A shamrock is a young sprig, used as a symbol of Ireland. Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity. Pictures of Saint Patrick depict him driving the snakes out of Ireland with a cross in one hand and a sprig of shamrocks in the other.
The name shamrock comes from Irish seamróg, which is the diminutive of the Irish word seamair óg and simply means "young clover". The shamrock has been used as a symbol of Ireland since the 18th century, in a similar way to how a rose is used for England, a thistle for Scotland and a daffodil for Wales.
Throughout the nineteenth century the popularity of the shamrock as a symbol of Ireland grew, and it was depicted in many illustrations on items such as book covers and St. Patrick's Day postcards, and was mentioned in many songs and ballads of the time.
The Shamrock commonly appears as part of the emblem of many organisations in countries overseas with communities of Irish descent.
Information source: Wikipedia