Posts Tagged ‘Saint Patrick’s Day’

Are ye getting tired of me yet? If so, tá brón orm (I’m sorry)! 

It’s quiet in our Irish home at the moment…which has given me time to read the many St. Patrick’s Day messages that have been popping into my in-box, Twitter feed, and Facebook account all day from people around the world.

It’s truly amazing the effect this tiny island has had on the world!

So…I’m making this post short and sweet…here are the “Best of the Best” video messages others shared with me today.  I hope they make you smile too!

1. A Chinese man walks into a pub in Dublin…no, it’s not the start of a joke:



2. What a warm welcome from our national airline, Aer Lingus:

3. Sure it’s Tourism Ireland…but still…we’re like no place on earth:

4. Ireland…the country that inspires:

5. Dublin’s Parade from 1951…75,000 people turned out even back then:

6. Making Shepherd’s Pie with Donal Skehan on The Today Show in NYC:

6. A Guinness ad from my friends in Australia:


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“Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh!” …or Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you! What a wonderful day to be Irish…here or wherever you call home.

This day two years ago, Dublin Airport posted a message on Facebook about St. Patrick’s Day which was absolutely hilarious…so much so it was carried around the world. Last night, just to be sure everyone remembered it…they re-posted it as a video:


St. Patrick’s Day as we know it…is not really an Irish celebration at-all. But, to be sure, we’re not about to be outdone…hence Ireland has caught the St. Paddy’s Day bandwagon by its hoop-de-doo wheels and turned it into an event that brings more 370,000 people to our tiny island and a good few hundred million euro to our coffers.

There’s a lot about St. Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day the world-at-large does not know (some Irish citizens aren’t aware either!). Here are just a few of the facts:

* The 17th March celebration is actually the death date of St. Patrick. He is thought to have died on March 17, 461 and is said to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick.

* The good saint himself was, according to legend, born Maewyn Succat. It is said Maewyn changed his name to Patricius (or Patrick), which derives from the Latin term for “father figure,” after he became a priest.

* Blue, not green was originally the colour associated with St. Patrick. Some say it was the Irish Rebellion that officially tied Ireland to the colour green…other’s say it evolved over time and is linked to our “many shades of green” landscape.

* Originally drinking was not legally allowed in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, due to the fact that the day falls during Lent and Ireland is (was, and probably always will be) a very Catholic country. The law was repealed in 1961.

* In 1762, the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was held in New York City…not Dublin, Ireland.

* Ireland didn’t officially start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day as something other than a religious holiday until 1903, when Irish politician James O’Mara introduced a bill in Westminster that made it an official public holiday in Ireland.

The first ever St Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland was held in Waterford in 1903. The first official, state-sponsored St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin took place in 1931.The first St. Patrick’s Festival was held in Dublin over one day, and night, on March 17th 1996. It has since grown to a 4-5 day celebration.

At that brings us to today’s St. Patrick’s celebration in Dublin. There’s so much going on this year…here are just a few of the highlights:

In the Footsteps of St. Patrick Walking Tour – Over two hours, take a very special walk in celebration of Ireland’s national patron saint. Led by  renowned Dublin historian and author” Pat Liddy, walkers will see the places most tourists and many Dubliners miss. Discover the fascinating truth behind the legend of St. Patrick and the Dublin of his time. The tour starts at the corner of Suffolk & Andrew streets, beside the Molly Malone statue, and finishes at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Funfairs: City at Play – This is an event my family has always enjoyed! From waltzers to family attractions to the carousel, there is something for everyone at the Funfairs.

St. Patrick’s Festival Parade – There are St. Patrick’s Day parades far older than the one held in Dublin…but our event is swiftly becoming the best of them all! This year’s theme, “Imagine If“, is the final stage of three years of parades highlighting Ireland’s past, present and future. Inspired by the imagination of the young people of Ireland…the parade will be a young person’s vision of Ireland over the next 100 years.

Big Day Out – At Merrion Square from 12-6pm, this free event will be bursting with energy, colour and whimsy. Children can enter The Book of Learning inside a Georgian House where UNESCO City of Literature opens up a world of magic, craft, creative writing and pet rats!  Just around the corner, SFI Science Zone gives budding scientists a chance to experiment with the enchanting world of science through amazing workshops, explosive shows and enthralling exhibitions.  Kids of all ages will enjoy getting their hands dirty at the Keelings Love to Grow Children’s Garden, where the first Irish strawberry of 2016 will be revealed. This and so much more make The Big Day Out event a true family affair.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:


* For more information about Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day, please click here.

** When did Ireland go from being blue to being green? Learn more here.

*** For more information about St. Patrick and his life, visit Catholic.org.



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There is a very old prayer attributed to Saint Patrick called “Patrick’s Hymn” or “The Lorica”. In Ireland we know it more commonly as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” and “The Deer’s Cry”.

For centuries it was believed Saint Patrick wrote the hymn and sang it on the occasion when he and and a group of companions were on their way to the Hill of Tara to convert a great Irish king to Christianity. More recently, scholars suggest it was written by an anonymous author in the late 7th or early 8th century.

Whatever the case, it is a prayer/poem/hymn that reflects the spirit of the patron saint of Ireland. So, on this the feast day of Saint Patrick, I offer you his cherished prayer. God bless and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick’s Hymn

I arise to-day

Through a mighty strength

With the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness

Thorough confession of the Oneness

In the society of the Creator.


I arise to-day

Through the strength of Christ with His baptism,

Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,

Through the strength of His resurrection with his ascension,

Through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.


I arise to-day

Through the strength of the rank of Cherubim,

In obedience of angels,

In the service of the archangels,

In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In prays of Patriarchs,

In preachings of Apostles,

In faiths of Confessors,

In innocence of holy Virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.


I arise to-day

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendour of fire,

Speed of lightening,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.


I arise to-day

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptation of vices,

From everyone who wishes me ill

Afar and anear

Alone and in a multitude.


I summon to-day all these powers between me and those evils:

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul;

Against incantations of false prophets

Against black laws of Pagandom,

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.


Christ to shield me to-day

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in every mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.


I arise to-day

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity;

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

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To banish the curse of “St Patty’s Day”, Dublin Airport have launched a Facebook campaign to spread the word of the real name of our national day.

Not pointing at anyone in particular, {ehmmm…USA AND CANADA}, the airport posted the Facebook notice below to alert anyone who is confused about the correct pronunciation of the day.

Before you make a HUGE mistake, please remember it’s St. Paddy’s Day…with Ds…as opposed with Ts. Patty is short for Patricia…not Patrick.

On that happy note…I wish you, “Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh!” (“Happy St Patrick’s Day”)…good luck saying that!

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Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 2.21.02 PMMy 20-something niece posted this photo on her Facebook page with the saying…

“If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough!”

I couldn’t agree with her more! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone!

Related Articles & Articles of Interest:

Tourism Ireland Announces “Global Greening” Lineup for St. Patrick’s Day 2014 at: http://www.tourismireland.com/Home!/About-Us/Press-Releases/2014/Tourism-Ireland-Announces-‘Global-Greening’-Lineup.aspx

A traditional Irish Saint Patrick’s Day here: https://inanirishhome.com/2012/03/14/a-traditional-irish-st-patricks-day/

Irish Coffee and Saint Patrick’s Day here: https://inanirishhome.com/2013/03/27/irish-coffee-and-saint-patricks-day/

St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas here: https://inanirishhome.com/2012/03/16/st-patricks-day-party-ideas/

What it Really Means to be Irish here: https://inanirishhome.com/2012/03/15/what-it-means-to-really-be-irish/

Shepherd’s Pie Recipe for St. Patrick’s Day here: https://inanirishhome.com/2014/03/16/shepherds-pie-for-st-patricks-day/

Guinness Caramel Sauce for St. Patrick’s Day here: https://inanirishhome.com/2014/03/16/guinness-caramel-sauce/

Guinness Gingerbread Recipe for St. Patrick’s Day here: https://inanirishhome.com/2014/01/04/alicia-keys-writing-some-guinness-gingerbread/

Traditional Irish Porridge Recipe for St. Patrick’s Day here: https://inanirishhome.com/2013/04/22/traditional-irish-porridge/

Irish Hot Whiskey Recipe here: https://inanirishhome.com/2014/01/11/ginger-hot-toddy-irish-hot-whiskey-2/

Brown Soda Bread Recipes here: https://inanirishhome.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=32&action=edit&message=1

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“What is a traditional Irish meal for St. Patrick’s Day?”…this is the number one question I’m being asked right now at In an Irish Home. Unfortunately, to all of you who are looking for me to come back with the answer, “corned beef and cabbage with a side of boiled potatoes”, I’m sorry to disappoint. The truth is, in Ireland, there is no one particular or “traditional” meal served on Paddy’s Day.

In Ireland, despite the current trend of big parades and festivities, which are really about bringing in income for the exchequer, St. Patrick’s Day is still a holy day of obligation. The country’s bishops have urged people right across the land to remember that the faithful must attend Mass. {Personally, I think this makes for an excellent message going out from Ireland to faithful people wherever they call home. I prefer it to the message, “drink excessive amounts of green beer and get drunk in honour of our patron Saint and the ancestral homeland”…but that’s for another day.}

ShamrocksIn Ireland many will go to mass in the morning, where they may receive a clutch of blessed shamrocks, and head home before spending a few hours at their local parade. Those daring to brave the crush of revelers in Dublin will head into town for our biggest national parade, which will see people from all over the world in attendance sporting some sort of green attire and cheering for marching bands and festive floats. The pubs and bars will spill over with colourful cheer and in villages across the island homemakers will be putting a regular ol’ meal on the table for supper.

In our Irish home this year, I will be serving Shepherd’s Pie as a main course for St. Patrick’s Day, with a big green salad on the side.  I love this dish because it’s an easy-to-make casserole that I can prepare a day or two ahead of time and then pop into the oven for a short while just before we’re ready for our tea (dinner).

DSC_0288Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb but it is equally delicious when made with minced beef (hamburger meat) . Some people put peas and/or carrots into it…some don’t. I put beans in mine for extra texture. It’s really up to you what you do with it. I’ve even seen vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie that looks amazingly yummy {but I have yet to make one…another blog, perhaps.}.

For our pudding (dessert) I will be serving the Guinness Gingerbread my family love so. On Paddy’s Day, I will top it with a sprinkle of icing (powdered) sugar, freshly whipped cream, and a drizzle of Guinness Caramel Sauce. I promise to post the Guinness Caramel Sauce recipe later today or first thing tomorrow morning.

If you want to round this meal out and make it even more “traditional” Irish, you could serve adults a pint of Guinness with the Shepherds Pie (the children could have Rock Shandy, a non-alcoholic drink that is usually half lemon soda, half orange soda), and then serve the adults an Irish Coffee after their pudding (dessert), perhaps with a lovely selection of Irish cheeses.

No matter what you choose to serve on Saint Patrick’s Day, I offer you and yours this gentle blessing:

“May good luck be with you wherever you go…and your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow!”

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4-6


1 ½lbs/675g mince lamb or beef

1 large onion, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

400g/1 can red kidney beans, drained

400g/1 can chopped tomatoes, drained but reserve the juice

1 heaping tablespoon tomato purée/paste

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

2 ½lbs/1,200grams potatoes, peeled and quartered

¾ cup/6oz milk (and a little extra if needed)

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1-2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch), if needed


1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F/180°C.

2. Place potatoes in medium saucepan; add water to just cover. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are soft and tip of paring knife inserted into potato meets no resistance, 10 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Place saucepan on low heat and cook, shaking pot occasionally, until any surface moisture on potatoes has evaporated, (about 1 minute). Remove pan from heat and mash potatoes well. Stir the melted butter and milk into the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more milk or melted butter if potatoes seem a bit too thick. Cover and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan (pot) over medium. Add the onion and cook for about five minutes. Add the red pepper and cook until the onion is softened slightly but the red pepper is still crunchy. (For those who wish, you can substitute carrots for the red pepper.)

4. Add the mince lamb or beef, kidney beans, drained tomatoes, tomato purée, and just enough of the reserved tomato juice to moisten well. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer until all the ingredients are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally with a fork and break up any meat chunks. (For those who wish, now is the time to add ½ cup/2oz peas.) If your mince mixture is quite wet, add cornflour one teaspoon at a time to absorb the excess liquid. Mix well.

5. Transfer the mince lamb (or beef) mixture into a pie dish (baking dish or Dutch oven) and cover entirely with an even layer of the mashed potato. With a spoon, seal the edges of the potato to the top of the mince so it doesn’t bubble up and ruin the look of the potato while in the oven. If you’re in the mood to be fancy, score the mashed potatoes with the tip of a spoon (the back tip) to make a wavy pattern.

6. Reheat in the oven until the potato becomes crusty and golden, about 20-30 minutes. Remove and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.


Related Articles:

A traditional Irish Saint Patrick’s Day here: https://inanirishhome.com/2012/03/14/a-traditional-irish-st-patricks-day/

Irish Coffee and Saint Patrick’s Day here: https://inanirishhome.com/2013/03/27/irish-coffee-and-saint-patricks-day/

St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas here: https://inanirishhome.com/2012/03/16/st-patricks-day-party-ideas/

What it Really Means to be Irish here: https://inanirishhome.com/2012/03/15/what-it-means-to-really-be-irish/

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I can hardly believe Valentine’s Day is behind us and we are barreling full-speed towards Lent, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter.

DSC01314Lent, as you probably know, is just four days away and in our house there is a lot of talk about what each of us is giving up for the next forty days. My husband is going with the Irish “usual”: he is giving up drink. The kids and I have agreed on sugar. By that I mean to say we are giving up minerals (soft drinks), chocolate, ice cream, and all sweets. Furthermore, from Ash Wednesday (5th March) to Good Friday (18th April), I promise to not make any puddings (deserts), biscuits (cookies), cupcakes, cakes or other tasty treats that have sugar…white or brown…as an added ingredient. The exception for all of us, of course, is Saint Patrick’s Day, which is when we Irish get a chance to break the fast of Lent for one day.

There is another form of abstinence that our little family will participate in during Lent and that is giving up meat on Fridays.  According to Catholic Canon Law, a person between the ages of 14 and 59 should abstain from eating meat on Fridays {every Friday throughout the year} in honour of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. While most Catholics ignore this rule, many take it up during the season of Lent. In keeping with strict Catholic tradition, we will also not eat meat on Ash Wednesday. To keep us on track, I am putting together a collection of meat-free recipes and will post them as Lenten Challenges: Meat-Free Friday posts for you to enjoy.

Speaking of Ash Wednesday…it’s the 5th of March, which is this Wednesday. It’s the day you see Catholics everywhere walking around with the sign of the cross, made from ashes, on their foreheads. The ashes have had different meanings at different times throughout history. Today is symbolises our baptismal promise to reject sin and profess our faith.

Ash Wednesday is preceded by Shrove Tuesday, which is on the 4th of March this year. “Shrove” comes from the word “shrive”, which means to confess and receive absolution. Shrove Tuesday is, therefore, a day that many Catholics will go to confession at their local church to ask forgiveness for and be absolved of their sins. According to the Dublin Diocese’s education website, “This tradition is very old. Over 1,000 years ago a monk wrote in the Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Institutes: In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him. ~ Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Institutes”. 

Shrove Tuesday is also known in Ireland as Pancake Tuesday. The significance of the “pancake” is tied up in the religious custom of abstaining from meat, butter, eggs, and dairy during Lent. So that no food would be wasted, Irish families would feast on Shrove Tuesday and use up all the foods that would not keep for forty days. Pancakes use up many of the items Catholics were not allowed to eat during Lent in past times, hence its association with Shrove Tuesday and the start of Lent. Last year, I posted a traditional Irish pancake recipe on this blog: you will find it here.

Trocaire 2014 Lenten Box

Trocaire 2014 Lenten Box

There are so many traditions surrounding Lent, as you can see from above, one of the more modern ones you may not know about if you live outside of Ireland is the Trócaire box. If you don’t know it, the Trócaire box is a small cardboard box used for collecting change. It is given to school age children across the country, who then take it home and fill it over Lent. The money raised goes directly to Trócaire, the official overseas development agency set up by the Catholic Church in Ireland that aids some of the world’s poorest people. The competition amongst school children to have the heaviest box is fierce. Up until recently, we always had to have two boxes in our house to keep the peace. This year’s campaign focuses on the global water crisis and explores water as a social justice issue.

Another modern custom, this one involving technology, is the Irish Jesuit’s online spiritual Retreat for Lent. It is part of the Irish Jesuit’s hugely popular website called Sacred Space. Sacred Space serves five million people annually, from all around the world, by guiding them through ten-minute segments of daily prayer via the computer. While it might seem odd to pray in front of a computer or mobile device, it makes prayer on “the go” or prayer for busy people {isn’t that all of us?} possible.  The theme of this year’s “Retreat for Lent” program is Called to be Saints. It draws inspiration from Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans. There is a pocket-size book, Sacred Space for Lent 2014, to compliment the website. If you are interested, it is available from Amazon and all good bookstores around the world.

DSC_0387And, finally, to round out today’s post on Lenten traditions, there’s one more custom we keep in our home during Lent and that is the baking and eating of Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. Why they are associated with Good Friday, specifically, is really unknown but some say an Anglican monk placed the sign of the cross on the buns to honour Christ’s suffering on the cross on Good Friday. Nearly everyone is familiar with the old nursery rhyme, “One a penny, two a penny hot cross buns…if you have no daughter’s give them to your sons…One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns”…but there is also a sweet rhyme for friendship that goes, “Half for you and half for me, between us two good luck shall be”.

I will post my favourite hot cross bun another day for you to try. In the meantime, good luck to you as you begin your season of Lent. God bless.

Related Articles:

Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2014 at http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2014/02/04/pope-francis-message-lent-2014/

Reflecting on the Lent Season from Loyola Press at: http://www.loyolapress.com/reflecting-on-the-lent-season.htm

Baileys Irish Cream Pancakes with Whiskey Maple Syrup at http://www.college-cooking.com/2013/03/10/baileys-irish-cream-crepes-and-baileys-irish-cream-pancakes-with-whisky-maple-syrup/

Chocolate Stout Crepes with Irish Cream Whip at http://www.countrycleaver.com/2012/03/chocolate-stout-crepes-and-irish-cream-whip.html

Hot Apple and Apricot Crepe recipe from The Wineport  Restaurant in Glasson, Co. Westmeath at http://www.irishheart.ie/iopen24/apple-apricot-crepe-t-7_22_91_186.html

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For all you Dear Readers who really don’t give a toss about whether your St. Patrick’s Day food, decorations and traditions are Irish or not this blog is for you! The following are among the best ideas I’ve found on the web to make your Paddy’s Day a festive one.

1. It’s Easy Being Green! 36+ St. Patrick’s Day Ideas for any Budget! on How Does She? – http://www.howdoesshe.com/its-easy-being-green-40-st-patricks-day-ideas-for-any-budget. Alison, Shelley and Missy are the Founders of How Does She? and their site is “all about the concept of gathering inspirational women together”. How Does She? has loads of adorable ideas and free printables for St. Patrick’s Day.

2. Guinness Float with Coffee Ice Cream, Whipped Cream, Salty Peanuts and Chocolate Syrup on thefader.com – https://www.thefader.com/2012/03/06/five-spring-treats-to-make-right-now/3/.  This recipe/story by Alex Frank, with yummy-looking photography by Alex Yen, and styling assistance by Hannah Schmitz, is enough to make me forget that I don’t enjoy the taste of Guinness and give this recipe a try. Could be a crowd pleaser for adults.

3. 17 Days of Irish Love on the Tiny Tiarahttp://tinytiaraparties.wordpress.com/?s=St.+Patrick%27s+Day. Nicola’s sweet site features ideas from across the internet and has one idea a day for the 17 days in March leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re planning a family party or having friends with children over, this site will surely give you some great decorating ideas.

4. St. Patrick’s Day Party Dessert Tablehttp://blowoutparty.com/blog/2011/02/st-patricks-day-party-dessert-table/. Nothing could be easier than a dessert party if you’re having friends over after Mass or the parade on St. Patrick’s Day. Cute and simple…what could be better?

5. St. Patrick’s Day Eviteshttp://new.evite.com/content/ideas/st-patricks-day. There’s still time to send a quick (and green) invitation to family and friends over the internet. Check out Evite.com’s Paddy’s Day designs. With more than fifteen to choose from, you’ll definitely find one to suit your event.

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Last week, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, The Irish Times newspaper asked readers across the country to tweet their definition of Irishness. The title “Freckles, Fries and Philandering at Mass” says it all! Here is a reprint of the article:

Freckles, fries and philandering at Mass

Photo by Scott McDermott

#beingirishmeans calling all ATMs drinklinks – Michael Collins

#beingirishmeans having an Aunt Mary – Frankie Fitzgerald

#beingirishmeans you don’t have the foggiest idea of how to speak Irish – Raheen Jackson

Apparently #beingirishmeans accepting paying €36,000 each to bail out Anglo but despising #occupydamestreet for protesting about it – The Barbarian

#beingirishmeans the only Irish you can speak is “an bhfuil cead agam dul go dti an leithreas?” – Kain Devine

#beingirishmeans you owe more money than you could ever afford to repay without having borrowed it in the first place – Niamh Redmond

#beingirishmeans knowing Father Ted off by heart – Lorna mcGinley

#beingirishmeans You can say “Any craic?” to a policeman and you won’t get arrested – Niamh Manning

#beingirishmeans answering How are you? with How are you?. Foreigners never quite grasp that insist on saying how they are – Fiona McCann

Photo by Dan Noon

#beingirishmeans having freckles – Niall #beingirishmeans you’ve been greeted with “D’ya know who’s dead?” by your mother – Ellen Power

#beingirishmeans saying prayers in school daily, even though you’re athiest – Frankie Fitzgerald

#beingirishmeans enjoying a traditional Irish breakfast at any time of the day or night – Caroline Egan

#beingirishmeans nothing really. Other than buying into the view that there could possibly be an all-encompassing national stereotype – Cathal McQuaid

#beingirishmeans Being accused of being “D4” in a pub in London – Alan Duff

#beingirishmeans getting travel directions that consist of pub names, churches and roundabouts – Beano

#beingirishmeans watching the Late Late Toy Show every year regardless of your age – Diane H

#beingIrishmeans sympathy for fraudsters – Allan Cavanagh

#beingirishmeans that if Penneys ever closed, half the country would be naked – Gareth McGregor

#beingirishmeans we must persevere – Aidan O’Callaghan

#beingirishmeans every other nationality loves you. – sarah and grainne

#beingirishmeans everything to me!? – aCASTLEinFIRTHland

#beingirishmeans growing up thinking that olive oil was only used as a treatment for sore ears – Paul O’Kane

#beingirishmeans you complain about everything but never do anything about it – Adam Kane

#beingirishmeans going to Mass just to check out the talent – Charlotte Ryan

#BeingIrishmeans never having to say you’re sorry . . . oh wait no, that’s just the Government – Editor in Chic

#beingirishmeans our own words craic, banter, shift, feckin, cop on will ya, few naggins be grand, morto, skittin, jaysus, state of yer wan – zoey finn

#beingirishmeans throwing on the shorts and sunnies when it hits 17degrees cos u don’t know when it’s gona be sunny again – okee o keeffe

#beingirishmeans hating the winner of the €200 euro – marc synnott

#beingirishmeans having aunties that are actually “friends of the family” – ciara oneill

#beingirishmeans adj. (I·rish) 1. the ability to be your best when youre at your worst – Cathy Orr

#beingirishmeans knowing all the words to Fairytale of NY, never knowing a stranger (aren’t any), and not forgetting the green of Ireland – Pamela Boyd Shields

#beingirishmeans If there’s not some form of potatoes with it, then it is not a dinner – Linda Callaghan

#beingirishmeans you can mime the whole national anthem – Colm Keegan

#beingirishmeans at least one of your relatives holds political office – Sandra Purcell

#beingirishmeans Lying to everyone! Doctor: I’m fine thanks!. Priest: Nothing to confess. Garda: I wasn’t speeding. God: I believe in you! – Dermot Heaney

#beingirishmeans Great pride in our Nobel prize winning authors, but never reading their works – mell61

#beingirishmeans binge drinking you way into A&E on a Saturday night – Eleanor Tiernan

#beingirishmeans being in debt and indentured, till death and dentures us do part – brownbread mixtape

#beingirishmeans emigrating and suddenly developing an overblown grá for Guinness, hurling, the Irish language, U2 and Catholicism – David Mahon

#BeingIrishMeans It’s Paddy’s Day. Not Patty’s Day – Hugh Curran

Photo by Irish Fireside

#beingirishmeans that you most likely hate #eurovision but secretly watch the final every year – Ivor Connolly

#beingirishmeans you don’t wait for the lights to turn green when crossing the road – Johnny R

#beingirishmeans climbing Croagh Patrick just for the pints after – Pam

#BeingIrishmeans forcing children to play the tin whistle, or perform an Irish jig for all the relatives in the sitting room – Sarah Barrett

#beingirishmeans not actually living in Ireland. Sad truth! – laura masterson

In 2012, #beingirishmeans struggling to keep huge, lavishly-furnished houses. With no heat. – Mary O’Donnell

And the winner is . . .

#beingirishmeans emigrating because the country’s in tatters, and telling the world how much you miss it – Julia Cashman

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Photo Credit: Tracy Rhodes on Flickr

With March 17th fast approaching it’s hard to know what’s Irish and what’s not…unless, of course, you’re living in Ireland. Green beer, four-leafed shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage, wearing green…these are often touted as being Irish but they’re not. They’re Oirish (pronounced oye-rish). Oirish has nothing to do with Ireland except that it’s a term, coined by not-so-amused Irish people, to describe anything associated with tourists or the tourist trade in Ireland that paints the country as the land of blarney stones and leprechauns. It probably started back in the 70’s when well-intentioned visitors would arrive to the Emerald Isle by the (airplane) load wearing Kelly green trousers and greeting locals with “Top of the morning to ya”.

In all my years of living in Ireland, I’ve never heard an Irish person use that phrase to greet someone. They may say, “Are you well?“, “How’s Kim? ” or even just a simple “Good morning.”, but that’s about it. Strange how the image of the Irish culture outside of Ireland has gone so awry when, quite literally, millions of Irish people have left the country and populated other countries for more than 100 years.

St. Patrick’s Day Ireland 2010

For the record, Saint Patrick’s Day, also known as Paddy’s Day (and not Patty’s Day), is a religious holiday celebrating the life and teachings of St. Patrick. Most people will go to Mass in the morning, attend a parade in their local village in the afternoon, and have their tea (supper) in the evening. They will not be eating corned beef and cabbage. More likely they will eat bacon (Irish ham) with cabbage and potatoes or roast pork or lamb with mashed potatoes and a veg (vegetable). My good friend Linda will be serving her family roast lamb, smothered in garlic and olive oil, with roasted veg and mashed potatoes. In our home it would be (and will be) ham.Truth is, there really isn’t a “traditional” meal for St. Patrick’s Day that gets served by every home throughout the country.

As for the other two popular Oirish traditions, here are the facts:

Drink: No self-respecting Irish person drinks green alcoholic beverages on Paddy’s Day. Instead, if they do head to the pubs, they will be drinking Guinness, Murphy’s, Harp, Smithwicks, Carlsburg, Budweiser (yes, Budweiser), Bulmers (an alcoholic beverage made from apples), Jameson and Bushmills (whiskeys). The men will typically drink “pints” and the ladies will have a “glass”. If you’re out with friends, you’ll buy in “rounds” (the practice of taking turns buying a drink for everyone in your group) or else you’ll be seen to be “mean” (cheap).

Shamrocks: A shamrock is not the same thing as a four-leaf clover. If it has four leaves, it is not a shamrock. The shamrock became synonymous with Ireland due to the teachings of St. Patrick. Legend has it that Patrick used the humble shamrock, which grows wild in Ireland and only has three leaves, to describe the Catholic teaching of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Today, Shamrocks are blessed and given out after Mass on St. Patrick’s Day and they are often worn on a shirt or jacket lapel for the day. Irish people do not typically wear any other “special” green attire on the day and they do not practice the tradition of pinching someone for not wearing green.

If you’re seriously interested in having an authentically Irish St. Patrick’s Day (and you happen to live in America) here are my suggestions:

1. In the morning go to Mass.

2. When you get home, serve a real Irish fry-up for breakfast. That would be eggs, rashers, sausages, black and white pudding, grilled tomato, soda bread with jam and butter and tea (Barry’s Gold Blend is our favourite).

3. Find a local parade to attend.

4. When you get back home, serve a traditional Irish supper (recipe below is from my mother-in-law), toast your true Irish roots and, for dessert, serve a lovely warm rhubarb pie with a dollop of hand-whipped cream.


Irish Bacon & Cabbage with Boiled Potatoes

Serves 6

4-5lb/2-2.5kg shoulder or loin of bacon, with a thin rind of fat still on the meat (this MUST be Irish bacon…see below)

4 tablespoons honey

10 cloves

1 head of cabbage, outer leaves trimmed, cut into quarters

1-1/2 pounds New Potatoes, scrubbed clean


1. Cover the bacon with water.

2. Add the honey and cloves and slowly bring to the boil.

3. If the bacon is salty, a white froth will form on the water. If this happens, change the water and start again. Keep doing this until the froth no longer appears. Allow the water to come to the boil and then simmer gently for 20 minutes to the pound or 45 minutes to the kilogram.

4. About 30 minutes before the bacon is fully cooked, add the quartered cabbage and allow to cook until the cabbage is tender and the bacon is fully cooked.

5. Remove the bacon to a cutting board and cover with aluminium. Remove the cabbage to a serving dish, add a generous dollop of butter and some salt and pepper to taste, and put in a warming drawer until ready to serve. Remove the cloves from the pot.

6. Add waxy New Potatoes or small potatoes to the pot of bacon water, making sure to remove or add water such that the potatoes are nearly but not completely covered, and bring to the boil. Once the water boils, turn the heat down, cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain and season with salt, pepper and butter to taste.

7. To serve, slice the bacon and bring to the table with the cabbage and boiled potatoes.


This recipe only works with Irish bacon…please don’t try this recipe with something that’s not been cured in Ireland. If you live outside the country, try to buy the bacon from an Irish shop in your area or buy it online from an Irish supplier. In North America, I have bought this cut of pork from a website called FoodIreland.com.

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