Over the years, Paddy’s has gone through more than 100 different t-shirt designs. Some were available to the public, some were for staff only. One of the most popular shirts we have ever produced is The Black Irish Shirt.
On the front, there’s a human fist wrapped in barbed wire with the words The Black Irish just above it. On the back, there’s a replica of a sign that was very common just a few decades ago, particularly in parts of the UK. It reads: No Blacks. No Dogs. No Irish. The Irish were considered beneath even animals.
In the US, the famed father of the political cartoon, Thomas Nast, depicted the Irish as ill-tempered, drunken monkeys. The sign, No Irish Need Apply, was common in American neighborhoods during this time.
Paddy Gibney and Neil Ray, an Irishman and an African-American, wear this shirt on stage every weekend at Paddy’s. The intention in doing so, is to remind people of how bad things used to be. While progress has been made, the huge sacrifices of those who went before us, and on whose shoulders we stand, should never be forgotten. In other words, this shirt represents defiance, perseverance, determination and progress.