Monday, March 17, 2008

Luck of the Irish

by Christie Kelley

I guess this is my lucky day. The Irish girl gets to write about St. Patrick’s Day. So as I sit here wearing my wool sweater hand-knitted in Ireland (and bought there too), I thought I’d give you a little history lesson.

St. Patrick’s Day is actually a Catholic feast day, celebrating Patrick’s death in the fifth century. Yeah, Catholics like to celebrate death and the Irish in particular. St. Patrick’s Day almost always falls during the Lenten Season, but the Catholics were given permission to eat meat on that day. So the people would go to mass in the morning and then celebrate with a traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

Why a shamrock? The shamrock slowly became the symbol of Ireland as it originally stood for a symbol of spring. Then as the British started to ban the Catholic religion and Irish language, people started to wear a shamrock to show their pride in their homeland.

Snakes in Ireland? Well, no. The idea that St. Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland really is just a metaphor for him banishing the pagan religions. Within two centuries of his death, Ireland was Christianized. There never really were snakes in Ireland. Lucky them!

So how many of you knew that the first St. Paddy’s parade took place not in Ireland but in New York City?

And when?

March 17, 1762.

The question that plagued me during my quick internet research for this blog was simply: Why are the Irish considered to have such luck?

Whether you’re Irish or not, what’s the luckiest thing that ever happened to you? Anyone ever found a four leaf clover?

I leave you with an Irish blessing:

May you be blessed with

warmth in your home,

love in your heart,

peace in your soul

and joy in your life.


Trish Milburn said...

Is it mine?

Trish Milburn said...

LOL!!!! I have the Golden Rooster! Just luck as I was commenting on Caren's previous post and when it refreshed, there was the new one. :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Trish Milburn said...

One of my mom's hobbies is to search for four-leaf clovers. She has a little photo album full of pressed ones she's found.

Luckiest thing to ever happen to me? Meeting my husband. Others are winning an essay contest in high school that earned me a trip to Washington, D.C., winning the Golden Heart twice (plus the other times I finaled, once making me a Bandita), meeting all my wonderful writer friends, and finally selling my first book.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Trish, congratulations! It's a while since the GR visited down your way, isn't it? Can you actually find four-leafed clovers? I thought they were mythical like unicorns!

Christie, what a lovely post. And the blessing was gorgeous. I don't know if the Irish are lucky, but they surely have a silver-tongued way about them. Hmm, seeing it's St Pat's day, I think I should chase up the Bailey's Irish Cream. YUM!

Gillian Layne said...

Hey, congrats Trish!

I consider it beyond lucky that the talk of spi--no, forget it, I'm not even saying it--those creepy crawly things--is over! ;)

I'll second the husband thing. I met him a week before my jerky ex-boyfriend decided he might want me back, and I was so young and stupid I probably would have dated him again....but all's well that ends well!

Stumbling into Avon fanlit was a really lucky thing, too. I learned so much about writing, and met the greatest people, among them my dearest CP's (hi Pam!) and brilliant bandit Anna C ;)

Gillian Layne said...

And there you are! We must have posted at the same time :)

Helen said...

Lucky you Trish he has had a restful day with beautiful weather lots of Tim Tams and is ready for some fun on St Patricks Day.

Great post Christie I love the Irish they are so special I work with a lady from Ireland her name is Mary and she is so much fun we all try and talk like her and she gives us heaps.
Luck of the Irish I always feel very lucky if I win a book or a coverflat I love them. As for 4 leaf clovers I have never found any but one of my daughters always finds them when she was younger she was always bring them home from school and giving them to me but I don't think they gave us anymore luck than we already had.

Happy St Pats day to everyone
Have Fun

Helen said...

I have a good receipe somewhere hear at home for home made Baileys Irish Cream very yummy easy to make as well. If I could just remember were it is I could make some
Have Fun

Annie West said...

But are the Irish really lucky, Christie, or is it PR on their part? Certainly they've had it tough in the past. I wonder if some of it is wishful thinking?

Must admit I went through a stage of searching for 4 leaf clovers. I'm not sure they did me any good but I definitely think myself lucky. Health, home, family, peace and prosperity are all such blessings. And the single luckiest thing for me ever? Either meeting my dh or...having a Harlequin editor pick up my book from the slush pile. I think both count (G).


Keira Soleore said...

No four-leafed clover here, nor pots of gold or rainbows (rain, rain, and more rain), and sure as heck no Green Roosters. Oh, pardon me. Those were my green glasses making the GR green.

I bet green beer was not originally an Irish tradition either, but more likely home-grown here in the U.S. of A.

Didn't the Catholics appropriate a Celtic festival (as with all their festivals) and press it into service for St. Paddy's day? A university class in early medieval Irish history that I took a few years ago talked about how this feast day did not go into effect until the seventh century.

p226 said...

Hmm... I have no idea why the Irish are considered lucky. But your post caused me to consider my own luck. And, at first, I thought, "ok, I'm not a very lucky person." And at the surface, well, I'm not. I rarely win contests, though I've had great luck here in the lair. And my name's never drawn for a raffle. I never win at bingo. I absolutely will not bother with the lottery or lottery tickets. But, that's kind of the surface of my luck. And generally, I live in a world where whatever can go wrong, probably will. It looks like I have bad luck.

Or do I?

I briefly mentioned almost being killed in one of my replies a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't exaggerating. I had an agricultural excursion in my pickup truck due to some black ice. I hit a small road-sign at about fifty-five or sixty miles per hour as I mud-torpedoed down a drainage ditch. After the crash, I couldn't open my driver's side door. I couldn't figure out why. I thought the door had enough clearance from the side of the ditch that it should've opened. No dice. When the tow-truck finally drug my truck out of the ditch, I realized why I couldn't open my door. That sign had flipped under the truck, and then jammed through the floorboard and up into the cab like a javelin. It speared through the floor, through my seat, and up into the door all the way to the bottom of the window. It missed impaling me by about two to four inches. And if it had impaled me, it would have impaled me up to about the center of my chest. I had no idea it was there until the tow-truck tried to pull the truck out of the ditch.

So, for me to claim to be unlucky would be a little ridiculous, no? I mean, I'm not even taking into account my wife and kid. Luck luck luck luck.

I am a lucky guy. And I'm only about 1/8th or so Irish.

flchen1 said...

Woohoo! Congrats on the GR, Trish! And Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!

I do feel particularly blessed--not that there isn't luck, but I believe that God's got a plan so it isn't entirely random.

I feel especially blessed to be a part of my loving family, to have (sometimes) delightful children, and to have the pleasure of books and chatting with authors and other book lovers on-line like in the Lair... Ah, the good life! :)

And I've always wanted to find a four-leaf clover (read about them all the time as a kid!) but don't think I ever have! Maybe I haven't spent enough time looking!

Very cool to read about everyone else's luckiest things!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Gillian, ditto on the Fanlit. I met some absolutely fantastic people there, you included! P226, your story gave me goosebumps! Helen, love the sound of the homemade Bailey's...

Donna MacMeans said...

Woohoo - it's St. Patrick's Day, one of my favorite holidays. My grandparents came over from County Cork so I've go a wee bit of blarney in my veins. Perhaps I inherited luck from their genes, or from the vast quantities of Lucky Charms I ate in my youth *g*.

I've won a raffle basket at almost every conference I've attended. I won a free ticket to RT at the last conference. I met my husband in a bar when I went to visit my college roommate who lived about 500 miles from me. I won the GH in the year of the Romance Bandits and I don't think you can get luckier than that *g*.

So I'm going to make my reuben sandwich in honor of St. Pat's and relax with some Bailey's Irish Cream and mellow.

P226, Thank God your luck held when it counted. We all consider ourselves lucky that you're still here with us.

Hey Trish - you dying the GR green today?

danetteb said...

As a kid my sister and I used to look for four-leafed clovers, I think we found only a few but we'd come home with a bunch of clovers and show my mom she told us that clovers are lucky. :D
Happy St.Patty's Day!

Hugs, Danette

Buffie said...

From one Irish gal to another - Happy St. Patty's Day to you Christie! And yes, I have found my fair share of four leaf clovers.

Though I'm part Irish, I'm not that lucky of a person. I've won a few contest here and there, won some concert tickets on the radio, but nothing really big -- not taking into account the hubby and the kidos.

I'm off to wake the kids and to deliver shamrock cookies to a Kindergarten class and the entire fourth grade.

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Trish, the luck of the Irish is with you today! Please keep the Golden Rooster far away from the green beer. Please!

Gillian, you didn't enjoy my post about the ginormous arachnid hunt? There weren't even pictures! *eg*

P226, you aren't even kidding. You are the luckiest man alive!

I don't have much (if any) Irish blood (both sides of the family have been here since the dawn of Colonial times, with a few Huguenots thrown in), but I ate all the Lucky Charms my mother would allow!

Which may account for my unusual luck with door prizes, radio contests, random drawings and such. I have won tickets to many things, including movies, amusement parks and concerts. The biggest bit of luck was finaling in the GH, which we all know is a crapshoot.

Like Fedora, I count myself very blessed, but I'm not sure that's luck. I have, however, found oodles of four-leaf clovers and have one my oldest sister framed for me when we moved into our house.

Donna, I may have to find a rueben for lunch!

Christine Wells said...

Beautiful post, Christie! Actually, knowing how fanatical many Irish Australians are about the mother country, I have no trouble believing New Yorkers would be similar and began the formal celebration of the day with a parade. I love the Irish--they certainly do have the gift of the gab. It's too long since last I went to visit friends there.

Luckiest thing? Meeting the Banditas of course!

PJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PJ said...

Trish, congrats on the GR!

PJ said...

Top 'o the Mornin'!

I have a fair amount of Irish in me and a fair amount of luck too.
When I was shot in the chest 32 years ago the bullet came within an inch of my heart. When I became septic and collapsed at work last March there was one customer in the store with his young granddaughter. They had been there about 5 minutes and were the only customers I'd had all afternoon. They called 911 and the ambulance rushed me to the hospital. Docs said 30 to 40 more minutes and I probably wouldn't have survived. I'd say that makes me a very lucky part-Irish girl!

I remember finding a couple four leaf clovers when I was growing up. These days the only one I ever see is the one hanging from the rearview mirror in my car. It's been there (on 3 different vehicles) for over 20 years.

March 17, 2008 8:09 AM

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I think the Irish are considered lucky because of the Leprachauns.
I have found several 4-leaf clovers in my youth, all my mother would have to do is walk out of the house and look down, I had to search a bit more than that.
I was blessed by my children and family. I was lucky when I found the Banditas.
Congrats on the GR Trish, for all we know he is Irish so keep him away from the whiskey.
P226, I remember you telling us about the accident but you didn't mention just how close you came to being dead!
Another very well known Irish blessing for you all.
May your glass be ever full,
May the roof over your head be always strong,
and may you be in Heaven a half hour before the devil knows your dead.

Joan said...

The luckiest thing that happened to me was marrying my husband and having two wonderful kids.Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Kirsten said...

Happy St. Paddy's all! I'm off to work, mostly to avoid being PINCHED by my daughter, who has been convinced that this is a fun thing to do to people who are sleeping -- pinch them like the leprechauns do early in the morning.

She learned about this pinching thing from her preschool -- any other folks heard of that?

I'm definitely lucky, though not in games. Just in life. I got born into an education-loving family, went to a great college because my parents were wiling to mortgage the house to send me where I wanted to go, I got to work in the outdoors for years, met an incredible man I KNOW is my soulmate, have two incredible kids and a good job and then to top it all off, I get to write as well!

Kirsten said...

Keira, (rain) have you noticed (rain) that iti's been raining a lot (rain) in the PacNW lately?


PJ said...

P226, you are definitely one lucky fella. Thank goodness!

Christie Kelley said...

Congrats on the GR, Trish. Maybe someday my luck with turn with him. I haven't had him here for months.

Christie Kelley said...

Anna, four leaf clovers aren't mythical creatures. I have found a few, mostly when I was a kid playing in the grass. Maybe they don't grow down in OZ.

Christie Kelley said...

Gillian, I'm also glad we're off the spi*** topic. I'm not terrified of them like a friend of mine, but I really don't need to talk about them either.

Christie Kelley said...

Helen, I love the fact that you were trying to talk like your friend from Ireland. My father used to crack me up. Every time he'd come back from a 7-10 day trip to Ireland he'd return with a little brogue. It was very cute.

Christie Kelley said...

Annie, I'd love to know how the Irish came about the lucky reputation. I certainly don't feel particularly lucky.

Maybe it's their way of trying to stay positive when dealing with such negative things--famines, war, poverty, etc.

Christie Kelley said...


I didn't run into the Celtic celebration but it wouldn't surprise me. The church was very good at picking pagan holidays to become Christian holidays. It was done to help the converts happy. I wouldn't be surpised to find out there was some type of spring pagan holiday that was on that day.

Christie Kelley said...

p226, wow are you lucky. That story was amazing.

PJ said...

A blessing for my Bandita friends:

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

Christie Kelley said...

flchen, I hear you about being blessed. That's exactly how I feel.

Christie Kelley said...

Danette, happy St. Paddy's day to you, too.

Christie Kelley said...

Donna, I'm going to stick around you. I'm really not lucky when it comes to raffles and bingo and the lottery. Maybe it's because my family has been over here too long. We came over in the 1850s.

Christie Kelley said...

Buffie, I think the trick to the luck is we have to find the leprechaun, not the clovers.

Funny story about rainbows and leprechauns and that pot of gold. My husband and I were driving after a rain storm and there was a huge rainbow. We keep driving and I was following the rainbow. Guess where it ended? At my bank. No kidding. It was the first time I'd ever seen the end of a rainbow. So I guess the pot of gold was in the bank (not my account).

Christie Kelley said...

Christine, I would have to agree with you about meeting the banditas. Very lucky indeed.

Christie Kelley said...

PJ!! Holy cow, you were shot in the chest! I've known you online for years and never heard that story before. Wow, were you lucky. And the second time too.

You're definitely one lucky Irish girl.

Christie Kelley said...

Joan, finding the right man (or woman) is definitely a lucky thing. Happy St. Paddy's day.

Christie Kelley said...

Kirsten, what a wonderful comment. You are blessed and very lucky with a family like yours.

Christie Kelley said...

Okay, so here's my luck so far this morning.

I had the gas fireplace on to take off the chill. My son (15) sits down by the fire with his back to it, and doesn't realize his jacket is melting on the glass. Now I have to figure out how to get burned/melted jacket remnants off the glass. Any ideas?

I'm off to the grocery store. I'll stop back in after that.

Beth said...

I'm not Irish - not even a wee little bit. I'm not even wearing green today *g* But I do consider myself very blessed, especially when it comes to my family :-)

As far as luck, I've had my fair share such as finaling in the GH, meeting my fellow Banditas and then winning the next year's GH and selling my first book :-)

Donna, I now have a hankering for a Reuben sandwich! But I don't have any of the ingredients :-( Must I venture out into the cold and snow to satisfy my craving??

p226 and PJ, your stories of luck gave me the chills! So glad you're both safe and sound and with us today!

Love all the Irish Blessings!

Happy St Patrick's Day, Everyone!!

terrio said...

Congrats on the GR, Trish. Take him down to Tootsies for some drinks and good music.

It's green all over today. I'm not a bit Irish that I know of but I love that they are optimistic enough to call themselves lucky after all they've been through. And I did go see Celtic Woman in concert last week so that should count for something.

I used to find four leaf clovers as a kid. But when we talked about superstitions I said I refuse to believe in bad luck anymore. I haven't won any lotteries, but I'm healthy and I have a beautiful, healthy little girl so that makes me very lucky.

p226 - that story made me squirm in my seat. I'm not sure that's luck or divine intervention, but thank goodness it turned out the way it did.

doglady said...

Nice nab of the GR, Trish. I think he would like nice with a little green patina! I echo my buddy, Gillian's sentiments. The Avon FanLit gig was something I got into on a whim at the suggestion of our local bookseller and it opened a whole new world to me. I met our wonder crit group Passion's Slaves and the incomparable Anna C. I became serious about something that has been my dream since I was nine years old. I don't know if I'll make it but I AM enjoying the ride!

p226, you are one lucky fellow. We would have missed you so stay off that black ice!

I think winning the Royal Ascot was sheer luck and I still attribute it to luck every time Lost in Love finals in a contest.

I'm pretty lucky to belong to this great community and writers and readers who know I like spiders and tolerate me anyway!!

Joan said...

There never really were snakes in Ireland.

Yes, but there WERE spiders the size of dinner least after a few pints there were ;-)

Sure and it's a fine morning when you wake and it's St. Paddy's Day!

I am 3/4 Irish (1/4 German snuck in just to up the stubborn factor) and love, love, love my heritage.

I'd also heard Christie, that the shamrock (plain 'ole 3 leaf ones) were used by St. Patrick to explain the Trinity.

I just finished watching a live stream of Dublin's St. Patrick's Day parade. Think Mardi Gras on crack...not the "having fun" craic...real crack. Wild. You can see it at

I have a friend from Dublin who used to own a Celtic store and for the past few years I'd work in it with her on St. Pat's Day. Bizarre people come in including ones dressed as St. Patrick and St. Brigid and...leprechauns LOL

As to luck I'd agree that the Irish definition of it is more of their ability and passion to fight and hold onto hope as Ireland "welcomed" nearly every invader from Europe EXCEPT Rome...much to their chagrin. And then there is the whole Disapora with huge numbers of the population being transported or forced to leave when the potatoes failed. Spunky bunch.

And the Blarney stone? Well, I won't be hanging upside down on my trip to Eire to kiss a rock (24 days and counting. Not because I'm afraid of the height but because really, the world couldn't stand for me to be more full of blarney than I am by birth and nature :-)

Off to do my traditional St. Patrick's Day ...ahem..laundry. Here's raising a pkg of green Peeps to you all!

Joan said...

OH, and to our other visitor joan....she's luckier than this one...I have yet to find the prince of my dreams.

Hmmm...maybe he'll be hanging upside down kissing a rock. Good! I can nab him while he's vulnerable!


Keira Soleore said...

((PJ)) OMG about the bullet. I'm so glad you're here with us.

I'm indeed blessed, infinitely so, in my friends in the romance world.

jo robertson said...

Yay, Trish, you go!!

Great post, Christie. I love St. Patrick's Day, primarily because green is my favorite color. Not the yucky, cringe-producing lime of even the kelly green, but the deep green of plant leaves and rich, California grass.

One of the luckiest things to happen to me is hooking up with the Romance Bandits.

P226, WE'RE so lucky to have you!

So, why ARE the Irish considered lucky, Christie?

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Okay peeps, I just had to look it up..The term "Luck of the Irish" is actually sarcastic. If you are said to have the Luck of the Irish then it means you have very bad luck.
It began during the potato famine, the Irish were just beginning to gain some Independence from Britain when infested potatoes were planted and killed the entire crop.
Joan you heard right, St. Patrick did use the 3-leaf clover to explain the Trinity. That there occurs 4-leaf clovers was explained that they were the result of God's melting the druid beliefs with the Trinity of the Christian beliefs.
That is all one explanation anyway.

Cassondra said...

Trish, congrats on the GR! He knew it was warming up a bit here in the Kentucky/Tennessee area and was willing to come for a visit. Yay!

My husband is one of those who can walk outside, look down, and there is a four-leaf clover. We have been driving down the road (slowly, behind traffic) before and he yelled "stop the car!" I stopped, he jumped out, ran to the side of the road and came back wth a four-leaf clover.

I swear.

I can't tell that it's made him any more lucky.

I guess the "luckiest" thing for me has been my GH final and the formation of the Bandits. I wouldn't trade those for anything.

Cassondra said...

Oh, and we're right about the Spring Equinox, so if the Catholic Church followed its normal pattern, it may have set up a holiday just a few days before to try to take emphasis off of the Pagan festival. The Solstice and Equinox celebrations are a big deal for Pagan cultures.

Christie Kelley said...

Dianna, thanks for looking up the Luck of the Irish thing. It makes sense to me.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Pam, big smooches to you too! Actually, one of the strange but wonderful things about Fanlit is that I've kept up a lot of the connections I made there. Often with those things, it's full on while the contest runs and then everything eventually peters out. Yay, Fanlit!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Happy St. Pat's Day everyone! Great post, Christie! :>

I'm all Scots, English and German, and like Posh, my Ancestors have been here since before the Founding. So I've had to leave the Irish to m'dear, beloved DH who's people hail from County Meagh only 2 generations back. :> That's on his Mum's side. Those Adamses came over to the states on the first boat from Olde Angleland, so he's waaaaay English too. (With a wee bit of Swede in there as well, to "up the stubborn" as Joanie T said)

I've got plenty of stubborn on 'me own, thanks due to the Scots part. As to Luck, I'm pretty well set there. I met my DH at a party, so the luckiest day would be when I decided to go, I guess! Ha! Entering/finaling in GH which led to both the Banditas and a sale was pretty darn lucky too. I win things, I find things. Yep, pretty lucky.

Wow to P226 and PJ on the near misses. Luck and fate, whew! We're glad you're here to tell the tale as the blog would be a poorer place w/o ye!

Now, where are those green M&Ms?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

On an Irish note...I'm waiting for my new Irish Water Spaniel (IWS) pup to be born next month. The bitch is in whelp, so hopefully...(crosses fingers) Anyway, they had Irish Dog Breeds on the today show today and you can see the IWS here:

One of the folks on our IWS loop posted these and I thought ya'll might get a kick out of them too.

May God bring good health to your enemies enemies

May you live to be a hundred years, with one extra year to repent.

May you be in heaven one half hour before the devil knows you're dead.

As you slide down the banisters of life may the splinters never point the wrong way.

May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.

May you get all your wishes but one,
So you always have something to strive for.

Here's to your coffin...
May it be built of 100 year old oaks which I will plant tomorrow.

May the sons of your daughters smile up in your face.

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

May your neighbors respect you,
Troubles neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And Heaven accept you.

An old Irish recipe for longevity:
Leave the table hungry.
Leave the bed sleepy.
Leave the bar thirsty.

May you never forget what is worth remembering,
Or remember what is best forgotten.

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
The insight to know where you are,
and the foresight to know when you've gone too far.

May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.

May you never make an enemy
When you could make a friend
Unless you meet a fox among your chickens.

May your fire be as warm as the weather is cold.

Trish Milburn said...

Wow, PJ and p226, you two are very, very lucky to even be with us, and we're very thankful you are.

Oh, good grief, the GR is hiccuping in the corner and is sporting a green mohawk. I think he slipped out for some St. Paddy's partying while I was cleaning the bathroom. Silly bird!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Top 'o the mornin' to ye, Christy! Remind me sometime to tell y'all my Irish bar joke. It's best done in person because of the accent...:)

As far as lucky. Hmmm. I was pretty lucky when I met my dh. And then when he moved me to Dallas, where I met my DARA friends, especially the small group called Foxes. And that led me to winning the '02 Harlequin Intrigue contest, which encouraged me to write more, which led to me finaling in the GH and of course meeting the Bandits!

Celular said...

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Christie Kelley said...

Welcome to the bandits, celular.

Kate Carlisle said...

I think celular is an advertisement and is lucky not to have been deleted. *g*

Happy St. Paddy's Day Christie. Great post! And what a lucky group we are. PJ, p226, your stories of survival are amazing. We're so lucky to have you with us.

How lucky am I? Lets see, I've won lots of raffle baskets, some small lottery wins, and there's my darling husband who's also my favorite bartender, a GH win in 2006, the year that produced the phenomenal Banditas, plus so many wonderful writer friends and an incredible book sale late last year. I'd say I've been lucky. *G*

Trish, congrats on the GR! A green mohawk sounds very attractive!