Shamrocks and Clovers

in Caint agus Comhrá

The Shamrock is the popular symbol of Ireland, used in Ireland throughout the ages, long before the arrival of the Christians, the plant was held sacred by the Druids and is mentioned throughout medieval literature. The word comes from the Irish term seamair óg which means little clover. 

The shamrock is a three-leaved clover, A clover is the commonly used name for several three leaf plants.

Shamrock and clovers should be considered as non-edible plants, the view that in times past Irish people ate shamrock “to make them speedy and of nimble strength”  is more likely to refer to the similar three leaf plant, the wood sorrel which was eaten as a green and used to flavor food.

The four-leaf clover is rare, 1 in 10,000 of the three leaf variety will have the fourth leaf. The four-leaf clover is the symbol of good luck and dates back to ancient times. The four leaves represent, Hope, Faith, Love and Luck, the fourth leaf represents luck. In 1620 John Melton wrote ‘ if a man walking in the fields finds any four-leafed grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing’ 

The official symbol of Ireland is the Harp and is somewhat unique to have a musical instrument as the country’s symbol. The Harp is on all euro coins issued in Ireland, as well as featuring on all government and official publications


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *