March 17th -It's a time to celebrate being Irish even if you're not, in the hopes that you will be able to gain a little 'luck of the Irish' or 'rub of the green'. After the year we've all had, I'm sure we would welcome some good fortune; however, if we dig a little deeper we may find that the Irish can actually teach us some coping skills in tough times.
The irony is that the Irish actually have one of the unluckiest histories of any nation. Centuries of tyranny by English occupation, millions dying of starvation during the potato famine of 1845-1849, followed by mass migration...Where's the luck there? By 1950, Ireland's population had shrunk from over 8 million to around 4 million. The great industrial cities in Scotland and England were an option for work if you didn't fancy braving the boats leaving daily for America, Canada or Australia. (The price and the 3 hour boat ride as opposed to 3 weeks, made it a little more appealing!) One migrant family left from the little town of New Ross in County Waterford. They settled in the Boston area. Their name was Kennedy. Another family left from the small town of Ballinascarthy in County Cork and settled in Dearborn, Michigan. They were the Fords.
Each family left their small towns having said: "Enough is enough. I choose something better for myself and my family." Luck? They each made their own and maybe therein lies the secret of the leprechaun's pot of gold. It's not actually at the end of a rainbow, but within every one of us.
On this day that celebrates one wee nation's patron saint, let's be grateful that we all live in a country where your choices are limitless as to how you live your life. The beauty every day is that you don't have to get on a boat and change countries to make a difference. Simply by opening your front door and stepping out you have a chance to find your 'luck' in every situation.