How to Have the Luck O’ the Irish

Irish immigrants

Seneca“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca, Roman Philosopher

On Saint Patrick’s Day we celebrate…umm…shamrocks, Guinness, green, and all things Irish? While the day is supposed to be dedicated to the arrival of Christianity in Ireland via Saint Patrick, like many religious holidays the celebration itself has become the focus of the day. Fret ye not boy-o (don’t worry), for there is more to be learned besides holding your whiskey on this fine holiday.

How to Have the Luck O’ the Irish shamrock_small2

In some respects the Irish are not the luckiest of people. They have been invaded, warred against, starved & discriminated. However, they have also made it through these tough times. Following Seneca’s popular phrase, that luck is when opportunity meets preparedness, I would say the Irish have been very lucky.

Be a Hard Worker


Irish workers lunching on a steel beam

When we think of the Irish we sometimes forget the old ways they lived and all that their hardihood has brought to the world. They are and were herders, farmers, steel workers, and everything in between. When times get tough, you can get lucky by not being squeamish and taking whatever work allows you to take care of yourself and your family with dignity.

Put up a Fight


The Shillelagh walking and fighting stick

The Irish may be well-known for their ability hold a grudge and then punch that grudge in the face, but there is a line somewhere between quick-tempered and standing up for what you believe that we should strive for. We have far too many men of inaction and indecision. When you believe in something it’s worth fighting for. And, when you start a fightin’, don’t quit until you win or are thoroughly licked! You may not always win the fight but you will win respect.

Note: The Shillelagh is an Irish walking stick made from the root bulb and wood of the Blackthorn shrub. The wood is incredibly dense and makes a great weapon. It was originally used to settle gentlemen’s disputes but has been known to be used as a lethal fighting club. Personally I think it would make a near perfect weapon in the very, very likely zombie apocalypse ;-).

Be Thick Skinned


How is it in a day and age where “ insensitivity” to other people’s lifestyles, appearance, and behaviors is a criminal act, that we can still make fun of the Irish? Because they are, at heart, good-natured and thick-skinned. Considering what the world has thrown at them, celebrating with some stereotypical, light-hearted merriment isn’t all that bad. In addition, a true mark of being accepted into a group or society is allowing them the freedom to poke fun. Think about how true this is with your close friends. This is a lesson we have somehow forgotten as a society and need to put into practice.

Celebrate Well

Irish Singalong in a pub

Irish sing along in a pub

Whether it’s at a pub or having people over for dinner, the Irish are known for marking an occasion. Celebrating together bonds friendships and engraves the good times in our mind – as long as the celebrating is done in moderation ;-). These memories come in handy when hard times strike.

Final Thoughts

I leave you with this great piece by Irish poet, William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats“Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.” – William Butler Yeats

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

– Yarbrough


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