A Leprechroon’s Irish Superstitions


My maternal Great-grandparents were both born in Dublin, Ireland around 1857. My Great-grandfather Matthew moved to London, established himself, and returned to Dublin to marry his sweetheart my Great-grandmother. As was the case with many Irish at the time, not long after they married in the 1880s they emigrated to England and started their family, including my Grandmother. But of course, the bloodline remains. Therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion that this makes me a Leprechroon. Yep, not an octoroon, nor a quadroon, but a Leprechroon.

Therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion that this makes me a Leprechroon. Yep, not an octoroon, nor a quadroon, but a Leprechroon

Like many of the men of his generation, my Montreal-born Grandfather spent several years in France during the early part of the last century primarily in the trenches of The Great War, however, he did manage to find time to meet and marry my London-born Grandmother. Following the war they set up home in Montreal, never to return to the UK. But the Anglo-Irish influence certainly seeped into subsequent generations, with perhaps a little more emphasis on the Irish.

Every year on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated at my Grandparents’ place with a huge meal. The table was awash in green and festooned with shamrock, I’m sure that if my Grandfather had stayed still long enough he too would have been decked out in green decorations. Yet the meal itself was not what you might expect. No ‘traditional’ Irish fare – no corned beef and cabbage or soda bread –  but good old English roast beef with all the trimmings. Aside from the ‘joint’ of beef, there were four or five vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, gravy, and, Lima beans. No amount of cholesterol was deemed too much.

Aside from the ‘joint’ of beef, there were four or five vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, gravy, and, Lima beans. No amount of cholesterol was deemed too much

Nor was attendance at the parade encouraged, no doubt due to my Grandfather’s claim that every drunk in the city will be there. This comment, one of his extensive lexicon, he resorted to whenever any suggestion was made to attend any event. I don’t know if it was his time in the trenches, but he was a terribly anxious man who always managed to find a way to see the potential disaster in virtually any situation. However, as an adult watching the annual parade over the years,  I came to realize just how accurate he had in fact been, as it did appear that every drunk in the city was in attendance, or in fact in the parade itself.

If you went out of the house and noticed you had forgotten something when you went back to get it you had to sit down

Being an Irish Catholic family, superstition played a role in our lives. Not Friday the 13th or broken mirror fears, but certainly the tossing of spilled salt over a shoulder, and some less well-known actions. If you went out of the house and noticed you had forgotten something when you went back in to get it you had to sit down. No dashing back in, grabbing your umbrella (which, of course, you would never open over your head while indoors) and, running out again. Nope, you had to actually sit down, often confirming the act by shouting ‘sitting’. No time was specified, but sitting was essential, no matter how much of a rush you were in.

If someone gave you a blade – a knife, scissors, garden shears – you had to give them a penny. An itchy palm indicated money was on the way, as did bubbles on the top of a cup of tea, assuming they were spooned up and consumed. I don’t know if adhering to these had any lasting effect on me, but to this day I never, ever, ever count the number of cars in a funeral procession!

I often think of my Grandparents, usually with a chuckle, but never more so than during St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

One thought on “A Leprechroon’s Irish Superstitions

  1. Garry and I honeymooned in Ireland. It turns out, I’m not even remotely Irish, but GARRY is. We found his ancestral graveyard and his father was able to identify the stones. Go figure, right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: