Roger Harty: The Precious Shamrock

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IF you were to look up the meaning of the word precious in the dictionary you would find the following…‘of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly’.

Another bit of trivia is that the word precious originates from the Latin word pretiōsus costly, valuable, equivalent to preti(um) price.

I know I mentioned the word trivia and precious in the same sentence above, but that is exactly the point I’m about to make.

All over the world this weekend, we will see trivial plastic mock replicas or our Shamrock scattered around like snuff at a wake.

Yet, the symbol of the Shamrock is so important to us as a country, in fact I would go as far as to say it is the main symbol of our identity as Irish people all around the world.

In truth, it is so small, so fragile, so symbolic and it has even been the source of argument in many an Irish household when people fight over whether it is the unique and precious shamrock not to be confused with the ever available ever abundant common clover.

Why is it worth arguing about? Our shamrock is unique and special and our Irish identity is unique and special.

Protect and respect them both.

It is the unique special qualities of the shamrock that make it the perfect symbol to reflect our Irishness.

On the subject of ‘Oneness’ the shamrock was also chosen by St Patrick to perfectly symbolise the essence of The Blessed Trinity.

The mystery of The Blessed Trinity which describes God as being Three  i.e. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit yet at the same time being One, is beautifully represented by The Shamrock with its three individual leaves yet being part of The One.

Sometimes the most difficult mysteries are explained when we don’t try to think too much about them and accept that the answer lies in their simplicity.

So enjoy your St Patrick’s weekend and join in the festivities that celebrate that wonderful gathering of Irish people all over the World.

It truly is a time to celebrate our uniqueness and has been embraced in the four corners. It is certainly worth pondering over how such a small country can have such a powerful international influence.

To my knowledge we are the only country in the world that is granted an annual audience with the President of America in The White House.

Such a small country, yet so beautiful and powerful, perfectly symbolised by our precious shamrock, such a small little plant yet so beautiful and powerful.

Next week I am going to write about — ‘What we can learn from animals’.

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