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The shamrock is undoubtedly the most identifiable symbol of Ireland.  Shamrock comes from the Irish Gaelic word Seanrog, a word that refers to the plant's three leaves.  Legend has it that during a religious debate with the Druid priests, St. Patrick plucked a shamrock to demonstrate the mysteries of the Christian Trinity—3 leaves held together by a single stem.  The shamrock is regarded as the national plant of Ireland and is always worn on St. Patrick's Day.

The harp, of the small portable type played by Celtic minstrels, is the oldest official symbol of Ireland.  Though not as recognizable as the shamrock, the harp is widely used.  It appears on Irish coins, the presidential flag, state seals, uniforms, and official documents.

The Irish tricolor flag made its debut in 1848.  The outside band is green which is a symbol of the Catholic majority.  The other outside band is orange and represents the Protestant minority. The middle band is white which represents their unity.

The Claddagh (hearts, hand, and crown) is an Irish symbol of love.  The two hands represent friendship, the crown is loyalty, and the heart is love.

1. You are designing a sweatshirt with the Irish flag to sell on St. Patrick's Day.  The sample that you have drawn is 2 inches by 3 inches.  Draw 2 other larger flags using the same ratio, that might fit on the back of a sweatshirt.  Don't forget to color the flags.

2. You are stenciling shamrocks around the walls of your dining room.  The shamrock is 3 inches wide and you want to leave 2 inches between each one.  If the room is 10 feet by 15 feet, how many shamrocks will you stencil?  (Hint: first change the feet to inches.  Then figure out how many will fit on each wall.)

3. At an Irish wedding, the Claddagh (symbol of love) was used as the motif. Of the 240 people invited to the wedding, 5/6 said that they would come.  If there was a Claddagh on each napkin, napkin ring, and wine glass, and one in each centerpiece (10 people at a table), how many were there all together?

4. Mrs. Sarsfield received a bracelet many years ago when her first son was born.  At that time, she was given a shamrock charm.  She was then given one at the births of her 3 other children.  Now she adds one for each of her grandchildren.  Her older son has 2 children and her younger son half as many.  Her one daughter had a set of triplets and a set of twins.  Her other daughter has as many as the two sons together.  How many shamrock charms are on the bracelet?

5. The harp has long been the trademark of Guiness beer.  A certain bar has 30 cases (24 bottles in a case) delivered everyday of the year except St. Patrick's Day when they have 70 cases delivered.  How many bottles is this a year?

Irish Symbol Solutions

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