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Saint Patrick's Day: A Day Of Irish Craic!
The Irish Celebrate 17th March, All Over The World
On the 17th of March, in cities and towns around the world, the Irish, and Irish at heart, celebrate St. Patrick's Day with parades. Much of the focus is on Irish music and songs, Irish food and drink and of course the wearing of the green.
Things can get really out of control where communities even dye rivers or streams green! So why not go off and find your nearest Irish Pub, have a pint of Guinness and enjoy the craic!
"Craic" or "crack" is a Celtic term meaning gossip, fun and entertainment, found specifically in Ireland.
The rebirth of spring
The shamrock, which was also called the "seamroy" by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring.
By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.
'Crock of Gold' - At the end of the rainbow!
"Wearing Of The Green"
Where did it come from?
Originally the colour associated with Saint Patrick was not green at all, but blue. As early as the 17th century the colour green has been associated with Ireland and Saint Patrick. He is said to have explained the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish by using the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, and the wearing and display of shamrocks have become a feature of the day.
In 1798 Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching attention with their unusual fashion gimmick and in hopes of making a political statement. The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing, derives from the song of the same name.
About Saint Patrick
Patron Saint of Ireland
Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.
Saint Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish christians. Saint Patrick described himself as a "most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God."
Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been - the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the "Holy Wells" that still bear this name.
There are several accounts of Saint Patrick's death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D., another that he ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey.
Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York and Dublin city
- Prep time: 20 min
- Cook time: 20 min
- Ready in: 40 min
- Yields: 12 (2 each)
- 200 g caster sugar
- 200 g soft butter
- 4 medium eggs
- 1 tsp Irish cream liqueur (optional)
- 200 g self-raising flour
- 1 pack green sugarpaste icing sugar
- 1 tub ready-made royal icing
- To Cook
- 2 x 12 cup muffin tins
- 24 muffin cases
- Shamrock cutter
- Preheat the oven to 180ÂºC, fan 160ÂºC, gas mark 4. Put the sugar and butter in an electric mixer and beat until pale and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs lightly in a small bowl and add slowly to the mix, using medium speed. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a little of the flour. When the eggs and butter mixture is well combined, mix in the liqueur (if using) and the remaining flour at slow speed.
- Divide the mixture between the muffin cases using two teaspoons or a piping bag with a wide nozzle [no.10].
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the sponge is lightly golden and springs back to the touch.
- Leave to cool before icing.
- To make shamrock decorations:
- Roll out the green sugarpaste to about 3mm thickness using a little icing sugar to prevent sticking. Cut out shamrock shapes and put to one side.
- Prepare the royal icing as on the pack and cover the cupcakes with a spoon or pallet knife
- [Add green colouring if desired].
- Place the green shamrock shapes on the icing before completely set.
- Wait until fully set before serving.
- Credit: http://www.bordbia.ie/ - the Irish Food Board
Music from Ireland
Saint Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years.
On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived, and people would dance, drink and feast-on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
St-Patricks-Day.com is a good place to discover more about this famous Irish Day of celebration.
- The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.
- More than 100 St. Patrick's Day parades are held across the United States. New York City and Boston host the largest celebrations.
- At the annual New York City St. Patrick's Day parade, participants march up 5th Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street. More than 150,000 people take part in the event, which does not allow automobiles or floats.
Let The River Run GREEN - In Chicago, it did!
The Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois on Saint Patrick's Day
A vegetable dye added for a week is the way they used to colour the river in the 1960's, but now all it takes is forty pounds of dye and the colour only lasts for several hours.
You would be utterly amazed at how many countries hold Saint Patrick's Day Parades, from Dubai to China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. The main parades are in large cities in America, Australia and England from where many exiles have settled.
[photo by Mike Boehmer from Chicago, IL, USA - originally posted in Flikr at http://flickr.com/photos/90782025@N00/3360462027]
Irish Song & Dance on YouTube
Traditional St.Patrick's Day Dish - Corned beef and cabbage
Corned beef and cabbage or Boiled bacon and cabbage are traditional St. Patrick's Day dishes.
- In 2007, roughly 41.5 billion pounds of U.S. beef and 2.6 billion pounds of U.S. cabbage were sold.
- Many St. Patrick's Day celebrants enjoyed corned beef from Texas, which produced 6.8 billion pounds of beef, and cabbage from California and New York, which produced 581 and 580 million pounds, respectively.
- Irish soda bread gets its name and distinctive character from the use of baking soda rather than yeast as a leavening agent.
- Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick's Day parades and celebrations.
Books & Maps on Ireland
An Irish Joke or Two!
A nation who can laugh at themselves
Why did God invent whiskey? So the Irish would never rule the world.
Seamus do you understand French, I do if its spoken in Irish.
"Ah, good morning, Mrs. Murphy, and how is everything?"
"Sure and I'm having a great time of it between my husband and the fire. If I keep my eye on the one, the other is sure to go out."
Paddy was shaving when he knocked the mirror off the shelf and it fell to the floor and it cracked across the middle. Paddy gazed in horror. 'Bejabbers, I've cut my throat,' he gasped.
O'Connell was staggering home with a small Paddy in his back pocket when he slipped and fell heavily. Struggling to his feet, he felt something wet running down his leg.
"Please, God," he implored, "let it be blood!"
Have you got an Irish joke to share with the world? If so, tell away.
Four Leaf Clover
by Ella Higginson (born in 1861)
I know a place where the sun is like gold
and the cherries bloom forth in the snow;
And down underneath is the loveliest place,
Where the four-leaf clovers grow.
One leaf is for FAITH,
And one is for HOPE,
And one is for LOVE you know;
And GOD put another in for LUCK:
If you search you will find where they grow.
But you must have FAITH,
And you must have HOPE,
You must LOVE and be strong and so...
If you work and you wait,
You will find the place
Where the FOUR-LEAF CLOVERS grow!
7 Days Ireland - Great DVD about the Emerald Isle
Run Time: 52 minutes
Ireland is one of Europe's most green and mysterious islands and everyone who visits this isolated island in the Atlantic Ocean is given a very warm welcome.
Dublin is the capital of the Irish Republic and it is a city of musicians, poets and dreamers, as well as being a financial centre.
Population Distribution of Irish Americans
- There are 36.5 million U.S. residents with Irish roots. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (more than four million).
- Irish is the nation's second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.
- Across the country, 12 percent of residents lay claim to Irish ancestry. That number doubles to 24 percent in the state of Massachusetts.
- Irish is the most common ancestry in 54 U.S. counties, of which 44 are in the Northeast. Middlesex County in Massachusetts tops the list with 348,978 Irish Americans, followed by Norfolk County, MA, which has 203,285.
- Irish ranks among the top five ancestries in every state except Hawaii and New Mexico. It is the leading ancestry group in Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
- A total of 4.8 million immigrants from Ireland have been admitted to the United States for lawful permanent residence since 1820, the earliest year for which official records exist. Only Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Mexico have accounted for more U.S. immigrants.
Discover Your Ancestory
Where did you come from?
The Great Famine of 1845 was a time of mass starvation and disease in Ireland. Also known as the potato famine, this period of hardship lead to a fall in the population of between 20% and 25%, where around a million people died of hunger and a further million emigrated.
With so many people living around the world with an Irish ancestry, it is now so easy to discover where you actually came from. In recent times genealogy has become very popular, mainly because of the proliferation of data storage and searching facilities making the whole task fast and efficient.
So, why not look up and see where you came from, and who your forebares were. You never know what you might uncover!
- Prep time: 15 min
- Cook time: 25 min
- Ready in: 40 min
- Yields: 4
St Patrick's Day Soup with Shamrock Shaped Cheese Croutons - Serves 4
- 60 g butter
- 200 g soft butter
- 2 medium white onion
- 600 g potatoes
- peeled and chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 800 ml vegetable or chicken stock
- 240 g sorrel leaves
- Cheese Croutons
- 2 slices thick wholemeal bread
- Olive oil or melted butter to brush on
- 100 g grated Irish cheese
- To Cook
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and potato and cook gently, covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt, pepper and stock and bring to the boil.
- Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the sorrel leaves and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Liquidise the soup until smooth.
- To make the Cheese Croutons:
- Cut shapes from the bread and brush lightly with olive oil or butter. Grill on one side then turn over and sprinkle with the grated cheese and grill until cheese is melted.
- Place on top of the hot soup.
- Credit: http://www.bordbia.ie/ - the Irish Food Board
'When Erin First Rose' - by Dr. William Drennan
Photo credit: European Space AgencyWhen Erin first rose from the dark-swelling flood,
God bless'd the green island, He saw it was good.
The Emerald of Europe, it sparkled, it shone,
In the ring of this world the most precious stone!
In her sun, in her soil, in her station, thrice blest,
With back turn'd to Britain, her face to the West,
Erin stands proudly insular, on her steep shore,
And strikes her high harp to the ocean's deep roar.
But when its soft tones seem to mourn and to weep,
The dark chain of silence is cast o'er the deep;
At the thought of the past, tears gush from her eyes,
And the pulse of the heart makes her white bosom rise.
"O, sons of green Erin! lament o'er the time
When religion was--war, and our country--a crime;
When man, in God's image, inverted his plan,
And moulded their God in the image of man.
"When the int'rest of state wrought the general woe;
The stranger--a friend, and the native--a foe;
While the mother rejoic'd o'er her children distress'd,
And clasp'd the invader more close to her breast.
"When with pale for the body, and pale for the soul,
Church and state join'd in compact to conquer the whole;
And while Shannon ran red with Milesian blood,
Ey'd each other askance, and pronounc'd it was good!
"By the groans that ascend from your forefathers' grave,
For their country thus left to the brute and the slave,
Drive the Demon of Bigotry home to his den,
And where Britain made brutes, now let Erin make men!
"Let my sons, like the leaves of their shamrock, unite,
A partition of sects from one footstalk of right;
Give each his full share of this earth, and yon sky,
Nor fatten the slave, where the serpent would die!
"Alas, for poor Erin! that some still are seen,
Who would dye the grass red, in their hatred to green!
Yet, oh! when you're up, and they down, let them live,
Then, yield them that mercy which they did not give.
"Arm of Erin! prove strong, but be gentle as brave,
And, uplifted to strike, still be ready to save;
Nor one feeling of vengeance presume to defile
The cause, or the men, of the Emerald Isle.
"The cause it is good, and the men they are true;
And the green shall outlive both the orange and blue;
And the daughters of Erin in her triumph shall share,
With their full-swelling chest, and their fair-flowing hair.
"Their bosoms heave high for the worthy and brave,
But no coward shall rest on that soft swelling wave;
Men of Erin! awake, and make haste to be blest!
Rise, arch of the ocean! rise, queen of the West!
The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is "lobaircin," meaning "small-bodied fellow."
Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.
Leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick or the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, a Catholic holy day. In 1959, Walt Disney released a film called Darby O'Gill & the Little People, which introduced America to a very different sort of leprechaun than the cantankerous little man of Irish folklore. This cheerful, friendly leprechaun is a purely American invention, but has quickly evolved into an easily recognizable symbol of both St. Patrick's Day and Ireland in general.
- Irish Blessings, Sayings and Toasts
I love all things Irish. Almost all of my ancestors on my mum's side came from Ireland, and I'm very proud of my Irish heritage. I've never been to Ireland, but it's been a lifelong dream, and hopefully one that I can fulfill soon.
Ecotourism in Ireland Video
www.enchantedlearning.com: crafts and activities
Plenty to keep the children busy:
- make a leprechaun marionette
- make rainbow Jello
- make a handprint rainbow
- list of St. Patrick's Day words
- color in a map of Ireland
- multiple choice on the shamrock definition
- and more...
Irish dancing phenomenon
Riverdance is a theatrical show consisting of traditional Irish stepdancing, notable for its rapid leg movements while body and arms are kept largely stationary. It originated as an interval performance during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, a moment that is still considered a significant watershed in Irish culture. Riverdance is, in essentials, the story of the Irish culture and of the Irish immigration to America.
The first performance featured Irish Dancing Champions Jean Butler and Michael Flatley, the RTÃ Concert Orchestra and the Celtic choral group Anuna with a score written by Bill Whelan. Whelan had also composed "Timedance" - an early version of "Riverdance" - for the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest, performed by Planxty. Most of the show's choreography was done by Flatley.
Photo credit: Joan Marcus
Connemara - One of the picture-book areas of the west
© 2007 Rob Hemphill
© 2011 Rob Hemphill
As symbolic of Ireland as the harp and the shamrock, high crosses first appeared as early as the 7th century. Originally, the designs were abstract, but gradually, they began to feature more spiritually-based themes. Most of these ancient crosses were made of various types of sandstone, which is somewhat easy to carve.
Today, of the more than 200 that remain, many are in an eroded state and the details are barely discernible. However, some excellent examples can be found, if you know where to look.
Please tell us if you have a connection with Ireland or are you just keen on the 'Whiskey and the Beer'?