The Luck of The Irish!


Chris Ambrose 

Photograph courtesy of Genius Kitchen

no copyright infringement is intended 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to All…and…the luck is not just for the Irish! The story behind how that expression (Luck of the Irish) came to be will surely entertain you, but first let’s look at what everyone can enjoy on their dining tables this year on St. Patrick’s Day in honor of the blessed Saint and of course your own appetite! Corn beef, cabbage, carrots and red potatoes…the typical meal on this holiday. (Besides, I have been reading that this saying is not of Irish origin but of the happier thoughts of our American friends.)

I discovered a recipe that will make all of your wishes for a tasty meal come true and at the very least make you feel as though you too have the luck of the Irish! The recipe will follow at the end of my story.

The actual expression Luck of the Irish comes only from the fact that the Irish are lucky people. They are proud of themselves, their country and culture. They are hard working, with great humor, and loved the world over.

You may be wondering why the four leaf clover represented luck and frankly I was curious myself, so this is what I have uncovered. The Druids Celtic priests, known as the Druids, in the earlier days of Ireland, believed if they carried a three leaf clover in the pockets it would allow them to see evil spirits coming, so they could escape in time. The four leaf clovers were believed to ward off bad luck plus offering them magical protection. The four leaves stand for faith, hope, love and luck.

But luck is symbolized in many different cultures with varying symbols. Such as, both the Chinese and the European cultures believe that a pig charm has the power to bring good luck. Pigs to them are a symbol of wealth, good fortune, and prosperity. Horseshoes are another symbol that symbolizes good luck, power over evil, good fortune and fertility. For me, I am mostly fond of the myth or belief about elephants. They are a symbol of the good health, longevity, love, wealth, strength and virtue that all of us have the right to enjoy. Some cultures have figurines placed around their homes in doorways so to ensure longevity and luck. But I was always told to display elephants with their trunks up for luck, but never down. Now, in another part of society, dolphins are considered one of the greatest assets in luck especially in the Ancient Culture of Greece, Egypt & Rome. They say that the ancient sailors at sea knew land was near when they spotted a dolphin. This would indeed make a lovely lucky charm, perfect to keep someone safe who loves the sea. However, ladybugs are an insect, and it has always made me curious why they are considered lucky, but today while exploring various symbols, I decided to see what makes anyone believe an insect can serve that purpose. I have discovered that in Germany ladybugs are literally called lucky bugs…Glueckskaefer. Have you ever heard that if you spot a deep red ladybug with lots of spots your luck is even greater or one lands on you and you do not brush it off, your prosperity will be graced with good fortune?

Oh, what about the infamous shooting star myth? Or is it a myth? It is said that if you are lucky enough to observe a shooting star, you are granted a secret wish that all of your dreams come true. No matter what the symbol may be, many of them have been around for centuries so do you think you should just throw away the lucky symbols, that are presented as signs of prosperity which often are said to possess some excellent energy? It is even said if you gather many such symbols and bury them in a metal box somewhere in your garden, the good luck multiplies. Rainbows are often thought to bring good fortune. In Irish mythology, they are even thought to be the hiding place for pots of gold.

Being the curious person I often am, I was interested to see if there was a list somewhere about how to capture good luck. I found these four suggestions and wonder what you think: Maximize Opportunities: Keep trying new things; Listen To Hunches: Especially if it’s an area where you have some experience, trust your intuition; Expect Good Fortune: Be an optimist. A little delusion can be good and Turn Bad Luck Into Good: Don’t dwell on the bad. Look at the big picture!

My question is this: Do you believe in luck or that you make your own? I would love to believe that holding on to a rabbits foot or keeping that four leaf clover in my pocket will always keep me safe, prosperous or healthy but I am also a realist who believes that you must help yourself above all else. But that does not mean that I won’t also want to carry a symbol when I am out hiking…you know, just in case!

I would encourage you to read up on the history that surrounds this Saint as this holiday is not about luck. Here is a link to discover who he was:

I also invite you to return to my last years blog post at: where I offer a different look at this holiday.

Speaking of helping yourself, are you ready to indulge in a fine Saint Patricks Day meal? I am not good at photography so I borrowed a few images to wet your appetites! This meal is your way to make a lot of luck for yourself. Enjoy! 


Photograph courtesy of A Spicy Perspective

no copyright infringement is intended




  • 3 lb. corn beef brisket. I prefer the flat briskets rather  than rounded
  • 1/4 cup of mustard (honey, dijon or regular)
  • 1/4 cup of yellow mustard
  • 2 TBS light brown sugar
  • 1 lb. pepper bacon from deli
  • 1 large cabbage (red or green)
  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F(150 degrees C)
  • Mix mustards with 1/2 enclosed seasoning packet from corn beef and spread 1/2 mixture fat side up over brisket. Reserve the other half of seasoning packet to directly place atop the brisket prior to baking.
  • Sprinkle with brown sugar.
  • Place the corn beef brisket in the center of a roasting pan
  • Lay the thinly sliced medium onion on top of the brisket.
  • In a separate pot, par-boil 16 to 18 whole baby carrots with 10 to 12 small/medium red potatoes, whole or halved and season with salt and pepper. Add 4 chopped garlic cloves across the top of the vegetable mixture and set aside.
  • Cook only until tender but be cautious to not over cook.
  • Roast for 5 to 6 hours in the preheated oven, and bake until roast can be pulled apart with a fork.
  • 35 Minutes before serving your brisket dinner:
  • In a large electric skillet fry until crisp, 1 pound of chopped pepper bacon. Remove from skillet and set aside. Cut cabbage in to 1/8ths and add to hot bacon grease and cook until barely wilted but do not over cook. Add the cooked potatoes and carrot mixture with bacon pieces and mix well, cooking until hot.
  • Serve immediately with sliced corn beef brisket. Let corned beef rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then place on  cutting board and cut at a diagonal, across the grain of the meat, into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  • Serve with reserved mustard on the side.




I am dedicating his story to my son, Simon Ambrose who has recently  discovered through his DNA he is mostly Irish rather than English. We too plan to prepare this fine meal and celebrate heritages. What’s in your background? Perhaps Irish, English or what legacies could you discover. My son and his co-author, Rosemary Mamie Adkins have just launched their book titled, Generation Ark: How To Create an Enduring Legacy, so check it out if you are even the smallest bit interested in preserving your legacy years into the future. 


Chris Ambrose, Author

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