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3 stocks to celebrate this St Patrick’s Day 

Happy St Patrick Day Fools! In order to get into the spirit of Ireland’s national day I’ve taken a look at what might be some of the best shares available to add a little Irish exposure to your share portfolio.

You won’t want any Irish-style exposure in your property portfolio, after its property market infamously crashed around 55% between 2007 to 2013 according to the latest government-backed industry estimates. Ouch! Still it could never happen in Australia….

You also might need a little luck of the Irish to make profits on the following shares as well, as it seems the local stock market is not blessed with Aussie / Gaelic equity investment opportunities. Still, for those up for the craic, I have three potential opportunities below.

Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN) is the furniture and home ware retailer that has popular franchised operations in Ireland. Harvey Norman shares are up 144% over the past five years as its business continues to benefit from rising household wealth and property prices. The business model also partly relies on extending consumers credit to buy now, pay later, for expensive furniture items.

Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) is the fast-expanding diagnostic health care imaging business that has been expanding aggressively overseas into markets such as the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Ireland. Its UK and Ireland operations accounted for 7% of revenues in H1 2017. The shares are up 84% over the past five years and sell for $21.16 today.

Virtus Health Ltd (ASX: VHT) is the IVF healthcare business that has three fertility clinics in Ireland that are positively growing earnings before income tax. The Irish government is also considering further funding for fertility services according to Virtus Health. The shares hit the ASX boards back in June 2013, but have edged lower on the back of weaker-than-expected sales growth in its core Australian market.

Of the three companies I above I would look to Virtus or Sonic as the best Paddy’s Day investment options, although there are probably far better opportunities elsewhere….

Such as 3 ASX Blue Chips To Buy In 2017

For many, blue chip stocks means stability, profitability and regular dividends, often full franked..

But knowing which blue chips to buy, and when, can often be fraught with danger.

The Motley Fool's in-house analyst team has poured over thousands of hours worth of proprietary research to bring you the names of "The Motley Fool's Top 3 Blue Chip Stocks for 2017."

Each one pays a fully franked dividend. Each one has not only grown its profits, but has also grown its dividend. One increased it by a whopping 33%, while another trades on a grossed up (fully franked) dividend yield of almost 7%.

If you're expecting to see the likes of Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and Wesfarmers shares on this list, you'll be sorely disappointed. Not only are their dividends growing at a snail's pace, their profits are under pressure too due to the increasing competitive environment.

The contrast to these "new breed" blue chips couldn't be greater... especially the very real prospect of significant share price gains, something that's looking less likely from the usual blue chip suspects.

The names of these Top 3 ASX Blue Chips are included in this specially prepared free report. But you will have to hurry. Depending on demand - and how quickly the share prices of these companies moves - we may be forced to remove this report.

Click here to claim your free report.

Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson has no position in any stocks mentioned.

You can find Tom on Twitter @tommyr345

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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