Ireland is known as the “Emerald Isle” for the many vibrant shades of green in its landscape. The country averages around 200 rainy days a year.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in not in Ireland, but in Boston in 1737. Nearly a quarter of Massachusetts residents hail from Irish ancestry. St. Pat’s wasn’t an Irish holiday until 1903.
The shamrock, a national symbol of Ireland, has three leaves. The rare “four-leaved clover” was a symbol of good luck to the ancient Celts. 5th-century missionary St. Patrick used the plant to teach the ancient Irish about the Trinity. He told them that the fourth leaf was a bonus – an extra portion of God’s grace.
The legend of the leprechaun with his pot of gold has changed over the centuries. In old days, he was a shy old shoemaker dressed in red.
The “gold at the end of the rainbow” came from on old Irish saying. It was originally said, “One is as likely to find a pot of gold as the end of the rainbow.”
In real life, there are numerous gold deposits, primarily in the country of Northern Ireland. “Emerald Isle” is a misnomer, since the island is not a source of that gemstone – however other gems of the beryl family including aquamarine & topaz, as well as precious quartzes, are sometimes found in mineral deposits.
The popular “Claddagh ring” has its origin in a town of the same name. Legends say it was made by a young sailor as a symbol of devotion for his beloved. The heart represents love, the hands friendship, and the crown loyalty. Wearing the ring with the heart facing inward means the person’s heart is taken. If worn with the heart facing outward, it’s a sign that the wearer is single & looking!