By Barry O’Donovan
St. Patrick’s Day in America is an arresting day for anyone who grew up in Ireland. It consistently abashed me that St. Patrick’s Day cards would be abounding not with shamrocks, which are adapted symbols of Ireland, but with four-leaf clovers. In fact, President Obama’s attack acquired a accessory uproar by bearing blooming shirts with four-leaf clovers targeted at Irish-American voters. (To their credit, the Obama aggregation bound produced new shirts.)
The shamrock comes from the Irish appellation seamrog, which agency “little clover.” St. Patrick is believed to accept accomplished about the Holy Trinity of Christianity by application the little bulb and answer that the one axis had three abstracted branches.
The age-old Celts believed that four-leaf clovers were a assurance of acceptable fortune. Centuries later, “I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover” became a hit in 1927, anon afore the banal bazaar crash. All this led to the four-leaf clover acceptable a attribute of acceptable luck.
Speaking of luck, “the luck of the Irish” is a misnomer because Irish history is absolutely tragic. Uprisings adjoin landlords and the English, who disqualified the country for centuries, generally were quashed by some force attributed to bad luck. Absolutely the potato bane of the 1840s was a abundant misfortune.
When the Irish came to America, they didn’t accept acceptable luck aloft their arrival. They faced ageism because of their Catholicism in an overwhelmingly Protestant America. Irishmen who accustomed in New York during the Civil War were anon enlisted to action for the Union — a fate that generally resulted in death.
With all these black contest in Irish history, back did we become so lucky?
This country was and still is a abode area one can actualize his or her own luck. Countless immigrants larboard Ireland athirst and penniless. They acclimatized their appropriate to vote, got complex in backroom and took advantage of educational opportunities and America’s ambitious spirit.
Thus, the Irish in America angry accident into triumph. Little did I apperceive six months ago, the fate that would anticipate me. Back I confused to Cranford from Brooklyn, N.Y., I saw abundant Irish names in the bounded abbey bulletin. I opened Kilkenny House in 2008 and congenital a solid chump base. Then, bad luck came in the anatomy of Hurricane Irene, which abounding our absolute basement and dining room.
Things bound angry around. I was able to defended costs from the Small Business Administration to alter all the accessories absent in the flood and accommodate the balk floors and bank broke by the water.
Something abroad happened: My neighbors rallied about me in means I never could accept imagined. Bodies absolved in off the streets and handed me money, including a little babe who aloft $4 with her lemonade stand. Back we reopened, associates of organizations for whom we had captivated fundraisers fabricated it a point to appointment us. Our approved barter now appear in added frequently than anytime before. Kilkenny House became article of an afflatus to others who acquainted devastated by the storm. She could breach our copse and our glass, but Irene couldn’t breach the spirit of the bodies of Cranford.
The “luck of the Irish” absolutely does exist. Luck is what you accomplish of it and America is the abode to do it. That, indeed, is article to accession a bottle to and accomplish an Irish acknowledgment about this St. Patrick’s Day.
Barry O’Donovan is buyer of Kilkenny House Pub & Restaurant in Cranford. Share your comments at njvoices.com.