A Few Irish & General Superstitions

Superstitious or not, almost everyone takes note when it’s Friday the 13th. People are more careful about crossing the road, pouring hot coffee, or walking down the stairs.

It may be silly, but it’s all to ward off bad luck, and the Irish are big believers in this kind of caution.

On Friday the 13th some people even take to their beds or refuse to leave the house. Believe it or not, but this behavior is actually a diagnosed phobia of Friday the 13th called “Paraskevidekatriaphobia.”

There’s not much you can do about Friday the 13th, but there are some old Irish superstitions you can take note of to avoid some bad luck. You never know when they might come in handy and allow you to avoid a little extra pain coming into the weekend.

Cat Superstitions

  •  If you kick a cat, you will develop rheumatism in that leg.
  • If you are a farmer and kill a cat, you can expect your cattle to die mysteriously.
  •  If you drown a cat, you will fall victim to a drowning.
  • If you kill a cat, you are sacrificing your soul to the Devil
  • Sailors believed that the worst possible cat-related act, guaranteed to raise a storm and bring bad luck of all sorts, was to throw the cat overboard.
  • Some people who wanted to get rid of a cat but were afraid of the consequences went so far as to hire professional feline “hitmen.”
  • If a cat was thrown overboard, a storm would rise and very bad luck would follow.
  • To end even one of a cat’s 9 lives was to risk being haunted by that particular cat for the rest of the murderer’s life.
  • To kill a cat brings seventeen years of bad luck -Irish superstition
  • The French believed that if a girl treads on a cat’s tail, she would not find a husband before a year is out.
  • Irish superstitions to be aware of on Friday the 13th


Superstitions on death

  • If you trip and fall in a graveyard you will most likely die by the end of the year.
  • If you meet a funeral on the road you must turn and walk with the funeral party for at least four steps to ward off bad luck.
  • If you open your front door and are greeted by a magpie and it looks at you there is absolutely nothing you can do – this is a sure sign of death.

Animal Superstitions

  • A black cat crossing your path is very bad luck. To counteract this make a triangle shape using your thumbs and forefingers and spit at the cat through the hole. This  will also work when you accidentally walk under a ladder.
  • A black cat crossing your path is very bad luck.
  • If a rooster comes to the threshold of your house and crows then you can expect visitors.
  • If you see three magpies on the road it is very unlucky, but if you see two of them on your right-hand side then that it’s good luck.
  • If you kill a robin redbreast you will never have any good luck again.
  • If the first lamb of the year is black then someone in the family will die within a year.
  • If you meet a magpie, a cat or a woman with a limp while you’re on a trip it is bad luck.
  • Never ask a man going fishing where he is going.
  • If you find a horseshoe and nail it to the door it will bring good luck. This will not work if the shoe is bought or given as a gift by someone else.
  • If you find a horse shoe and nail it to the door it will bring good luck.


Random superstitions

  • If you stand up and your chair falls over, you’re in for bad luck.
  • If you own a four-leafed clover you will have good luck in racing, and witchcraft will have no power over you. However, you must always have it with you. You cannot pass it on to another owner, and under no circumstances should you show it to anyone.
  • If the palm of your hand itches you’re going to come into some money.
  • If it’s your elbow you will be changing beds.
  • If your ear feels hot someone is talking about you.
  • If it’s your nose that’s itchy you are going to have a fight with the person nearest to you. To remedy this, punch them in the arm and shake them by the hand. Fight over!
  • Handing someone a knife is bad luck. Always put it on the table in front of them never in their hand.
  • If you get your shirt wet while you’re washing the dishes you will marry a drunk.

General Superstitions

  • In Irish folklore, touching trees was a way of thanking leprechauns for good luck.
  • In case it’s not enough that breaking a mirror may bring bad luck, that bad luck is said to then persist for seven whole years. But there is good news, though. It is said that if you bury the broken pieces of a mirror underground and under the moonlight, you can avoid the bad luck.
  • This superstition is so legit that the term triskaidekaphobia was coined for those who have a fear of the number 13.
  • Salt was quite the expensive commodity in ancient times, so wasting it was frowned upon. It’s believed the “bad luck” was brought about as a way to keep people from wasting it. This may have started more as bad form than bad luck.