

Ways to Offend an Irish Person

Asking an Irish person why they don’t have the Queen on their money can really bother them because it’s tied to Ireland’s history. 

Britain ruled Ireland for a long time, and getting independence was a big deal.

When Ireland became its own country, it wanted to show that it was separate from Britain, so they didn’t put the Queen on their money.

Bringing up the Queen on Irish money might make them feel like you don’t understand or respect their past struggles.

Also, the question might seem a bit clueless because it ignores Ireland’s efforts to have its own identity and be independent from Britain. 

It hurts more when you are intentionally acting oblivious to their history when, indeed, you know the reason why they don’t have the Queen on their money prints.

5. Comment on Irish religion

Having lived in Northern Ireland for a few years, one of the most annoying things I experience is when people hear an Irish accent and immediately ask, “Are you Protestant or Catholic?” 

I can tell you for free that it frustrates them (the Irish), especially when they don’t follow either religion (atheist). 

They get annoyed when you try to put them in a category based on their religious background.

When you make a joke or assumption of religion to an Irish person, they will assume that you commented because it reveals something important about them.

If they don’t react annoyingly to your comment, then you’re lucky. 

Perhaps they assumed you simply don’t know much about Irish history beyond the fact that Catholics and Protestants have had conflicts.

But this method of annoying strangers usually does the Irish. 

So if you’re new to an Ireland community and you want to annoy them, you can use this particular one.

6. Make fun of their culture…especially the language aspect

Now and then, people greet Irish people with phrases like “top of the mornin'” or “potato!” just because of their Irish accent.

According to my Irish friends, they try not to let it bother them. But I still do think it’s one of the best ways to get them annoyed a bit. 

Deep down, they still find it frustrating how stereotypes about Irish people in Britain have been shaped by years of prejudice. 

I’ve met many Irish people who wish that these attitudes would change over time.

That only shows that they still get annoyed by the fun people make of their culture, especially the language. 

7. Compare an angry Irish woman to a banshee

Comparing an angry Irish woman to a banshee is a really mean thing to do to an Irish person.

A banshee is a spooky character from Irish and other Celtic stories. 

People thought she cried out in sadness before someone in her family passed away. Her loud cries were like a warning that someone was going to die soon. 

They believed she was like a messenger from another world, telling people about death.

So, calling an Irish woman a banshee when she’s upset is just plain mean and shows you don’t understand or care about her feelings or where she comes from. 

You may have to eventually learn the hard way for joking excessively about an Irish woman’s nasty temper, but you’ll achieve the goal of brutally annoying them.

8. Stereotype of drunk Irish men

Natives would always tell you never to categorize Irish men as nothing but drunkards in pub fights.

But if you decide to put it to the test and Google Irish men in the bar, chances are you’ll see images that suggest they are angry and drunk.

The stereotype is accurate, and that is why when you refer to that, it can get an Irish person annoyed or even furious. 

Stereotypes can hurt because they make people feel like they’re being judged unfairly just because of where they’re from or how they look.

So even if it wasn’t Irish as the subject matter, making any type of stereotype would still hurt. 

For Irish people, hearing these stereotypes can feel like someone is saying they’re all the same, which isn’t fair. 

They may not always show it, but Irish people wouldn’t like it when you judge a book by its cover without reading what’s inside. 

9. Do the potato reference

So when people joke about potatoes, it’s like they’re making light of something that was actually a struggle for our ancestors.

Another way you can annoy an Irish person is to joke about the Irish culture, especially by making potato references. 

This can include saying, “Oh, har har, potatoes.”

This annoys them because they will feel you’re driving into the cruel history of oppression that led the Irish to rely on potatoes so much.

Back in the day, Ireland went through some callous times. There was a lot of oppression and poverty, and many people didn’t have much to eat besides potatoes.

So, making the potato reference when talking to an Irish person is one of the best and most popular ways people use to annoy them. 

10. Intentionally assume Belfast is in Ireland

Saying Belfast is in Ireland can upset Irish folks because it just annoys them to see someone who mixes up your roots.

Belfast is in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, not the Republic of Ireland. 

This mix-up can make people feel like their identity and history are being overlooked or misunderstood. 

Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland, along with Scotland, Wales, and England, make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 

For this reason, many people still argue today that Belfast is, therefore, in Northern Ireland and the U.K., in the same way that Los Angeles is in both California and the USA.

Well, just be sure that making this assumption can annoy an Irish person. 

For example, you can tell the Irish person:

  • Belfast is in Ireland, right?

11. Rubbish the Irish culture.

There are many ways you can talk about the wrong aspect of the Irish culture that are sure to annoy an Irish person. 

For example, you can randomly bring up the topic of how some Irish drivers have a different style of driving in cities and towns, and some act like they’re the only ones on the road, especially when they’re moving slowly down rural roads at night after visiting the pub.

You can comment on the heavy drinking. I’ve seen pubs around Ireland that serve teenagers as young as 14 or 15.

You can even bring up issues of division between different religious groups.

Even though fewer people are religious nowadays, your identity in Ireland is often linked to being either Protestant or Catholic.

For instance, most of the UK parliamentary seats in Northern Ireland are either held by the Ulster Union Party or Sinn Fein, representing Protestant and Catholic communities, respectively.

This religious divide influences which schools you attend, where you socialize, where you live, and even which sports you play and support. 

For example, Hurling is associated with Catholics, while Soccer is seen as more Protestant.

So when you bring up issues like this, which are actually facts, you can definitely get them annoyed. 

12. Tell them Irish people are pale.

You might upset an Irish person by saying they have pale skin.

Irish people are known for being really pale, maybe even the palest in the world.

When it gets hot, Irish folks feel it more because their skin doesn’t have as much pigment.

Having light skin is helpful in cold places because it’s harder to get enough sunlight for Vitamin D, which keeps bones strong and helps prevent diseases.

It’s not just their genes or ancestors to blame. Ireland’s environment plays a part, too.

New research says the genes for light skin only popped up in Europeans about 8,000 years ago. I like how this research was elucidated in this Irish Magazine.

Since Ireland is up north, likely, most of the people who came here were also light-skinned Europeans, making the gene pool even lighter.

So, when you refer to their pale skin in a mockery way, it can get under the skin of an Irish person.

13. Tell them the Irish are freckled and ginger-haired.

Telling an Irish person they’re freckled and ginger-haired can really bug them.

Did you know Ireland has a lot of redheads? Like, way more than most places. But outside Europe, hardly anyone has red hair.

Ireland has the highest per capita percentage of redheads in the world — anywhere from 10% to 30%. Outside Europe, only 0.06% of people are redheaded

I’ve always noticed how some Irish folks totally embrace the whole ginger thing, but it’s not like all their ancestors were redheads. Back in the old days, most of them had dark hair. 

So, where did this whole ginger label come from anyway? So you can see that even the Irish have picked it up from the British. 

14. Irish people are only poets and storytellers.

You can really upset an Irish person by saying Irish people are only good at writing poems and telling stories.

Back in ancient times, Ireland was known for intelligent thinking. Lots of monks and holy folks were super bright. People wanted them in fancy European places, mainly Charlemagne’s hangout.

So, this assumption may look like a compliment, but it isn’t. It means they are not of any other social value than being poets and storytellers 

Stories aren’t just for passing time; they’re for passing on important info. The typical Irish people used to gather around a fire, sipping whiskey and spinning wild tales. 

Bards had to train for ages to memorize loads of stories and poems. The Greeks were like that, too, until writing came along. 

Now, we don’t even remember phone numbers because they’re all on our phones.

Plus, the English tried to crush Irish culture, so places like the Hedge schools were super important. But storytelling kept the Irish identity strong. It was pretty much their leading entertainment.

So, the Irish have a rich history of being poets and storytellers. But when you reduce them to just these two skills, it can annoy them. 

15. Call the Irish person a Patty

You might really upset an Irish person by calling them “Patty.” 

Using “Paddy” to refer to someone named Patrick is okay, but using it for all Irish people is not cool.

It’s like calling someone the N-word in America, but not as bad.

In most cases where I see this annoying thing done, the person would go on to make fun of ignorant American stereotypes just to further irritate the Irish person. 

But this alone can get on their nerves. And, always wish them a “Happy St. Patty’s Day” to really get under their skin.

Final Thoughts

You may be concerned that some of the ways to annoy an Irish person may be a little extreme and sensitive. 

But you wouldn’t be the first. They probably get it from others more frequently as well. 

Although a lot of Irish people can laugh at themselves, if someone who’s not Irish tries to joke about Ireland or their culture, they’ll probably get a sassy comeback. 

It’s okay to joke around with an Irish person if you’re both having fun and teasing each other. But be ready for them to tease you back!

These jokes are overdone. But, overall, Irish people are pretty laid-back and not easily offended.

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