Good Luck Charms in Foundations, Co. Monaghan

Items were buried in the foundations of the house and these were of two kinds: religious or superstitious. The main place for burial was under the foundation stone of a house. A new coin with the date of the year in which the house was built was the most favoured. A coin was supposed to bring prosperity, the owners of the house would never be without money. Again, the old English florin was considered very lucky with it’s ‘cross’ on one side. People liked to have a silver coin, those who were rich enough used a gold sovereign or a half sovereign.

As with other things, we can see customary items being buried in specific counties. In counties Offaly (King’s), Westmeath and Monaghan the people liked to place St. Benedict’s medals in the four corners of a house. A small piece of ‘Gartan clay’ -earth from St. Columcille’s sanctuary at Gartan was put into the foundations of many Donegal houses. Donegal people also used clay from Tory Island, another sanctuary of St. Columcille, the patron saint of Donegal. We are told that if this clay was in the foundations, the house would not go on fire.

Small containers of holy water have been recovered from foundations, written prayers or holy pictures in containers. Small pieces of iron in houses in Carncash, Co. Sligo; Emyvale, Co. Monaghan; Dualla, Co. Tipperary; in Inistiogue in Co. Kilkenny a horseshoe has been found; a piece of tobacco in Co. Monaghan and some whiskey in Kerrykeel, Co. Donegal. Only the people who put in their good luck charms know why they included what they did in their foundations, we can only guess.