March 7, 2017
Celebrate the Emerald Isle with Irish Style
On March 17th many of us wear green and celebrate Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint who was captured by pirates at 16 and later brought Christianity to the emerald isle but had little to do with snakes and likely had no contact with leprechauns. Saint Patrick’s Day began as a religious holiday in Ireland and evolved into a secular celebration in the 1700s, when American-Irish folk started holding parades in their collective new home. The parades were an opportunity to celebrate Irish pride and keep the culture alive and strong while discrimination and hardship ran rife in the new world.
Today, Saint Patrick’s Day has turned into a party with mischevious fairies and booze. Ireland is magnificent, the people are fantastically unique and imbibing in Ireland’s honour is a righteous act. But before you plan your path to the closest pub, perhaps think about what you love about Ireland and what you’d like to know. This year celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with a little background to support your Irish enthusiasm.
Do crafts with the kids
Shamrock comes from the Irish word seamair which means “little clover”. The 3 leaves, according to some, represent faith, hope and love while the rare 4th leaf is a symbol of good luck. So make some little shamrock cutouts and do the crafty thing. Kids love it and it’s a nice, QUIET, slow morning activity for a lovely Saturday. Make some cards for your little people to pass along or create some signage for a festive afternoon parade.
The first few St Patrick’s day parades were themed in the hue of blue. Nobody seems to know why that changed but green is one of the colours in Ireland’s tri-color flag and Ireland is the ‘Emerald Isle’ … and shamrocks are green. So green makes sense. Go ahead and show your Irish spirit.
Make Colcannon or Shepherd’s Pie
There’s little out there more Irish than soda bread, potatoes, cabbage and minced meat. You can get in on celebrating Irish style by preparing a dinner feast of colcannon — a stew of mashed potatoes and kale — and whip up a comforting dish of shepherd’s pie.
Here’s a wee bit of history for you — up through the 1970s, it was illegal to sell alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. But St Patrick’s day is truly celebrated much more fervently by the North American Irish. Here’s a list of some Irish brews to try on the 17th. If you want to drop some green food dye in your pint, go nuts.
- Murphy’s Irish Stout
- O’Hara’s Irish Wheat
- Smithwick’s Irish Ale
- Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout
- O’Hara’s Celtic Stout
- Beamish Irish Stout
- Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
- Harp Lager
- Murphy’s Irish Red
Throw a Cèili [kay-lee]
The Irish know how to throw a party. Important elements include dancing, singing, laughing and more dancing. Here are some activities to ramp up the festive atmosphere and give your guests some ridiculous challenges.
Learn Irish Gaelic
Practice some simple phrases and have a good laugh at everybody’s horrific accents. Here’s something to get you started.
Dia duit (Dee-ah gwit )
Hello — the response to ‘Dia dhuit’
Dia is Muire dhuit (Dee-ah iss Mwir-eh gwit)
My name is James
James is ainm dom (James iss anim dum)
What is your name?
Cad is ainm duit? (Cod iss anim gwit?)
Have a limerick writing contest
These can get right out of hand and can often be the most hilarious shite you’ve ever heard. If you’re unfamiliar, the rhyming pattern is an AABBA and sounds something like:
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’
Easily applied to most of our hipster friends.
Dress up as Poets
Did you know that W.B. Yeats, C.S. Lewis, James Joyce, Sam Bekket and Oscar Wilde were all Irish? What better time to dress up as literary heros and spout out the limericks you prepared?
Learn to Irish Dance
There are two types of Irish dancing: social and performance (remember the “Lord of the Dance” anyone?). For your party, you’ll want to partake in some social dancing (unless you’re planning on putting on a show for your friends). Céilí is the traditional dance that involves partners, opportunities for scandalous hand holding and can offer a welcome respite from the awkward sway back and forth move that many of us are accustomed to at “dance parties”. Practice your céilí moves, get your toes pointed and jump around.
“There are only two kinds of people in the world,” an Irish saying goes, “the Irish and those who wish they were.”
Have a most happy Saint Patrick’s Day! More inspiration in this gallery >