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OK, we’re in Ireland and I’ve been researching important things like, “who was St. Patrick, and why does he have his own day when green beer seems to be in order? Where did the phrase “luck of the Irish come from?” “What are Leprechauns, and why are they associated with the Irish?”

According to Edward T. O’Donnell, an Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross College and author of "1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History," the term “The luck of the Irish” is not Irish in origin.

"During the American gold and silver rush years in the second half of the 19th century, a number of the most famous and successful miners were of Irish and Irish American birth. Over time, this association of the Irish with mining fortunes led to the expression 'luck of the Irish.' Of course, it carried with it a certain tone of derision, as if to say, only by sheer luck, as opposed to brains, could these fools succeed."

The word luck itself is Middle Dutch in origin. The word comes from ‘luc,’ a shortening of ‘gheluc,’ meaning “happiness, good fortune.” The word was probably introduced into the English language in the 15th century as a gambling term.

I’m lucky, and I suspect those of us on this trip can all say that. If I listed all my blessings, it would sound like bragging, but for starters I’m in Ireland with you, and my beautiful wife. If you’re lucky too, thank God for a blessed life.

As for those Leprechauns? Perhaps we’ll cover that subject on another day, but I’ll give you a hint. Historically their outfits were red, not green.

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