Irish Twins…Do you have an Irish twin?
Did you know??
The term “Irish twins” is used to describe two children born to the same mother within 12 months of each other or born in the same calendar year. Given that it is a somewhat derogatory term, it is generally not used in print or in polite society. As is the case with many terms with derogatory origins, some people use it without thinking about the implications of the deeper meaning. The roots of the idea behind the term are actually quite old, although no one knows when, exactly, people first began to talk about Irish twins. In both
England and the , a massive influx of Irish immigration in the 1800s led to a negative connotation with Irish people and society. This often happens when a large immigrant group begins to settle in mass numbers in a new country. The Irish were accused of being backwards and uncultured, and it was assumed that they were uneducated, dirty, and a general pox on society. As a result, the use of the word “Irish” began to be pejorative. A number of derogatory terms incorporating stereotypes about the Irish began to emerge, including “Irish confetti” for thrown bricks and “Irish kiss” for a slap. An Irish twin fit into this vernacular, and was actually insulting on multiple levels. Firstly, the term pokes fun at the stereotypical fertility of Irish Catholic families, which traditionally do not use birth control. In addition, it implies that the Irish lack the ability to plan ahead or control themselves, having children in quick succession rather than responsibly spacing them. Finally, it suggests that the Irish do not understand the medical definition of twins, which involves two children conceived and born together. United States
I find all of this strange! And maybe the term and the original origin was a way to stereotype, and criticize, and insult people, but what about the children who were born in this order and ended up with a best friend? I had a very close bond with my brother “Irish Twin” and feel very lucky to have had a sibling only 11 months younger than me! This is what brought me to the actual history of the term, an American slang term, for derogatory use.
Today is my brother’s birthday, and as he turns 31, I always get a kick out of the fact we are the same age for the next month until I take a turn at the next year older! As a kid I loved being the oldest! However, learning more about the term “Irish twin”, it hit me we are not Irish, or Catholic…lol…we are just 11 months apart, and blessed.
You see I grew up with good times, and bad times, but through it all I had a best friend by my side! There are times I wish I would have been nicer, but like I said I was the oldest! HA!
One memory that always stands out to me was when my brother and I were walking from the pool after being there all day. Up the hills, and below the sun, we walked and walked and walked…living in
, the roads were especially hilly, and in the middle of summer, the long roads seemed endless. We were headed toward our family restaurant; in our young minds it seemed closer than it was. Arkansas
An hour down, we still had a few more miles to go.
A car slowly pulled up next to us and asked if we wanted a ride. What should we do? Our minds raced, we hesitated at first. “Never talk to strangers, keep walking, RUN!” All the red flags were going off, but we got in the car anyway.
Tired, and dehydrated our good sense left us.
The air conditioning felt nice, and the couple seemed harmless. We both were nervous, and were hoping this would not turn out like in the movies. (We watched a lot of movies, our minds had an abundant library of the “what could happens”)
The couple, however, safely took us to the restaurant.
I know technically that we did the wrong thing and got into the car, but I guess we felt safe if we were together. I would have never got into that car alone, and in fact I doubt I would have attempted to walk to the restaurant alone either; however they were both my ideas. I was known as the brave one, ambitious, and strong, again I was the oldest; however-
I was only brave because I was never alone, thanks be to the idea of “Irish Twins!” Derogatory or Blessed? What do you think? Any ideas on what word to substitute Irish for?
……..A young reader underway……..
The Adventures of the Irish Twins
Happy Birthday to Stephen Lee.