Ireland: Giant's Causeway, Irish Stew, & the Blarney Stone
Do you want to know more about Ireland? Are you a lover of travel, geography teacher, homeschooling or involved parent, student, or life-long learner? In an effort to make world geography more meaningful and memorable, I've compiled all you will need to locate Ireland on a map, cook an Irish meal, watch YouTube clips on Ireland, color the flag, create an Irish craft, read a book about Ireland, and more!
Where is Ireland?
Locate Ireland on this map of Europe. Use this map of Ireland to label the capitol, Dublin. Mark other relevant features (rivers, mountains, famous locations, etc.) if desired. If you'd like to spend a bit more time researching the country, you can add the language, currency, type of government, religion, and/or famous landmarks. Write them on the back of the map. You can easily find all this information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ireland.
Fun Facts About Ireland
1. The cloudiest place in Ireland, Eireann Omag, supposedly only receives as little as 3 hours of sunlight each day.
2. The most popular purchases made by tourists in Ireland are Guinness glasses, Waterford Crystal, blackthorn walking sticks, & Aran Isle sweaters.
3. An unusual Irish birthday tradition is to lift the birthday child upside down and gently bump his head on the floor, 1 time for each year the child has been alive plus one. This is supposed to bring the child good luck.
4. To celebrate Saint Patrick's Day, the Irish do not wear green. Instead, their tradition is to pin sprigs of shamrocks on their coats in remembrance of St. Patrick, who used the shamrock to illustrate the 3-in-1 idea of the Holy Trinity.
5. Giant's Causeway, one of the most popular attractions in Ireland, is an area of about 40,000 interlocking hexagonal basalt columns. According to legend, these were the result of a giant building a road and then tearing it up after being outwitted by Fionn.
Visiting Ireland on YouTube
When I was searching out YouTube video clips that provided helpful information about Ireland, these were our favorites, They are completely child-friendly and my children found them to be the most interesting from all the options we watched.
Prepare and eat Traditional Irish Stew, Irish Soda Bread, Guinness (for adults if desired), and Brown Lemonade (lemonade with food coloring added to make it the color of ale). (You can read more about Brown Lemonade at wikipedia.org.) Finish off the meal with Gran's Apple Tart and Irish Breakfast Tea with cream (or milk) and sugar. Gran's Apple Tart was one of our family's favorite desserts from all the various countries that tried during this culinary adventure.
Irish Stew is traditionally a very simple low-cost meal.
- 2 large onions
- 4 large carrots
- 1/2 stewing steak or mince or lamb
- 8 large peeled potatoes
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- Cut all ingredients into small, bite-size chunks. (If using stewing mince, roll it into small meatballs.) Fill a pot with water and add the potatoes and meat. Bring it to a boil and then add the carrots and onions. Simmer the stew for about an hour or until the ingredients are tender. Season with salt and pepper. (This recipe came from yourirish.com.)
Irish Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread is traditionally served with breakfast.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups milk)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Mix the ingredients together. If desired, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top or sheet of wax paper and knead lightly. Place the dough onto the baking sheet and shape it into a round loaf. Use a knife or kitchen shears to create a cross shape on the top. Bake for 25 minutes and serve warm. (This recipe came from yourirish.com.)
Gran's Apple Tart
Apple Pie/Tart recipes were usually passed down from one generation to the next. They are still a common dessert enjoyed in Ireland. The crust is quite different from American Apple Pie.
- 3 large peeled Granny Smith apples that have been cored and sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 2/3 heaping cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water (for sealing and glazing the top)
- FOR SERVING:
- ice cream or whipped cream
- 1) To make the filling, place all the ingredients together and let sit for 30 minutes.
- 2) Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 10-inch oven safe dinner plate, tart pan, or baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
- 3) To make the pasty , combine the flours, salt & sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until coarse crumbs form. Mix in the vanilla and 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks. Add a couple teaspoons of water if the dough is too stiff. Knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes and then divide into 2 balls. Roll each ball into a 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick circle.
- 4) To assemble the tart, place the bottom pastry onto the plate/pan/baking sheet. Fill with apples. Brush the outer edge of the bottom pastry with the beaten egg. Top with the second pastry. If desired, top with decorated bits of pastry. Crimp the pastry edges together. If desired, brush the top crust with the beaten egg and slice 4 slits in the middle on the top to allow steam to escape.
- 5) Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream, custard, or vanilla ice cream.
- (This recipe & photo came from marriedanirishfarmer.com.)
Kissed Blarney Stone
Our Favorite Picture Books About Ireland
This is my from my absolute favorite series about individual countries! It gives a great overview of the country by featuring various geographical points of interest and bits of history, following them theme of the alphabet. It includes a small amount about each item (making it a perfect book to read to the wee ones) and the includes a bit more about each place/item/event so that older children can also gain quite a bit of knowledge from the same book. The illustrations are a delight as well!
This Is Ireland by Miroslav Sasek is an excellent picture book classic about Ireland. It was written in the 1960s so it includes the traditional aspects of the country. Finn McCool and the Great Fish (Myths, Legends, Fairy and Folktales) by Eve Bunting is a cute retelling of one of the many stories about Finn McCool, a favorite character of Irish legends. Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola (or other picture book about St. Patrick) definitely needs to be included in your stack of books about Ireland! This was our favorite picture book versions about his life that includes illustrations similar to the Celtic art of that time period. The Story of St. Patrick: More Than Shamrocks and Leprechauns by Voice of the Martyrs was our favorite version that focused on his Christian faith.
Pray for the people of Ireland
To find out about the religious nature of Ireland and specific ways you can pray for the country, go to operationworld.org.
How did the Irish Jig get started?
Too much to drink and not enough restrooms!
Where is Dublin, the capital of Ireland?
I've been to Ireland. Have you visited Ireland yet?
Other countries starting with the letter I
Would you prefer to study a different country? Try one of these.
Ready to visit other countries?
Go to http://iijuan12.hubpages.com/hub/around-the-world-in-26-letters to find links to all the countries we "visited." Each webpage features a menu, craft, books, video clips, worksheets, and more!
© 2012 Shannon