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.

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