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Irish Superstitions

List all the Irish Superstitions you know of and what is the meaning and origin i.e. what part of Ireland is it from, who did you hear it from, do you believe it and does it scare you or make you happy etc.

Location: Atwater, California
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Superstition in Irish folklore

Started by Anne Mc Loone. Last reply by NIta Oct 27, 2009. 2 Replies

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Comment by Rita Barnowski on March 3, 2012 at 23:24

The only Irish superstition I know is one I've read, "wash your feet before entering the house or the fairies will steal the butter".  The main superstitions observed in our house are by the kids.  In the winter they will do anything to insure a snowday off of school.  They go to bed with their pajamas inside out, tape a penny to the doorknob (can't decide which side of the door, so they tape one on both), put an ice cube in the toilet, and a spoon under their pillow.  It doesn't always work, but it's very entertaining! lol :)

Comment by Anne Mc Loone on November 4, 2009 at 20:35
Not even a banger to be heard here, for a delightful change! Tho' we live in a rural area, the trad bonfires had given way to the efforts to impress in recent years although the fireworks were illegal. Big load of same seized en route from N.Irel. put paid to the fun this year and our pooch and many more animals were spared the traumas. The lady I hope to visit lives a bit away in the hills of Donegal ; speaks Irish and though she has featured frequently on Gaelic Radio I would rather not get into the taping business as I am not very tech minded...can barely type...but will note anything worth passing on to you. Bear with me and as soon as the mad wet windy weather settles I will see to it. Meanwhile you can beef up on your gaelic:-Slan go foill! (be well in the meantime, pronounced slaan go foil)
Comment by Brendan O'Neill on November 4, 2009 at 19:53
Anne this is great! When you talk to the 95 yr old lady see if you can tape her sayings. Mostly her personal experiances. Well, I did not have any visitors on hollow's eve. Did you?
Comment by Anne Mc Loone on October 27, 2009 at 23:25
So good to hear from people...thought I was "with the faeries" as they say here in Ireland about someone who is a bit retarded! Anyway, my ancestors would have had a very healthy respect for the "wee folk" as Wm.Butler Yeats described them poetically and faeries occupied no-go areas eg behind the house where the pee-pots were dumped (prior to running water/ toilets). The major danger for children there was a prolific crop of stinging nettles due to the enrichment with nitrogen, never mind health reasons in an era where shoes were discarded in the summer. Anoyher taboo area woulkd have been a rocky clump with thorny bushes in the field but again it was customary to dispose of broken glass, earthenware or sharp tools between stones there to avoid damage to children or livestock. It was always accepted that faeries related better to children and might try to lure them away or lead them astray so perhaps it was a nice way of protecting them from danger without being alarmist.
Back to superstitions. Again there were some mighty sensible ones like not walking under a ladder! In folklore the main road was always the shortest whether it was crooked or straight. Another recommendation was not to be the first into a bog (marsh) or the last into a wood or thicket! A lot of folk were very wary of green clothing and some would prohibit anyone wearing same from entering the house but I have no idea how that came about or where it originated. Kerry people way back believed that it was lucky in the long run if an opposing team scored the first goal! An overly praised or admired animal was perceived a risk for the owner and they would feel compelled to sell it.(?) That last one reminds me of an
incident last year where my butcher had the tyres of his car admired by a guy and next morning he found his vehicle where he had parked with four wheels gone! The hand of the thief was supposed to be unlucky . You bet!Hope to catch up with a former teacher of mine who is good on folklore and clear as a bell at 95 and glean some superstitions off her anon . Meanwhile have a happy Halloweve and avoid the faeries, they're mischeivous!
Comment by Brendan O'Neill on October 27, 2009 at 5:49
Thank you Anne for posting the very interesting article. I have been waiting and hoping someone that lived in Ireland would make some comment here. I have seen many Magpies here in California but never knew superstition was associated with them. Friday is a day to look to and the information on the leprechaun will be put to use when I see one...and I will be looking.
Comment by Anne Mc Loone on October 26, 2009 at 4:14
Perhaps it's the time of year that got me into this, but if there is anyone in the group browsing anon would value your comments...I have no superstitions about magpies yet see them regularly and would prefer not to see one alone ie one for sorrow,2 for joy,3 for wedding, 4 for a boy, 5 for silver, 6 for gold, 7 for a story never to be told. Know people whose lives are hampered by pisreogi (Irish for s/stitions) and would find it a problem even to have red and white flowers displayed together. More on same if anyone's interested. Is there anyone out there or are ye all hibernating? Even the dead are due to visit their homes next Friday and we remember them in our prayers on Sat. They are never felt around but it was always the custom to have the house tidy and warm for such guests! But should you speak ill of them your luck is out the window....worse than breaking a mirror! By the way, should you see a leprechaun don't blink; the wee fecker with the hammer and the crock of gold has a tendency to vanish just like fund managers....but an itchy left palm indicates money winging its way to you, Good luck!
Comment by NIta on September 24, 2009 at 0:29
oh, sorry. I keep forgetting to put location. My grandfather's family was from Perth, Scotland but some members were in Ulster. My grandmother's were from Kerry.
Comment by NIta on September 24, 2009 at 0:27
Scott's post of 09/17 sounds like a classic Banshee as both the knocking and the wailing are the most common manifestations. Perhaps a member of his clan was passing away, someone of whom he had no knowledge.
Comment by NIta on September 23, 2009 at 21:46
You are welcome. As a kid I was always listening to the old folks. I thought they were so fascinating and their view of a world populated by things like fairies and witches seemed way more interesting than church.
Comment by Brendan O'Neill on September 23, 2009 at 18:41
Thank you Nita. You seem to be the #1 provider of this Group. The most recent one is good & could help children not to be a collector of possible unsanitary items. It appears the superstition could also teach respect for the spirits which could cross over in other areas of respect.
 

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