Word Origin & History
c.1200, Irisce, from stem of O.E. Iras "inhabitant of Ireland," from O.N. irar, ult. from O.Ir. Eriu (acc. Eirinn, Erinn) "Erin," which is from O.Celt. *Iveriu (acc. *Iverionem, abl. *Iverione), perhaps meaning "good land." Meaning "temper, passion" is 1834, Amer.Eng. (first attested in writings of Davy
Crockett), from the legendary pugnacity of Irish people. Irish-American is from 1832; Irish coffee is from 1950. Wild Irish (1399) originally were those not under English rule; Black Irish in ref. to those of Mediterranean appearance is from 1888.