Luck o’ the Irish and more

Karen Coney Coplin

Did you know that some of the most successful miners in the gold (and silver) rush in the 19th century were Irish immigrants? This is one of the reasons the term Luck o’ the Irish came to be, though it was not necessarily deemed a compliment at thetime.

Instead, it was a disdainful way of stating that the Irish miners making great fortunes did so because of chance, rather than through their skilled efforts and hard work.

Of course, Luck o’ the Irish can also refer to bad luck. This interpretation was derived by the sheer numbers of people whoa to leave Ireland, particularly during the potato famine years of 1845 to 1852, when a million perished due to starvation. Of those leaving, many landed in America, in time for the gold rush and also finding their fortunes with silver mining in the later years of the 19th century.

Most of us associate clovers as an Irish symbol of good luck. The four-leaf clover is said to represent faith, hope, love and luck. A lucky charm if you will!

Just as each of the four leaves represent good tidings, there are studies which state there are four kinds of luck: both good luck and bad luck of the kind you can influence, prepare for, or create. Some people term the outcome of this type of preparation for good luck “flow,” or synchronicity.

Likewise, there are both good and bad luck of the random sort. Serendipity would be one way to describe a lucky outcome that seemingly happens by chance. And we all hope not to be struck with the fate of bad luck.

Other categories for the four kinds of luck include blind luck, which happens without regard to action on your part.

Luck from motion or action look has as its foundation hard work, preparation, and awareness. Some of the watch words for this type of luck include dedication and persistence. Being alert to possibilities or connecting the dots is also a predictor of this, and other types of luck.

As some say, “progress not perfection” is key, as consistent action’s better than remaining at a standstill. Be curious and keep moving toward your goal, whatever that may be.

Thus, a third type of luck would be in your preparation. This relates to your knowledge and personal experience which is springboard to opportunities with potential and promise. Some Sayat’s a lucky break. Others say it is the basis for identifying new and helpful connections.

Finally the fourth type of luck, which is unique to you, comes to you because of your distinctive character traits or skills. This is the type of luck which would favor you and your hobbies, strengths, lifestyle choices and skill set.

This last category is one in which you have the power within yourself and with external actions, to create a personal master plan or roadmap if you will, toward good fortune, however, you might describe that it.

All of these types of luck exist around each of us but the one I would like to banish is “tough luck,” where we turn our backs on others who have experienced grief, hardship, illness or other losses.

Just as one person can, in an instant, claim the lives of so many and ruin countless others, we all have the power to extend a kind word and lift another up. These little ripples do not generate headlines, but they do have the power to make lives better. And there probably are unknown but countless other instances where acts of kindness such as these have saved lives too.

We can listen to each other’s stories and celebrate little victories, even if those telling them are in the midst of a difficult journey. In which case we can offer encouragement and support.

These thoughts will be on my mind this month and especially Atthew Naples St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday, March 11, which celebrates all things Irish. May the (good) Luck o’ the Irish find you then and every day.

If you enjoy colorful vignettes about life in Naples, please give Karen a follow-on Instagram @Naplesbythenumbers. Ideas for future articles? Please email her at

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