PaperBackSwap Blog

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Luck of the Irish
Want to be lucky this St. Patrick’s Day? Follow this advice:

1. Find a four-leaf clover. 2. Wear green (so you don’t get pinched). 3. Kiss the blarney stone. 4. Catch a Leprechaun if you can.

Four-Leaf Clover
Although clovers are most often found in nature with three leaves, rare four-leaf clovers do exist. Finding one is thought to bring someone extreme luck. The folklore for four-leaf clovers differs from that of the Shamrock due to the fact that it has no religious allusions associated with it. It is believed that each leaf of a four-leaf clover represents something different: first is hope, the second is faith, the third is love, and the fourth is happiness.

Just what does a mythical leprechaun look like and why are they so special? A leprechaun looks like a little old man and dresses like a shoemaker with a cocked hat and leather apron. A Leprechaun’s personality is described as aloof and unfriendly. They live alone and pass the time by mending the shoes of Irish fairies.

According to St. Patrick’s Day: Parades, Shamrocks, and Leprechauns by Elaine Landau, the legend is that the fairies pay the leprechauns for their work with golden coins, which the “little people” collect in large pots–the famous “pots of gold” often associated with leprechauns.

If you listen closely for the sound of their hammer you might be able to capture one. If you do you can force him (with the threat of bodily violence) to reveal where he’s hidden his treasure. Be careful! Do not take your eyes off him for if you do he will surely vanish and your hopes of finding his treasure will vanish with him.

So why do we all wear green?

Probably because you’ll be pinched if you don’t! School children started this tradition. Green is also the color of spring, the shamrock, and is connected with hope and nature. Historically, green has been a color used in the flags of several revolutionary groups in Ireland and as a result it appears in the official tri-color country flag, adopted in 1919.

In addition to that, Ireland is often called the “Emerald Isle” due to the lush natural greenery found on the island. Says Prof. Mahony, “One of the things that strikes people all the time is how Ireland is incredibly green–it’s very far north, but it doesn’t get frozen. When people say that ‘Ireland has 40 shades of green,’ they are right!”

Since we could all use a bit of the Luck O’ the Irish, here is a list of books available for swapping right now on PBS with an Irish theme.

The St. Patrick’s Day Murder by Lee Harris

St Patrick’s Gargoyle
by Katherine Kurtz
I am of Irelanund: A Novel of Patrick and Osian
by Juilene Osborne-McKnight
by J.M. Holmes

by Nora Roberts
A Treasury of Irish Stories
chosen by James Riordan

In honor of the festivities we leave you with this Irish blessing: May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow and may trouble avoid you wherever you go!

Pssstt…Want to know a St. Patrick’s Day secret about Richard Pickering, Founder of PBS?  Check out the discussion forum post here.


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2 Responses to “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

  1. Little known fact: Richard, the PBS founder, has the ability to glance over a patch of clover and spot the four-leafed ones immediately. I’ve seen him do it. And so has Sally Sender 🙂

  2. Richard (Founder-PBS) Suwanee, GA says:

    OK, so you want to know the secret? Honestly. I don’t really know how it happens. I can tell you that it happens all the time but I have never really focused on the “why”. I don’t see different colors, but the patterns jump out at me when I look down into a patch of clovers. The four leaf clovers seem to “jump” out at me and I can easily see them when compared to the rest.

    On occasion, I have spotted 4 leaf clovers with friends, and while looking into the patch I have asked them to see if they can spot any of them. Very rarely do any of them find a four leaf clover. Often times while they are looking over the patch, I find several more – which really makes them mad since they can not even find one!

    I will think about it “how it works” over the next year and report back here on the next St. Patty’s Day and share my observations. Stay tuned!

    All the best and may the luck of the Irish be with you today and always!

    Best regards,


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