Are they being kind or cruel? During their history the Irish have been as unlucky as any group can be.
The bad luck began with the early inhabitants of the islands. The druids practiced a pagan religion. St. Patrick was said to have chased the snakes from the island, although there had not been snakes there. Many scholars interpret the statement figuratively. They believe that what was really meant was he was chasing the pagans from Ireland.
Around the 8th century the Vikings attacked the Irish viciously. The homes and villages were pillaged. Women were raped. Their crops were destroyed. Families were kidnapped and made slaves.
As a result of the savage attacks and resettlement of some of the Vikings to the island nation, the culture of the people changed. Many of the new residents of the island inherited traits of their captives. Among the most notable was the increased number of red-headed people. The country with the world’s greatest concentration of redheads is Ireland.
Redheads have been highly discriminated against, often called mean and hot-tempered. They were also teased because of their abundance of freckles
The English dynasty that ruled England from 1485 to 1603 brutally tried to wipe out the Irish culture.
In an effort to gain independence from England, Ireland and her allies lost battle after battle. The Irish often sided with the French, combining the rotten luck of the Irish with the incompetence of the French military.
During an invasion from France to free Ireland from the English, the luck of the Irish kicked in; fog and strong winds caused the French ships to sink or flee from the battle.
In an earlier article I mentioned the potato famine when the crop failed for seven straight years. Over one million people died and an additional million left the Island.
Is it all doom and gloom for the Irish? No!
On the positive side, many consider redheaded women to be prettier and sexier than blonds and brunettes.
And the Irish eventually gained their independence. Many who had fled the island have descendents enjoying a better life here in Acadiana. And the Irish all over the world still have their clover.
According to tradition, the four leaves of the clover represent faith, hope, love and good luck to their finders.
In the Shamrock the Irish found a lucky charm. There is an old Irish saying, “If you are lucky enough to be Irish, you are lucky enough.”
Have a lucky St. Patrick’s Day!
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