The Luck o’ the Irish, and other blessings


As secular as Irish shenanigans may seem, there are some tenuous sacred roots to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. For instance, it’s said the Shamrock was used by St. Patrick to illustrate the principle of the Trinity to people he converted.

While the Shamrock is associated with all things Irish, it’s actually a native of South Africa. Officially its name is Oxalis Regnelli; it grows from a bulb and produces small white flowers. History suggests the Irish people were anything but lucky so where the connotation of Irish luck originated is unclear, unless it has something to do with finding the occasional four-lobed plant among the Shamrock’s usual three.

Irish blessings abound and my favourite has always been Go n-eírí an bóthar leat, but in light of the ongoing assault of earthquakes in Japan its translation doesn’t seem quite so appropriate this year — may the road rise with you – although its intent is well-meaning:

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields and,

Until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Instead, I’ll raise a glass… mmm, maybe not. I’m not much for Guinness, so maybe it’ll be a mug of Irish coffee*… and offer the following to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow.

May the soft winds freshen your spirit.

May the sunshine brighten your heart

May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you.

And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.


*”Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.” [Alex Levine]

Éirinn go Brách 😉


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

5 thoughts on “The Luck o’ the Irish, and other blessings

  1. Lovely post, but the ”shamrock” that most North American stores sell as a shamrock is not what a shamrock is in Ireland. So you’re right about the above picture being an entirely different plant from South Africa. I think stores here chose that a number of years ago because they thought it looked like a shamrock. But as an born and bred Irishman, a shamrock is pretty much your average clover. In fact in the old Gaelic language, Shamrock means just that, clover.

    Blessings on you.

    1. You’re entirely right, of course. In Gaelic it’s the “seamróg”, common white clover. We probably wouldn’t favour ordinary clover as a houseplant, would we? My DH is always trying to get rid of it from our lawns, too.

  2. Thank you for the sweet St. Patrick’s Day wish. I hope you enjoyed the day. The sun was shining yesterday, and we were out and about in it smiling. Blessings to you, Carol…

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