The context involving 'news' and 'gossip' originated in English and Scots and came to Ireland through Ulster dialects of English and/or Scots, where the sense of 'fun' developed. Early Irish citations from the Irish Independent relate to rural Ulster: from 1950, There was much good "crack"... in the edition of "Country Magazine" which covered Northern Ireland; or from 1955, the Duke pulled the bolt on the door of the piggery, and let Coogan's old sow out...The Duke had been sitting on top of Kelly's gate watching the crack. It can frequently be found in the work of twentieth century Ulster writers such as Brian Friel (1980): You never saw such crack in your life, boys and Jennifer Johnston (1977): I'm sorry if I muscled in on Saturday. Did I spoil your crack? .
Now, 'craic' is interpreted as a specifically and quintessentially Irish form of fun. The adoption of the Gaelic spelling has reinforced the sense that this is an independent word (homophone) rather than a separate sense of the original word (polysemy). Frank McNally of The Irish Times has said of the word: 'Most Irish people now have no idea it's foreign.'
[T]he spelling craic causes serious nausea among intelligent people. This glib spelling of the word was invented in the 1970s ... it is the context of the use of the (recent, modern) Irish spelling of the word that is the issue - if craic is to be used, it should be used while writing in the Irish language, OR placed in parentheses or in italics when writing in English. I stress that this is a word which was NEVER in the Irish language (but cráic, meaning arsehole, or creac, meaning herd, are). ... I grew up using the word in the 1950s. When I went to Dublin (from Ulster) in 1968 NOBODY I met in Dublin used 'crack' ... 'Crack' only began to be used with the influx of northerners and in the context of music, it travelled with northern influence (at the fleadh cheoil, etc) until southern people began to believe that they had invented it. Ciaran Carson is particular enraged by the craic spelling, so too Desi Wilkinson and many other otherwise tolerant souls.|20px|20px|Fintan Vallely
A person who is 'good crack' is fun to be with. Crack is, by default, positive: 'good crack', 'great crack', 'the crack was ninety' or 'the crack was mighty'. In Irish, 'Bhí craic againn' is 'We had a good time', and 'Bhí an-chraic againn' is 'We had a great time'.
However, 'bad crack' is also used occasionally.
The 'news' sense of crack is used in the singular in Hiberno-English, although originally Scots used the plural:
The potential is well-known in Ireland of foreigners misconstruing "crack" in such phrases as "I had some great crack" as referring to crack cocaine.