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Just how Irish is the 'Irish goodbye'?

Has it really got anything to do with us? We investigated.

EVER SLIPPED OUT of a nightclub or a party without telling any of your mates? You just did the ‘Irish goodbye’, friend.

Urban Dictionary defines the Irish goodbye as “leaving quietly out the side door of a party or bar without saying goodbye to anyone”, most likely because you’re too drunk to stay there.

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It’s an increasingly popular term in the US - a quick straw poll in TheJournal.ie and DailyEdge.ie offices revealed that few had heard of it being used by real live Irish people, but by Americans, and in TV and film.

But did the practice really originate with Irish people? And if not, why are we getting saddled with other people’s bad manners?

Well, a theory on Hubpages.com suggests that the phrase originated after the Famine, when millions of Irish fled to the US in the hopes of finding a better life.

To avoid the sad, emotional goodbyes, some emigrants would up and go without telling anyone what they were up to, thereby saving themselves protracted leave-taking.

Meanwhile, Irish Central has a less romantic interpretation:

Rumour has it an enraged woman coined the term after her second Irish boyfriend in a row disappeared without a trace at the end of a date.

But most people, including Seth Stevenson at Slate.com, agree that it’s probably a play on the old stereotype of the Irish as drunkards.

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Irish people aren’t even the only people accused of slipping out without saying goodbye – similar practices have also been called the French exit, Dutch leave, or Swedish exit.

So is it actually Irish? That remains to be seen.

What do you think – was the term ‘Irish goodbye’ coined by the Irish, or created by the Americans?


Poll Results:

It's totally American. No real Irish person would say that. (4659)
It's as Irish as they come. (1509)

These ‘Irish Goodbye’ shorts being sold in the US are a giant sack of cringe>

This ‘go home Irish’ ad has created quite a buzz on the streets of Toronto>

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