If you are not of European descent, than you probably have problems with some of the symbols and stories that are related to Ireland. A survey even shows that over 70% of North Americans can’t even locate the island on a map that has no country-names written on it. Whether or not this is the case; if you are planning to travel with an Irish Travel Bureau to the great island of Ireland, that is full of history and great beer; here are a few pointers that can help you along the way.
The Debate of the Four-Leaf Clover and the Shamrock
When someone that is not of Irish descent hears of the four-leaf clover, they automatically think about a lucky charm and an Irish leprechaun standing beside a pot of gold. Although this symbolic leaf does relate to Ireland, it is not to be mistaken by the national symbol or the Shamrock, which is a three leaved clover used by St. Patrick. The two stories got intertwined since they both play a part in Ireland’s history, and both clovers are green, which is also the national color of the country. The one thing that people seem to overlook is the amount of leaves on the clover.
The Four Leaf Clover’s History
The four leaf clover did get associated with leprechauns in the early 9th century. The myths and fairy tales were based on the true historical invasion of Ireland by red-head Scandinavian Vikings. These people brought golden coins to the land, which was later protected by the mythical leprechauns when the Vikings left. The four leaf clover represents luck; this is of Celtic origin, where the first leaf stands for hope, the second for faith, the third for love, and the fourth for luck. This represented the place where the gold could be found.
Ireland’s Three Leaf Clover – The Shamrock
Many people confuse the lucky four-leaf clover with Ireland’s greatest symbol, the shamrock. The island itself is called the land of Shamrock, since the three-leaved clover carpets most part of the country’s forests. It became a national symbol and connected with Saint Patrick and Christianity, when he used the little plant to simply clarify to the pagan Irish that God is a Holy Trinity. Three in one, like the three leaves in one plant, represent the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.