what do you call an irishman who sits out on the porch all night? patty O’furniture.

haha. well, St. Pat’s day came and went. it is probably one of the best days of the year for me. Andrea cooks up a huge feast and i handle the beverage department. she really outdid herself this year and had me wishing there were more irish patron saints to celebrate. unfortunately, this year we missed out on the local irish parade and the celtic festival. we had too much cooking and cleaning to do before our guests came over so we opted to not go to those other events. that and i was actually out of town at a basketball tournament and got back only 1/1/2 hours before the first guests arrived.

for the meal, this year the menu included some former classics and some new additions.

first course: leek and potato soup

second course: blackberry sorbet

entree: beef in stout, colcannon, bacon and cabbage, barm brack (bread) and irish sodabread

dessert: irish chocolate cake (made with homemade irish cream liqueur)

andrea added a really neat element to the meal this year that was really a twist to an irish halloween tradition. inside the barm brack she hid four items that were symbolic. when each person took a piece of the bread the ones who found the hidden charms got to get prayed for relating to the symbolic nature of the charm. they were a shoe, for perseverance, a ring, for marriage, a moneybag, for abundance, and a thimble, for protection. that was a sweet time as we prayed for one another randomly during the meal as people discovered the charms inside their bread.

as i mentioned, the beverages were my department. i made irish coffee and mochas with irish cream. a friend made up some black & tan’s and we also had some Guinness, brown ale and Finnegan’s on hand. my personal favorite was the irish cream liqueur. it was probably the most wonderful thing i have ever tasted (picture the homer Simpson donut drool…… aaaagggghhhhhhh). and so as to not leave the kids out, i frothed some milk for them and poured hot cocoa onto the milk and they had their own little special drink that they could enjoy.

after dinner we all convened in the living room and enjoyed some good irish music played by some friends with some traditional irish instruments, like the tin whistle and the boron. we also had some shakers, a d’jimbe, a washboard, a guitar and some other percussion instruments.

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to play, hold the wooden man and knock the board

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to end the night we always watch an irish movie. last year a friend brought the Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara (circa 1951). it was a vhs recording and just when the movie built to its climax toward the end, the movie cut out and we never got to see the ending. so this year we finished the movie and watched some of the special features of the new dvd that our friend bought after the frustration of not seeing the ending last year.

some recommendations for celebrating irish culture:

bands–the Chieftains, Gaelic Storm

food–beef in stout, colcannon, irish sodabread

beverages–irish cream liqueur, Guinness extra stout

songs–Molly Malone, the Wild Rover, Hills of Connemara

movies–Waking Ned Devine, the Quiet Man

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