Kid’s Craic: The Shamrock

Kid’s Craic: The Shamrock
By Megan Lardie

The shamrock is a type of clover, but botanists (people who study plants) are not sure which type of species of clover is the “real” shamrock. After much research, the most common response is that the shamrock is from the Trifolium dubium, or lesser trefoil, (think Girl Scout cookie) species.

The word shamrock comes from the Gaelic word seamrog, which means “young clover”. The shamrock is often confused with the four-leaf clover but it is the three-leaf clover that is the true symbol of Ireland. The shamrock has long been recognized as a traditional symbol of Ireland. It is believed that it was first used by Saint Patrick as a way to explain the Holy Trinity to Christians. He used it to show that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were three persons in one God.

Saint Patrick lived during the 5th century, but it was not until the late 1600s that there was a visible image that appeared on coins with Saint Patrick holding a shamrock. Some ancient priests would carry the three-leaf clover to help them see evil spirits. They also used the clovers in religious rituals to heal sick people.  Irish Patriotism
It was during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 that the shamrock started to become a symbol of Irish patriotism (love of your country). The United Irishmen began using the shamrock for their uniforms and their hat ribbons.

The song, The Wearing of the Green, was written about the group’s causes and battles. The British authorities wanted to keep the Irish from rebelling and banned people from wearing the color green or shamrocks as a symbol of Irish identity. If people were caught wearing it, they could be killed.

In the 19th century, shamrocks grew in popularity. They began being seen on book covers and postcards, buildings, stained-glass windows in churches, monuments, lace, jewelry, glasses and dishes. Even some large organizations began using the shamrock as an emblem in their logo. Aer Lingus, the airline that flies to Ireland, still uses it today!

Several organizations outside of Ireland that have Irish connections also use the shamrock as part of their logo or uniform. Today, the shamrock is shown not only for its importance to Saint Patrick and his spread of Christianity, but also for all things Irish and for Ireland. So, this Saint Patrick’s Day, wear your shamrocks proudly as a sign of your Irish patriotism!

Kids in the Kitchen
Try this quick and easy recipe on a Friday during Lent!
Stir Fried Scallops and Asparagus (You substitute chicken if you do not care for scallops)

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound sea scallops, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ – 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce


  • Discard seasoning package from ramen noodles or save for another use. Cook ramen noodles according to package directions; keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Stir-fry asparagus and red pepper until vegetables are crisp-tender, two minutes. Add green onions and garlic, stir-fry one minute longer. Add scallops. Stir-fry until scallops are firm and opaque, three minutes.
  • Combine the lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and hot pepper sauce; stir into skillet. Serve with ramen noodles.

Book Nook

Green Shamrocks by Eve Bunting
Rabbit is growing shamrocks so he can wear them to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  On the morning of the big day, he finds they are missing. Who would steal his shamrocks? He goes searching.  Will he find them in time?  For ages 4-8, 32 pages.

Seeds and Trees: A children’s book about the power of words by Brandon Walden
A young prince gathers both green and dark from all he encounters and gifts them forward. He plants and waters those seeds every day. Soon he realizes that the dark tress are harming the green trees.

With the help of his kind friend, he discovers that if he cuts down, uproots, and replaces the dark tress with green seeds, he will create a beautiful and vibrant garden.  Words are powerful. They can hurt or they can heal. A great book for teaching kindness to all ages!  For ages 6-12, 38 pages.

Lardie’s Laughs
Q. Why can’t you borrow money from leprechauns?
A. Because they are always a little short. 
Q. What has a forest but no trees, cities but no people, and rivers but no water?
A. A map.

Gab in Gaelic
The shamrocks = na seamróga (pron. Nuh SHAM-roh-guh)

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