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I guess I qualify as black Irish by definition, I'm 100% Irish with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes, but I've only heard this term once or twice before now. I'm pretty sure it never originated in Ireland though, never heard anybody say it before.
 

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As I understand it, it refers to those of Irish heritage who have dark hair, and not the stereotypical "ginger." You can have any color eyes. I believe it is an American term.
 

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does it come from the time when irish people were hated by most of europe for some strange reason? they were known at the time to be the black people of europe?
 

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I am SO glad someone Irish is here to explain this.
MY DAD said he was part 'black irish' and no one
I know has any idea what this means. I wish
someone could tell me.
I asked a few friends and like Neptunus said, it's an Irish person with dark brown hair, dark brown eyes and skin that isn't fully pale. A few people mentioned the light coloured eyes (Blue or green), dark hair and pale-fair skin combo counts too :p.
 

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is getting over herself
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my father was considered "black Irish" by some, including other family members. His father was Irish, his mother Irish-American. There's a couple other origins on his mother's side. He had jet black hair and somewhat darker skin, but blue eyes. I'm certain it is an American term as well.
 

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I fairly sure that it's not an American term.

The way I heard it, after the English navy defeated the Spanish invasion fleet (the "Invincible Armada") in 1588, many of the retreating Spanish ships ended up wrecking on the Irish coast. The ship-wrecked Spanish sailors were taken in by the Irish and married Irish girls. Their black haired, blue eyed descendants became known as the "Black Irish".
 
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