It’s a cool and crisp morning this St. Patrick’s Day. The sun is shining and the sky is a brilliant azure blue — a sneak peek of spring and all its glories that are to come. If not for the incredible events happening around the world with the novel coronavirus, this would be a spectacular start to a fun, festive day.
Many of us are on quarantine or have some kind of social restriction heavily encouraged, if not mandatory at this point. And as social beings, us humans can have difficulty coping with not being able to hang out with our friends, relaxing at the local bar, or dining out at our favorite restaurant. This gets harder when a holiday or celebration comes around.
But although things may be restricted or more difficult to do the usual way, it’s not impossible to still celebrate. You can still plug into the world-wide vibe of “something green” and take the opportunity to be a touch more creative about how you celebrate this year. To help, we’ve put together some ideas to get you started! And by the way…. one of the big loop holes here to exploit: since we’re all working from home and school is canceled etc etc…… who says the celebrations need to end tonight at midnight?! Let’s continue this from St. Patrick’s Day to St. Patrick’s Week of 2020!
Music Is Essential
First and foremost, you need the right music. St. Patrick’s Day is now about celebration and about getting into the incredibly festive spirit of the Irish culture. Known for centuries for their music, the first order for your celebration is putting together the right play list and music for the day. Start streaming, iTunes has some great stuff to keep the day going. And make sure you’ve got some of these classics rotating through:
- When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
- Wild Rover
- Whiskey in the Jar
- Rocky Road to Dublin — a free pint to the one who can get through the whole song without a stumble!
- Black Velvet Band
- Molly Malone
- The Aulde Triangle
- Fields of Athenry
- The Parting Glass — sing this at the end with resounding last call toasts
The Dubliners are a classic folk Irish band with an incredible selection of classics, and the High Kings are a spectacular modern group with amazing versions of these classics. Their version of Rocky Road to Dublin is my personal favorite ever recorded. Celtic Woman puts out some Celtic-style beats and gorgeous, softer mood tones as well.
No celebration is complete without some proper Irish food!! There is no rules to this, and we recommend you go as “all in” or “inspired by” as you feel comfortable! A lot of stores are offering specialty items like soda bread, Irish cheeses, pre-seasoned corned beef so make sure you take a quick stop if you can to help you get along! If not, check out some of our favorite recipes & menus!
- Fish Stew: many port towns throughout Ireland boast their version of a proper fish stew; usually cream-based (think like Clam Chowder), these hearty and incredibly tasty stews feature all sorts of seafood like salmon (smoked or fresh), cod, mussels, oysters, clams, and more! Get your favorite version of a proper stew and some fresh bread for a truly authentic Irish feast!
- Soups are a huge part of Irish cuisine, and many you can make with ingredients you’ve probably stocked up on: hearty bacon & pea soup (all you need is onion, bacon, and frozen peas!), potato & leek soup, carrot and parsnip soup, cauliflower soup, and barely with (or without) beef.
- Irish Stew: one of the most recognizable of Irish cuisine, the premise is easy — onion/carrot/celery with some herbs but the Guinness is what give it it’s creamy and rich flavor!
- Poached Salmon: a great presentation here is thinly slicing cucumber and layering them on top like scales! Take it up a notch and poach the salmon in white wine or champagne for added flavor!
- Roasted Beef: raid your freezer and grab that cut of beef you’ve been saving — a classic salt & freshly cracked black pepper crust will do the trick, and add some pearl onions to make a savory side dish to go along with!
- Roast Pork Loin: wrap it in bacon if you want, roast it and serve with a prune sauce for that salty-sweet combination!
- Irish Lamb: stew, roast, chops, mint sauce, pea puree — classic
- Colecannon: mashed potatoes mixed with sauteed cabbage or kale — it adds something green to your table too!
- Po-ta-toes: to quote the great Samwise Gamgee — “boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew”
- Soda Bread: wheat based, flour based, add currants, don’t add anything…. get a recipe you love with what you’ve got for a super fast and easy bread that will last you these days!
- Ploughman’s Lunch: basically a British charcuterie, this dish is popular throughout the UK including N. Ireland; our version here consists of things like a selection of Irish cheese (Irish cheddar, goat cheese, Cashel bleu), Irish butter, ham, pickles, mustard, sliced soda bread, sliced fresh apples, currant or berry style jam or marmalade
- fresh oysters
- porridge and oatmeal with dried currants and brown sugar
- Irish breakfast: just google the glory that is
So many options. But we’d like to leave you with one of our favorite recipes from our very own Mishy for her incredibly tasty beef stew:
Irish Beef Stew
1 – 1.5 pound of beef stew meat
1 large white onion, chopped
1 large celery stalk (or 2 smaller ones), chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 can Guinness
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable or olive oil
couple of sprigs of fresh thyme or about 1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
mashed potatoes – for garnish*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, season the beef liberally with salt and pepper. Heat about a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the beef until nice crust forms on all sides, but no need to completely cook through as meat will be returned back to stew later. Once browned, remove the beef onto a plate with slotted spoon. Lower heat to medium-low. Add a teaspoon of butter or oil and saute the onion, celery and carrots until just beginning to get tender – about 5 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and combine well, so the vegetables get coated. Add the beer and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. The sauce will begin to thicken from the flour, so make sure there are no lumps. Add the beef broth and combine well. Add the bay leaf, thyme and beef back into the stew.
Cover with the lid and place in oven for about 2 – 2.5 hours to slowly stew. Give an occasional stir once an hour and to check on seasoning. Add water if too salty (salt will depend on the broth you’re using), and add more salt or pepper to taste.
Once the vegetables and beef are fork tender and the sauce has thickened, take out of oven. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
How I serve it:
I take a bowl and spoon a good portion of mashed potatoes to the side of it. Then I ladle the stew right next to the potatoes so they can absorb the stew as well. Then I sprinkle the whole dish (potatoes too!) with finely chopped parsley.
Well now we need something to wash it all down with! This one I think is pretty easy, but let’s dive in:
- Irish beer: your favorite, but a Guinness may be in order for tradition’s sake
- Irish whiskey: beyond Jameson, if you can find some of the smaller batch stuff from Slane Whiskey, Redbreast, and Bushmill’s
- Irish coffee: coffee + whiskey + baily’s irish cream + sugar cube + freshly whipped cream
- mulled wine
- (non-alcoholic) Irish Rose: lemon juice + cherry juice (from the maraschino jar is fine) + soda water or lemon/lime soda + accent maraschino cherry & lemon twist (make it alcoholic with a knob of whiskey added)
You can watch movies, read books etc but pub quizzes have become part of Irish culture as much as a perfectly poured pint. Waterlily Weddings has put together two outstanding quizzes that test your knowledge of all things Irish. You can find them here:
We wish you all a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day and celebration, now matter what form it takes. Know that we are working diligently behind the scenes rescheduling weddings given the new travel restrictions, and are committed to supporting all of our clients throughout their wedding process no matter when their wedding is and how it is affected by the coronavirus.
Things will change. Spring will come. Grey skies will soon be replaced with more and more blue ones, the sun will shine more days than not, and we all will get through this time together. Please stay safe, stay healthy, and we sincerely look forward to bringing you more incredible destination weddings in Ireland in the near future!