One of the misconceptions that is encountered or the mainstream and stereotypical belief that we encounter as Irish people is the Shamrock. People quickly assume that the Shamrock or the four leaf clover as some may call it is our national symbol. But the truth is, the beauty and symbolisms in designs and crafts are rich in Ireland and that doesn’t connote the idea that it would only be the Shamrock per se.
There are several Irish symbols that are rooted from our rich history that are practiced and appreciated in the Irish community. Some of which would be the Celtic Knot, Irish Harp, Triquetra, Claddagh, Cletic Cross, Tree Of Life, and the Celtic Bull among others. It’s just like any other country that doesn’t focus on one symbol to showcase their heritage.
Going back to the idea, so why did the Shamrock earn its place in Irish symbolism and traditions you may ask? To answer the question briefly, we all know the story of Saint Patrick who allegedly used the three leaf clover to teach people about christianity and religion as he travelled across Ireland. Each leaf represents the holy trinity which is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The illustration and imagery may seem like the only reasons for such, however, the truth is Celtic druids are the ones who started such practice.
The Shamrock was originally associated with the Celtic goddess Anu and would showcase her status as maiden, mother, and crone. Then again, it makes you think about the idea as one concept. As we take a closer look into Irish history, the Celts believe that the number “3” is a sign of luck and prosperity, therefore the majority of their beliefs would revolve around such practice.
Some Celtic beliefs also see the Shamrock with three leaves as:
- Land, Sea, and Sky
- Mind, Body and Soul
- Love, Truth, and Wisdom
- Birth, Death, Rebirth
- Nature, Knowledge, and Truth
In retrospect, it’s safe to believe that the three leaves can represent countless beliefs in Celtic and Celtic Druid practices, but does not necessarily stick to one aspect. Unofficially, the Shamrock became the national flower of Ireland and has been in generations till the present date. You may have specific values and beliefs in line with the Shamrock in your Celtic practices, but that does not mean it’s wrong. As long as it is rooted with the same symbolisms that we cultivate as Irish people, then it isn’t something you should be ashamed of.
The Shamrock means “seamrog” which is directly translated as little clover. So it answers the question we get when being asked what does the Shamrock mean or what form of Irish word is it.
With that being said, both St. Patrick and the Celtic druids back then are one of the reasons why the Shamrock is present in today’s society. If someone immediately asks you why the Shamrock is the symbol for Ireland, you can attest to the fact that it isn’t the national symbol, moreover, it is one of the national symbols that is materialized in our society.
We may be using the Shamrock symbol in emblems, organizations, merchandise, and other aspects of Ireland bodies to promote tourism. It’s because it is a symbol that we all understand and that people from other countries live without. They aren’t familiar with our practices and values yet once they see the symbol they are reminded of the people that do. They are given the idea that these people are in belief of a symbol that is close to nature and that it represents more than just what it is perceived to be.
The reason why the three leaf clover is different for the four leaves is because the four leaf clover is a rare find, this is why there has been connotations that the symbol of four leaves is good luck because it isn’t something that you would see everyday.
Change your perspective that the only symbol we cherish in Ireland is the Shamrock, there are a lot more symbols that we cater to and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Visit Ireland today and learn more about what we have to offer in line with what we believe in that has been rooted from our ancestors and their practice.
One of the beautiful things about Ireland and their symbols and designs is that they are now being handcrafted into jewelry that we can wear everyday. Check out our store at Celtic Knot Jewelry & Co. to see for yourself, there’s a perfect collection for your beliefs and your story. Shop Now!
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