"Luck of the Irish" Refers to the Abundance of Good Fortune Long Enjoyed by the Irish
Really? What sort of luck is it that brings about 1,000 years of invasion, colonization, exploitation, starvation and mass emigration? In truth, this term has a happier, if not altogether positive, American origin. 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. For example, James Fair, James Flood, William O'Brien and John Mackay were collectively known as the"Silver Kings" after they hit the famed Comstock Lode. 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.