Call me crazy, but I was always under the impression that the legend of 'the luck of the Irish' referred to them being blessed with good luck. Then I went to Ireland. My first hint came as I was reading my guide book on the airplane. As I got deeper and deeper into details about Ireland's history, I discovered that for centuries they have been anything but lucky. Brutal invasions, first by the Vikings, then by the English, followed by poverty, the potato famine, mass emigration, and The Troubles, a very delicate label for the unresolved political and religious conflict that continues in Northern Ireland to this day. Nothing about their history seemed lucky to me.
|...or not? Oh, and please excuse the sparkles. I am not exactly a sparkly kind of girl, but this was the best image I could find.|
nosy curious girl that I am, I was compelled to find out why most people assume the Irish are lucky, when nothing in their history suggests anything even remotely close to luck. One theory suggests that it comes from the luck many Irish people had mining for gold after they immigrated to America. Another suggests that during that time, Americans viewed Irish immigrants in a negative light, thinking they were foolish and simple, so anytime an Irish person achieved success in America, it was dubbed 'the luck of the Irish'. Or, perhaps they are considered lucky simply because they managed to survive, and occasionally thrive, through all of the hardships and obstacles thrown their way over the centuries.
After our 12 days in Ireland, I would say that the last theory rings most true. We ran into a few instances of back luck, but managed to persevere, stay positive, and always came up lucky in the end.
Luck Of The Irish: Scenario 1
Upon arrival at the Dublin airport, we promptly picked up our backwards rental car. We loaded up on insurance, since neither of us have experience driving on the left hand side of the road, which seemed like a super tricky, dangerous skill to master in a rental car.
|It just looks so wrong, doesn't it?|
|So lucky I had this strong, Mr. Fix-It guy as my travel partner!|
The lucky part was of this little set back was that we were able to get ourselves, on three regular tires and a donut, to the nearest town 20 minutes before the only auto shop in a radius of 100 kilometers closed for the weekend.
Luck of the Irish: Scenario 2
Thanks to the frequent occurrence of rain, I could think of no better place to break in my brand spanking new Hunter Wellies than Ireland. I was never the least bit bothered by rain, as I frolicked around the gorgeous green fields of Ireland in my Wellies, snapping photo after photo. Since this was my first pair of rubber boots since my childhood, I also took the liberty of jumping in a few puddles.
|If you haven't tried it since you were, I don't know, 5, I would highly recommend it.|
In true tourist fashion, we would drive a few kilometers, then pull over randomly, and without warning to the unfortunate drivers behind us, to jump out and take pictures. Leaving one of these pit stops, after climbing back in the rental Fiat, a strong whiff of cow poop flooded my nasal passage, nearly choking me. As we continued driving, the scent only intensified. "Wow, those farms really smell." I commented, wrinkling my nose. A few minutes later, my nostrils overflowing with the rancid scent of cow dung, I asked Henry, "can't you notice how strong it is?" He noticed, but wasn't as bothered by it as I was. He is a professional farmer after all. I decided the smell was too in your face to just be wafting in through the closed windows from the farms we drove past, so I checked my Wellies. Did I mention they were brand new? And then I found the source of the odor, exclaiming to Henry, "Pull over right now! I am covered in cow shit!"
|You are a lot cuter than you smell! via|
Yup, that's right, I stepped in a huge cow patty in my brand new boots. Then I proceeded to step on the cloth strap of my cross body bag that I had carelessly set on the floor of the car. Take my word for it, the stench of cow shit does not come out of cloth as easy as it does rubber.
Oh, and by the way, that is not the first time I have stepped in cow poop. Remember Austria? Not only did I step in cow poop, I stepped in a pile of still warm, greenish-brown poop, while wearing sandals! I appear to be a cow shit magnet.
|The damage done in Austria.|
There was some luck to be had in this code brown disaster. To begin with the obvious, I stepped in the poop while wearing rubber boots, rather than my favorite ballet flats. They were brand new, expensive boots, but at least I was able to hose them down with a bottle of water. Where are the good puddles when you need them anyway? I was also lucky that my black cross body bag was not only old, but it was my back up purse, so I wasn't stuck wearing a purse that smelled like cow shit for two weeks. But, the biggest stroke of luck was actually that my stepping in cow poop may have possibly saved our lives, or at least prevented a car accident. Which brings me to...
Luck of the Irish: Scenario 3
So, how did stepping in cow poop prevent us from getting in a car accident? Well, after I cleaned off my boots and inhaled some fresh, seaside air, we got back into the car to find that the clutch was broken. It was completely loose, and dropped straight to the floor. Now, I don't know much about cars, or how to fix them, so I won't bore you with inaccurate details of the mechanical problem that occurred. The point is, we could not shift gears, therefore, we could not drive anywhere. If I hadn't of stepped in the poop, we would have just been driving along the narrow, windy, treacherous mountain roads, in weekend tourist traffic, when the clutch gave out. Not quite as lucky as making such a discovery while parked safely on the side of the road.
Once again, we contacted our car rental agent to explain the problem, and she sent road side assistance to come save the day. It took less than an hour for the guy to get to us, which was great, but breaking down on the side of the road was not a part of my plan. Plus, it really cut into the time we had to explore Belfast.
|AA came to save the day! via|
Luckily, the sweet Irish man who came to our rescue discovered the part that was broken might just be able to be flipped around and work again. He tried it out, telling us, "don't git yer 'opes up, tiz rare not to 'av ter git towed in ter de shop." Well, I guess you could say that 'the luck of the Irish' was with us, because his trick worked, and it only took him about 4 minutes to figure it out. Well, 4 minutes if you don't count the other 45 minutes he spent talking to us about his job, the weather they had in Ireland last winter, and the trouble he had putting snow chains on his tires. The Irish sure do love to chit chat, but I didn't care at this point. I enjoyed listening to his accent, and was ecstatic that we didn't need to employ a tow truck.
Luck of the Irish: Scenario 4
As you may already know, or I may have already mentioned, Ireland is no stranger to rain. How else do you think it became so green? We prepared ourselves for rainy weather not only by packing rubber boots, rain jackets and umbrellas, but also with a little pep talk to remind ourselves that we would not be disappointed if we got caught in a rain storm or two. Well, it pretty much rained on a daily basis. At first it was just sun showers here and there, but by the end of our trip it turned torrential. At one point, it rained more in 6 hours than it normally does the entire month of October, flooding homes and the roads alike.
|We made it through this flooded road in the rental. Scary considering the luck we'd been having.|
While continuous rainy weather is never favorable, we lucked out in spite of it. It would rain right up until we had to get out of the car to explore outside, and then it would stop. Like Mother Nature herself parted the clouds and turned off the faucet just for us. On one occasion, it had been ideal weather all day, and just as we were about to make the hike back to the car from Slieve League, we spied a major storm rolling in, and it was rolling fast. The storm chased us the whole way back to the car, but not a drop of rain fell until we were safely tucked inside. Thanks Mother Nature. Your kindness was greatly appreciated!
|The huge storm clouds rolling in fast.|
|And me trying to out run the storm. I beat it! Barely.|
Another lucky side of all that rain is...drum roll please....rainbows! Who doesn't love a good rainbow? I took it upon myself to be on rainbow watch 24/7. Henry wasn't nearly as excited about the duty as I was. I counted 7 different rainbows in a 12 day period, 3 of them being double rainbows. How lucky is that? Unfortunately, there were no pots of gold to be found at the end of these rainbows. Looks like the luck of the Irish isn't the only myth to come out of Ireland!
I attempted to photograph each of the 7 rainbows I saw, unfortunately, the pictures did not turn out. I have already posted a few other rainbow shots taken from the same area as above, to check those out, click HERE.
Have you ever been blessed (or cursed) by 'the luck of the Irish'?