Friday, March 16, 2007


Steve is a friend and coworker of mine from Ireland. A native of Dublin, he speaks in a lilting Irish brogue (which I love.) Whenever I work with him, I find myself slipping into a brogue of my own. I'll say things like, "Saints be praise us" or "Frosted Lucky Charms...They're magically delicious or "Manly yes, but I like it too ." In my head I sound like Barry Fitzgerald in "Going my way," but if truth be told, I probably sound more like Chief O'Hara from Batman.

When Steve first heard my feeble attempt at a brogue, he gave me a wary smile and said: "You're nuttin but a knacker."

"A knacker?" I asked.

"Look it up." He said.

Knacker: The term knacker is sometimes used in Ireland to denote an Irish Traveller, though it is considered extremely derogatory. In Ireland this term may also be applied to a rural character equivalent to the urban scanger or scum bag which are both derogatory terms in themselves. For more information see scanger. or the word GUG.

A few days after our conversation, Steve brought in a copy of the "Irish Echo" newspaper. There, on the back page, was an ad for a wrestling match in which The McDonough Clan of Galway was to face off against some other clan in a fight to the finish, "Tickets now on sale."

Steve pointed to the article, gave a self satisfied smirk and said, "What do you know? You really are a knacker."

After talking with several of my Irish passengers, I discovered that Steve was right. The McDonoughs are a bunch of knackers. Apparently, in Ireland, my family name has become synonymous with these travelling people or gypsies. Oh sure, some people were kind and used euphemisms like "peddlers," or "tinkers" or "travelling people " but the truth is, we're all a bunch of knackers."

I say, let's no longer be afraid to use the "K" word. In fact, I think we should own the word as a way of empowering ourselves.

Say it loud:
I'm a"KNACKER" and I'm proud.
If you're less militant, you can say:

"Knacker"...manly yes, but I like it too!!"



Sheila said...

I'm a knacker, you're a knacker, wouldn't you like to be a knacker too ???
Happy St. Patrick's Day to all !!
Your sister Sheila
One of the "Emmett and all the kids" clan-County West Haven , Ct.

Anonymous said...

All of you McDonoughs have always been OBSESSED with your Irish heritage. Enough already!!!!!

Anonymous said...

P.S. So what if you are a family of knackers!!!!

Gorilla Hero said...

I went to a party in Boston a few years ago and met an Irish guy named Dermott. I told him I was a McDonough and he said, "McDonough is a feared name in Ireland. You're a bunch of gypsies. You go around and sell your tin, you gyp, you TINKER". He was a nice guy. During the course of this party, he drank an entire bottle of Vermouth, got in a fight, cried on his girlfriend's shoulder, became best friends ("I love you guys!") with me and my friends, and eventually passed out. True story.

Unknown said...'s a FEARED name in Ireland!

Ya Tinker!


Everything Justin says is true. This is hilarious that you came to find the exact same thing about the McDonough name...and at the same time prove that crazy drunk Irish fellow was right all along. I wonder where that guy is now...I think he was an illegal entrant to the US.

Anonymous said...

ya Knacker (or cream cracker as they might say in Dublin)that was a humorous article. If you want to see an american do a good job at portraying a knacker then rent the movie 'Snatch' starring Brad Pitt, funny flick if you can understand what he is saying, and that is exatly how they speak, very hard to understand. And by the way,the best brogue by a cdr,was by, yes an Italian..Mancini, he had me laughing,ya know knackers like to fight too,so i wonder if he's an Italian Knacker !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Bob, now your a knacker and a nickel dimer? Don't tell the other J.K.

Anonymous said...

McMiley as knackered as they come....