Extracurricular, FOOD !, Ireland, People, Recipes

No Better Place To Be For St. Paddy’s Day!

imageBeing in and out of Ireland over the past few months, I’ve really grown comfortable in this familiar but foreign land, due mostly in part to the warm folks that make up this ancient land of faith, passion, and pride. And on no other day of the year will you sense all that with an unmeasurable scale than on St. Patrick’s Day.

Within a 20 mile radius of where I am near Slane in Meath Co. Ireland, tomorrow on St. Paddy’s day there are at least 12 parades scheduled scattered about the small villages and towns….. that’s in 20 miles so just think of the amount of parading being done across this Emerald Isle! History tells of St. Patrick being brought to Ireland as a slave when only 16 and escaping a few years later only to return as a man of the cloth to bring christianity to the beautiful and troubled land in the early 5th century. It was atop the Hill of Slane where he lit his first Paschal fire on Easter eve not to defy but to invite the High King who was atop the Hill of Tara near by, to christianity. So to be in Slane tomorrow, on St. Patrick’s day is my obvious first pick!

Looking down from the monastery tower at The Hill Of Slane.
Looking down from the monastery tower at The Hill Of Slane.

When I began thinking about St. Patrick’s day a few weeks back I asked around to a few of my Irish friends what the day meant to them and what they remember about the day from their younger years. Here was one of my Irish friends, Peter Whelan’s thoughts and memories of this important day in Ireland:

image“I suppose it goes back to when i was a child, we really looked forward to St. Paddy’s day and getting our fresh shamrock and pinning it on our breast collar.* We then went to mass and afterwards the big thing….the Paddy’s day parade. I grew up in Dublin where the parade went through O Connel street, our main street in the capital and all the floats were massive and every big company in Dublin put a float in. Then i got older and it became time to “wet the shamrock”…yes you guessed it a few pints of Uncle Arthur (another name for guinness) it occasionally got a bit crazy as some people actually drown the shamrock”.
I moved to the country and boy was that different,you actually were personally involved in the local parade. I had a pony and traditional tub trap and i put an advert for the Village inn pub on it. Normally there is a mix of old vintage cars and tractors to local community groups parading their wares and a

Irish pony "tub trap", picture taken in Waterford Ireland 1880s
Irish pony “tub trap”, picture taken in Waterford Ireland 1880s

theme that is relevant to that particular year.I know of a pub (mc Keevers) just at BeauPark a few miles from Slane, where they will have a float with a man dressed as the pope and the owner Avril McKeever will be giving the pope pints as they drive through the village. The man dressing as the Pope is our friend Brendan who sang that lovely song for you in the top shop. Arvil will be dressed as a nun. The parade is not as serious as it was years ago hence the pope thing will be acceptable even getting a smile from Father Joe Deegan. The local schools and football teams and girl guides and boy scouts etc will all participate…it’s always a good day of craic! The traditional dinner in Dublin is our famous Dublin Coddle (recipe below) served with soda bread and a glass of guinness. In the rest of the country it would be Bacon and cabbage with floury spuds and white sauce. Some people use carrots with cabbage and mashed potato to give you the colours of our irish Flag.green white and gold. Later that night we will watch the news on RTE television and they will have reporter in most large towns around the country showing snippets of each parade. We are very aware that America takes our national saints day very serious in fact some would say they probably put more into it than some areas in Ireland even. Proudly our Taoiseach (irish for our prime minister) always travels to the White house to present the American President with a Waterford crystal glass bowl of specially grown Shamrock.”

Tomorrow I will celebrate this great day of Irish pride and craic by attending the local community parade and sharing in a few pints with friends, all the while humbled in the thought of all this country has endured and yet still maintains the loyal sense of pride and community. when I see the tricolor flag waving in celebration of St. Paddy’s day ill be toasting a pint to those over the centuries who have suffered and overcome and have made and continue to make Ireland a very special place.
I’ll be adding pictures to this post following my day out or you can also check them out on The Rucksack Foodie ‘s Facebook Page.
…and here is a recipe for Dublin Coddle which I plan on trying out next week. Share with us how your version turns out!
Dublin Coddle
Categories: Main Dish
Source: An Unidentified newspaper clipping from The 1970’s
• ½  lb. streaky rashers (bacon) cut into pieces
• 1 lb. sausages (pork)
• 1 lb. onions
• 1½  lb. potatoes
• Water, milk or stock to cover
1.Cut bacon into large pieces
2. Blanch sausages in boiling water
3. Peel and slice thinly, potatoes and onion
4. Place all ingredients in pan and cover with chosen liquid
5. Simmer for 1 hour
6. When sausages and bacon are cooked, remove and boil remaining  ingredients until thickened slightly.
7. Place meat and sausages on serving dish and pour stew over.
8. Traditionally served with soda bread and glasses of stout.
This was a favorite Saturday night dish in Dublin City and recipes vary from those which are simple combinations to those including diverse tastes of sausages and fresh herbs.

Hill of Słane, Slane Ireland
Hill of Słane, Slane Ireland

Here pilgrim, stop; rest on yonder monumental slab, beneath the shadow of that tall, ivy-matted tower, the belfry of the cathedral…it once was gorgeous with the shrines of fathers and illumed by many a flickering taper, though now the hemlock fills it’s isles & the purple foxglove waves it’s lonely banneret. The ground wine we stand is sacred (St. Patrick), hallowed by the dust of Kings (ancient High Kings of Ireland). Look abroad over the wide, undulating plains of Meath, or to the green hills of Louth where in the broad landscapes of Britian, found we a scene more fruitful and varied or one more full interesting, heart stirring associations? …….William Robert Wilde 1849

8 thoughts on “No Better Place To Be For St. Paddy’s Day!”

  1. well cody i will see you for a pint later.i will be the guy dressed as the clown giving the kids sweets etc.as if i needed a costume.so susan says.

  2. As long as you are in Ireland will you go and find , meet, and marry Glen Hansard (sp?). He’s awesome, he’s lonesome, and he rents a cottage on some estate outside of Dublin. You are so missed here! Happy St Patricks Day and Happy Hunting! Love, K Sent from my iPhone

    1. Hahaha…Kay Geno your hilarious! No lie, I actually was sitting next to him in a pub in Slane a few months back! didnt meet him and i don’t think he looked to lonely…lol…He’s an amazing musician, really talented! Miss you too so much! You should plan on meeting up with me for a visit on your next trip over to China!!

  3. Happy St. Paddy’s Day to you Cody and all your Irish friends from Labadie, Missouri!
    We will attend a St. Pat’s celebration later today of traditional fare and will lift our glasses of Guiness in a toast to the Emerald Isle! Hugs!

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