In Irish craft, our nation has top-class makers who craft everything from pottery to Aran knit jumpers. Irish designers and craftspeople are our best exports. Look at Ian and Anife Dowling – market leaders in the production of lavender soap and candles, handmade in Kilkenny. Purple Cloud plants, grows and semi-distils the lavender that is cultivated on 300-acres of sprawling fields. They also encourage and support bee keepers with equipment and training. Is there anything these artisans can’t do?
In the Emerald Isle, handing someone a knife or scissors is bad luck. It is said that passing a sharp item can sever the relationship. Luckily, by exchanging a coin afterwards there is a quick-witted way around. Or… just make sure to place the scissors down first on a table before your friend picks it up!
Celtic tribes blamed bad luck (cows that couldn’t be milked, chickens that wouldn’t lay eggs) on local elves and magic goblins. Believing that fairies feared iron weapons, the Celts started hanging horseshoes over their doorways to ward off the spells of evil creatures. If you plan to do the same, just make sure it is facing the right way up – in a U-shape, to keep the good luck from spilling out.
An itchy nose means that a fight is coming your way. To nip the argument in the bud, lots of Irish people give a light slap to the hand and then shake hands. That should do the trick!
On our little island, having a bird poop on you is a sign of good things to come! The belief also extends to a bird pooing on your car. Suppose there’s always a silver lining.
One woman told me last Christmas that she did not believe either in hell or in ghosts. Hell she thought was merely an invention got up by the priest to keep people good; and ghosts would not be permitted, she held, to go ‘trapsin about the earth’ at their own free will; ‘but there are faeries,’ she added,’and little leprechauns, and water-horses, and fallen angels.’ – W. B. Yeats