St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time - a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic. ~Adrienne Cook
If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky? ~Stanislaw J. Lec
Anyone acquainted with Ireland knows that the morning of St. Patrick's Day consists of the night of the seventeenth of March flavored strongly with the morning of the eighteenth. ~Author Unknown
For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way -
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.
May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
So, success attend St. Patrick's fist,
For he's a saint so clever;
Oh! he gave the snakes and toads a twist,
And bothered them forever!
When Irish eyes are smiling,
'Tis like a morn in spring.
With a lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
Patrick had a dream that encouraged him to flee his captivity and to head South where a ship was to be waiting for him. He travelled over 200 miles from his Northern captivity to Wexford town where, sure enough, a ship was waiting to enable his escape.
Upon arrival in England he was captured by brigands and returned to slavery. He escaped after two months and spent the next seven years travelling Europe seeking his destiny. During this time he furthered his education and studied Christianity in the Lerin Monastery in France.
He returned to England as a priest. Again a dream greatly influenced him when he became convinced that the Irish people were calling out to him to return to the land of his servitude. He went to the Monastery in Auxerre where it was decided that a mission should be sent to Ireland. Patrick was not selected for this task to his great disappointment. The monk that was selected was called Paladius, but he died before he could reach Ireland and a second mission was decided upon.
Patrick was made a Bishop by Pope Celestine in the year 432 and, together with a small band of followers, traveled to Ireland to commence the conversion. Patrick confronted the most powerful man in Ireland Laoghaire, The High King of Tara as he knew that if he could gain his support that he would be safe to spread the word throughout Ireland.
To get his attention Patrick and his followers lit a huge fire to mark the commencement of Spring. Tradition had it that no fire was to be lit until the Kings fire was complete, but Patrick defied this rule and courted the confrontation with the King. The King rushed into action and travelled with the intention of making war on the holy delegation. Patrick calmed the King and with quiet composure impressed the King that he had no other intention than that of spreading the word of the Gospel.
The King accepted the missionary, much to the dismay of the Druids who feared for their own power and position in the face of this new threat. They commanded that he make snow fall. Patrick declined to do so stating that this was Gods work. Immediately it began to snow, only stopping when Patrick blessed himself.
Still trying to convince the King of his religion, Patrick grasped at a shamrock growing on the ground. He explained that there was but one stem on the plant, but three branches of the leaf, representing the Belssed Trinity. The King was impressed with his sincerity and granted him permission to spread the word of his faith, although he did not convert to Christianity himself. Patrick and his followers were free to spread their faith throughout Ireland and did so to great effect. He drove paganism (symbolised by the snake) from the lands of Eireann.
Patrick died on March 17th in the year 461 at the age of 76. It is not known for sure where his remains were laid although Downpatrick in County Down in the North of Ireland is thought to be his final resting place. His influence is still felt to this day as Nations the world over commemorate him on March 17th of every year.
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Classic Irish Soda Bread
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 cups Flour
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Caraway Seeds
1 1/2 cups Raisins
2 Eggs -- beaten
1 cup Butter or Margarine -- melted
1 cup Milk
Preheat oven to 350oF. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Place raisins and caraway seeds in a large bowl.
Sift together flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. Pour sifted mixture over raisins. Add butter,
eggs and milk to the bowl; mix well. Mold dough into a loaf shape on a floured board.
Place dough in greased pan and bake for one hour.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
- One corned beef brisket, 3 to 4 pounds
- Water to cover
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bottle dark beer (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2-cup chopped fresh parsley
- 8 black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 6 whole cloves
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
- 4 large parsnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 1 medium head cabbage, about 2 pounds, cut into small wedges
- Freshly ground pepper
- Horseradish sauce (optional garnish, see links below)
Place beef in a large Dutch oven and cover with water. Add onion, optional beer, thyme and parsley. Bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, place bay leaf, peppercorns, mustard seed and cloves into herb ball or piece of tied cheesecloth. Add to pot; reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for about 3-1/2 hours or until meat is very tender (takes about 1 hour per pound of meat). Add cabbage, carrots and parsnips. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Remove the meat and cut into slices. Place in the center of a large platter. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and arrange around the beef. Pass the horseradish sauce and, if desired, some of the broth.
Note: If the brisket is too long to fit in your pot, just cut it in half and layer it in.
Be Safe My Friends! Grab a designated driver if you know you are going to get a little tipsy...always better to be safe than sorry :)
CHEERS! Happy St. Patrick's Day!