Exploring the Global Flexibility of Irish Iconography

Posted May 20, 2023 in More

DDF apr-may-24 – Desktop

No matter where in the world somebody lives, as long as they have a connection to the international landscape, they’ll know of Ireland, as the themes and iconography originating in the Emerald Isle transcend borders. As an established part of the global zeitgeist, this brings to question exactly how a country of our size can do so well in this regard, while much larger nations fall behind.

A Coincidence of Nature

One of the key components that instantly bring to mind Ireland, is the simple claim we have to the colour green that reigns supreme. While other countries like New Zealand might have similar designs on the colour, Ireland has been associated with green since the 17th century. Here, the colour was adopted by the military commander Owen Roe O’Neill as a sign of rebellion. Over the years and centuries, green became a standout following revolution, poems, and of course, Ireland’s natural beauty.

As for the international strength of how well this colour relationship performs, there are two main bases. The first is the strong association that St. Patricks Day has had with the colour green, which carries over to many places where the Irish have settled. The second ties into the human biology, where we’re better able to discern greens more than any other colour. This is thought to be an evolutionary development, where being sensitive to green would have helped our ancestors pick out threats in wild nature.

Immortal Themes

The other most famous side of Ireland’s culture with an international reach is a focus on luck. The concept of fortune is universal, so the appeal of standout icons and mythology tends to translate and travel better than most. Converting these ideas into international areas also works well thanks to how efficiently they can be expressed, at least on a smaller scale.

Consider the multitude of different good luck symbols that Ireland has produced over the centuries. The most famous of these is the shamrock, four-leaf clover, pot of gold, and leprechauns. Each of these is so iconic that they’re understandable at a glance, and they’re simple to convert to anything luck related. If you’ve played casino games, you’ve probably noticed how often these elements serve as the basis for games, and even websites in the online sphere.

In physical establishments, the ten biggest casinos in the world in 2023 all include slots, and all include games which incorporate the Irish theme regardless of the casino’s overall appearance. From the contemporary design of the Wynn Palace to the Venetian-inspired and named Venetian Macau, titles like Pot O’ Gold, Luck of the Irish, Kiss Me Clover, and Irish Gold are a common sight on casino floors. Even in countries where English isn’t the primary language, the concept is so well-understood that it proves bankable.

Good fortune and the most popular colour in nature were always going to be elements claimed by one culture or another. By getting in early and making such an international name, Ireland has claimed a place in the often-literal limelight. These associations weren’t developed with long-term international attention in mind, but they still add up to more than the sum of their parts. As appropriate as it is, we got lucky.


The key to the city. Straight to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter.


National Museum 2024 – English


The key to the city. Straight to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter.