What is an Irish goodbye? Here are some interesting theories

Irish Goodbye

Most people, not just in Ireland, will have performed an ‘Irish goodbye’ at some point in their lives.

Many have also been enjoying a good night out when someone has given them an Irish goodbye as well.

But what exactly is it and why is it called an Irish goodbye?

The term Irish goodbye is slightly odd, and the origin is even more mysterious – in fact, different countries have different names for it.

Irish Quora user Eamon O’Kelly, has a pretty solid explanation:

He said: “It’s an American thing rather than Irish. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term used in Ireland: I’ve encountered it only in the United States.

“For those unfamiliar with the term, it means leaving a party or other social gathering without saying goodbye.

So there you have it. It means to leave without saying anything to anyone.

Until they actually notice you have gone, everyone would think you are actually still there.

Why would someone do such a thing? Well, why not? Rice university suggests that after a good party, a person might decide to duck out unnoticed and not speak to anyone for fear the other person will realise how drunk they are.

It is only a suggestion of course and one from a Texas University at that. A sports star far closer to home has another theory.

Six Nations grand slam winner Donncha O’Callaghan says that, contrary to popular opinion around the world, Irish people are actually very reserved.

The Irish rugby star wrote in his autobiography that players from other national teams partied harder and were far more outgoing than the Irish.

Are Irish people really more likely to behave like this than people from other countries?

Not really, the English used to refer to it as French Leave, while the French returned the favour by calling it filer à l’anglaise (English leave).

Sadly, another theory is that the term came from the darkest period in Ireland’s history. During the Great Hunger of 1845-52, times were so desperate that millions of Irish people had to leave their homeland, never to return.

Many would have left without having a chance to say goodbye to many of their friends and loved ones. Many, in such a weakened state, may have also wanted to save both themselves and their loved ones the additional pain of an official goodbye given the terrible circumstances.

The term ‘Irish goodbye’ is actually most used in the USA and there have been numerous examples of it in 2000s pop culture.

Writer and star of US comedy series The Office, Mindy Kaling, has her Irish goodbye plan down to a tee.

In her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?: (And other concerns), Kaling writes about planning ahead in order to execute the perfect Irish goodbye. This includes asking people where the nearest bathroom is, thus giving the impression of being a person who has no intention of leaving in the immediate future.

Little do they know that will be the last they see of her that night!

Other tactics include suddenly remembering that she has accidentally left her car lights on or doors unlocked – a fantastic excuse to get out of the building and bonus points for finding an innocent excuse to actually go to her car.

So long, suckers!

Kaling isn’t the only comedian to be taken in by the wonder of an Irish goodbye.

It was even the title of an episode of the long-running animated comedy American Dad. The episode saw Hayley dump her husband Jeff and head to Ireland to enjoy the local pubs

G. D. Harding’s 2004 novel Boarding Call featured a character attempting to do exactly that before being caught in the act and chastised for his Irish goodbye.

Irish Goodbye was the title of a 2007 song by Maria Taylor, which saw the singer describe not feeling in a great mood while a party is in full swing and planning her escape.

It doesn’t have to just be leaving a social event early, it can happen in a variety of situations.

Another modern term often used would be ‘ghosting’. This is the act of simply stopping replying to a person, often associated with the online or offline dating world.

It has also been used in a professional environment with employees just not turning up to work without any notice.

After reaching your word count when writing an article, it could even be used as a tactic to…