This is my guide to Ireland, everything from Irish tourist attractions and sights, Irish history , Irish food and recipes, folklore and mythology to the people and culture along with a few Irish superstitions and traditions. Your guide to Ireland by an Irish woman living and raising a family in Ireland

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Irish superstitions

Irish people are or at least were some of the most superstitious people that ever existed.  As an Irish woman in my twenties I have learned many of the superstions from the older generations and from story telling and although most of the superstitions are not heeded anymore, very few have been forgotten.

I will share a few of these superstitions from time to time as I remember them.

Irish superstitions part one - Unlucky omens

You may have heard the saying "the luck of the Irish" but according to old Irish tales or Old wives tales most things brought Bad luck!

  • If anyone stumbled at the foot of a grave - it was considered bad luck and if you were unfortunate enough to actually fall and touch the ground, death would most likely occur within the year
  • If a magpie came to your front door and looked at you  - this signaled death and could not be averted
  • Black cats, a girls whisteling or a crowing hen all signaled bad luck
  • If you kill a robin you will never see or have good luck
  • A wagtail near your house equals bad luck
  • It is unlucky to accept a lock of hair from a lover
  • It is unlucky if a hare crosses your path before sunrise
  • Friday is the most unlucky day to move house, start a business or take a trip
  • Never put shoes on a table or you will be sure to have bad luck
  • A broken mirror means seven years bad luck
  • It is bad luck for a fisherman to keep the first salmon of the season
  • You must never walk under a ladder
  • You must never open an umbrella in the house
  • Handing someone a knife is bad luck
  • Two people washing their hands in the same sink at the same time means disaster
  • Red haired women were considered most unlucky
This is just some of the many superstitions that have been told in Ireland. There are many many more, more than I will ever be able to write.  Most are far fetched and yet some are based on commen sense, for example if a piece of food dropped to the floor, it was to be left untouched, for the faery folk/the good people and it was them who knocked it from your hand - although that may seem far fetched, at the time hygene standards would have been poor and it would have been difficult to persuade a hungry person not to retrieve the food on the basis that it may not be clean - but very few people would have taken something back from the good people, as they were referred to.


Newgrange - Bru na Boinne

Newgrange is a stone age passage tomb situated in the Boyne valley. It is over 5000 years old and is even older than stonehenge in England. It is actually even older than the great pyramid of Giza in Egypt!
Newgrange was built during the Neolithic or New Stone age and was built by a farming community.  It can only be visited by guided tour from the Bru na Boinne visitor center and can be completely booked out for long periods.
It is an ancient temple with spiritual and ceremonial importance and has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

The Winter Solstice

At dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December a narrow beam of light penetrates a roof box in the cruciform chamber of Newgrange and reaches the chamber floor slowly extending to the rear of the passage creating amazing illuminations that last about 17 minutes.  Visitors wait in the dawn darkness to catch this yearly occurance.  Newgrange brings over 200,000 visitors a year.

Myths about Newgrange

It is said that Newgrange is the buriel place of Lugh Lamhfada, the spiritual father of mythical hero Cuchulainn. It is also said to be the place he was conceived by his mother Dechtine.

Traditional Irish Jewellery - rings

Irish Jewellery

The Claddagh ring is one of the most popular pieces of traditional jewellery, dating back over 300 years.  The ring shows hands holding a heart and the meaning of the ring is friendship, love and loyalty. 
Claddagh rings are traditionally used as wedding rings, friendship rings, engagement rings and are also very popular as mothers day gifts. They make an ideal gift for anybody and almost every Irish woman has owned one from a young age as they are often given on a girls 16th birthday.

The basic meaning for the Claddagh ring is Love and loyalty forever.

Womens Claddagh birthstone ring

Women's Claddagh Birthstone Rings - Sterling Silver

Women's Mo Anam Cara-My Soul Mate - 14 Kt. Gold Ring

Women's Mo Anam Cara-My Soul Mate - 14 Kt. Gold Ring

Celtic charm womens ring

Women's A Ring of Celtic Charm