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Wishing You

The Luck Of The Irish

March 16, 2017

“Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!” Unless it’s later in which case- “Bottom o’ the evenin’ to ya!” Of course it could be sometime between the two when you’re reading this or night for all we know. So to be proper and cover all potential possibilities- “Top o’ the whenever the h*** this is… to ya!” Tis a bonnie glorious day (morning, noon, night, whatever etc…) to be kissing The Blarney Stone and engaging in a bit of stereotypical Irish conversation. For those of you unaware, The Blarney Stone is an actual thing and a singular entity. It is a block of limestone set into a tower of Blarney Castle in Ireland which was built in 1446. So if anyone ever offers you some “blarney stones” they are pretend fakes and you shouldn’t kiss them. They may have an ulterior motive for wanting you to kiss their stones. According to legend, kissing the actual Blarney Stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). The castle is a popular tourist site in Ireland, attracting visitors from all over the world to kiss the stone. That being said, kissing the stone may also endow you with a communicable disease, considering it’s covered with several centuries’ worth of other peoples spit, aye and begorrah. Now there’s an image for a tourist ad: “Come to bonnie Ireland! Have a bonnie pint of Guinness and put your bonnie lips on the bonnie slobbery rock!”

Speaking of rocks, the shamrock has long been associated with Ireland in both symbolic representation and folklore. Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity. Religious symbolism aside, some folk traditions assign a different attribute to each leaf of a clover. The first leaf representing hope, the second standing for faith, the third is for love and the fourth leaf brings luck to the finder. An additional fifth leaf represents money. If you find a clover with a sixth leaf it means you probably just picked two three-leaf clovers by mistake.

But will a 4 leaf clover thwart a leprechaun? Hollywood lore would have us believe that a clover quartet is the first, last and only line of defense against evil leprechauns. They would also have us believe they bite, rip your eyeballs, stab you to death and ride tricycles. In truth, (as much as one can find in folklore) a leprechaun is a type of Irish fairy, who partakes in mischief, not murder. They’re solitary cobblers who have a hidden pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, usually in a clover patch. So why would these wee creatures hide their valuables amongst their Kryptonite? They wouldn’t, but they do have to hide it because everyone be after their lucky charms. Why are those charms so lucky? Soggy marshmallows aside, why do we associate 4 leafed clovers, wearing of the green, leprechauns and just about everything Irish, with good luck? It must come back around to that pot o’ gold hidden in yon clover... aye and begorrah.

The “Luck of the Irish” is actually an old American mining expression and is not Irish in origin. During the gold and silver rush years in the latter half of the 19th century, a number of the most successful miners were of immigrant Irish and Irish American birth. Over time this association of the Irish with mining fortunes led to the expression- “luck of the Irish.” Of course, it carried with it a negative undertone, as if to say, “Only by sheer luck, as opposed to brains, could these fools succeed.” Another school of thought suggests that the “Luck of the Irish” isn’t luck at all, but more of an attitude. Constantly looking for and finding a positive outlook to any bad situation. After all the Irish didn’t survive the potato famine and being treated as 3rd class citizens upon their arrival to the US by not having a positive outlook and a great sense of humor!

Of course it’s easy to keep an open mind and a light mood when you’ve got a pint in yer mitt. Heavy drinking is another, and for the most part factual, stereotype for the Irish. This is perhaps why it plays such a large part in any St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The St Patrick’s Day custom of ‘drowning the shamrock’ is historically popular, especially in Ireland. A shamrock is put into the bottom of a cup filled with whiskey, beer or cider. It is then drunk as a toast to St Patrick, to Ireland, or to those present. The shamrock is either swallowed with the drink, or taken out and tossed over the shoulder for good luck. In Hollywood swallowing the shamrock is said to make you immune to Leprechaun bites.

So as ye raise yer glasses on this sainted day of Patrick yer a bonnie bit wiser as to why it’s bein’ raised and I toast ye: “May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far. It is often that a person’s mouth broke his nose. Here’s to a long life and a merry one; a quick death and an easy one; a pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint and another one! Happy St. Pattie’s Day!!! Don’t swallow shamrocks and drive!

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or email me at wanderingchainsaw@gmail.com or you can FRIEND me on Facebook under Saw’s Brood!

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!

 

 

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