The Luck of the Irish

The phrase “the luck of the Irish” is commonly known throughout most of the world.

It’s meaning, however, is commonly misunderstood.

Many people believe it refers to Irish folks being particularly blessed with good fortune, possibly something to do with shamrocks or leprechauns. History, however, lends no credence to this interpretation.

The real meaning of the phrase was once best described to me by an Irish-American friend.

“Imagine you’re walking along the street, minding your own business, when suddenly, for whatever reason, you slip and fall, break your leg. There you are, laying in the gutter, in agony. And while you’re waiting for someone to come and help you, you find a penny. That is the luck of the Irish.”

And that is what I felt after this week’s election.

Polls, being what they are, painted a prettier picture than the ensuing reality. You would have been better off placing your faith in a bookie’s. I didn’t break my leg after hearing the news (although my car did break down minutes afterward), but I did find the penny.

Pretty little thing. It had my date of birth on it, even.

I’m not going to give a statistical rundown of the outcome, but suffice it to say that unionists and Tories won the lottery and we now have a Thatcherite regime in the northern six.

May the luck of the Irish be with you.

Back to that penny that I found, (I did actually find one, but it wasn’t the greatest treasure of the day.) In the midst of my disappointment, I read a quote from UUP’s Tom Elliot, who narrowly defeated Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew for the seat in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. This victory was largely the result of an electoral “pact” between the DUP and the UUP. A similar pact was offered to the SDLP by SF, but none of that matters now.

Mr. Elliot stated, upon his victory that the constituency was “not a green constituency” and “doesn’t belong to Bobby Sands,”

Thank you, Mr. Elliot. For showing your true colours (or singular colour, orange in this case) amidst the usual political rhetoric about serving people from all walks of life in your newly held constituency.

I have never, despite an innate desire to do so, pissed on a man’s grave. It’s just bad form. I remember Bobby Sand’s death, and if my memory serves me correctly, he passed in 1981, on the fifth of May, just a few days on the calendar before Mr. Elliot’s victory. And he’s quite right; Fermanagh and South Tyrone do not belong to Bobby Sands, nor did he ever lay any claim to them. As property, if you will. And so, in figuratively pissing on this man’s grave, a man who I would wager Mr. Elliot has not even a fraction of the testicular fortitude that Bobby Sands had during his brief, heroic and tragic life, he has displayed to his constituency, his country, and the world, that he is an out-of the-closet sectarian.

At least he’s honest.


That was my penny, small enough but worth more than gold. It was a clear declaration of the intent of unionists to dominate their neighbours and “reclaim” their birthright of ascendancy. (No one’s really climbing the ladder these days, but who’s counting?)

I am.

I found a penny.

“Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small, no one is too old or too young to do something.” Bobby Sands, on hunger strike shortly before his death in 1981.

Now, go and find your lucky penny.

And save it.

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