“Luck o’ the Irish to ye!” We’ve all heard that phrase countless times. But have you ever wondered why Irish lads and lasses are known as the lucky ones? Like many Irish sayings, those lighthearted words actually have a deeper meaning.
While the “luck of the Irish” currently refers to good fortune, the phrase wasn’t exactly complimentary when it originated during the 1800s gold rush in America. Many prosperous miners were Irish, so the “luck of the Irish” carried a bit of a dark or jealous tone, as if to say their success was simply a lucky break. Still, Irish eyes were smiling all the way to the bank—and, as we see on St. Patrick’s Day, their celebratory spirit hasn’t been broken.
Maybe that’s because the Irish know that the true treasures in life have nothing to do with gold. Love, friendship, happiness and peace are the most common themes of Irish toasts and blessings. However, as in the “lucky” expression above, some of their favorite sayings aren’t always as simple as they seem.
Here are some interesting classics…
“A guest should be blind in another man’s house.”
(A grateful guest would never talk ill
about how a host runs his household.)
“Put silk on a goat, and it’s still a goat.”
(Even if you disguise the truth, it’s still a lie.)
“As the big hound is, so will the pup be.”
(Like father, like son)
“Never dance in a small boat.”
(Don’t tempt fate.)
“Here’s to your coffin. May it be built of 100-year oaks which I will plant tomorrow.”
(May you live a hundred more years!)
A few favorites…
“There are good ships, and there are wood ships, and ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships are friendships and may they always be.”
“I have known many, liked not a few, loved only one, so this toast is for you.”
And one last blessing with an interesting twist (literally):
May those who love us, love us. And for those who don’t love us, May God turn their hearts. And if he can not turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles, So we may know them by their limping. May you live as long as you want,
and never want as long as you live.