Celebrating The Shamrock on St Patrick’s Day!

Irish_cloverNicola here! Today is St Patrick’s Day, the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, and if you’ve read Wench Susan’s post earlier in the week you will already be in the mood to celebrate with a pint of Guinness and some delicious soda bread!

Whilst the harp is the official symbol of Ireland, found everywhere from Guinness glasses to official coinage, the shamrock is another symbol that is as widely recognised and popular. It is said that this little sprig of green was important to the druids and that St Patrick used it to explain the concept of the trinity in his teaching, as it has three leaves.

The original shamrock has been identified as being either the lesser or the white clover, although down the centuries there has been a lot of discussion amongst botanists as to what genus of plant it actually was. Normally it has just the three leaves; if you find one with four then that is especially lucky! References to it in medieval literature refer to beautiful fields of it in flower – there is a story that St Brigid decided to stay in County Kildare when she saw a meadow clothed in glorious shamrock/clover flowers.

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Happy Paddy’s Day!

Rice_MysticGuardian200x300Top o’ the mornin’ and a Happy Paddy’s Day to ya!

(My Mystic Isle is too tropical for Ireland, but for today, can we all agree there is something mystical about the Emerald Isle?)

My mother, whose parents came directly from the Ould Sod in the early 1900s, was stereotypical red-haired Irish, green eyes, hot temper and all. My cousin tells me she was determined to name her children Pat and Mike, for reasons I don’t fathom until this day. I know rafts of us were named Patricia in the 1950s because of movie actress Patricia Neal, and the Tracy/Hepburn movie Pat and Mike came along in 1952, but I don’t remember my mother ever going to the movies.   Patricia_neal

So my theory is that she wanted us to be saints. I’m named after St Patrick and my brother after St Michael, making us Irish Catholic inside and out.

Since this is St Patrick’s Day, I claim it for my own, even if St Pat was actually English. Of course, he was English. Didn’t the English do their very best to turn Ireland into England? In Pat’s case, he might have had a point, since Irish raiders kidnapped the sixteen-year-old from his wealthy home and essentially forced him into servitude until he escaped six years later. And what does the man do but decide to go back and teach the heathens?

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