St Patrick’s week 2021 was lovely. Spring has finally come! After weeks of cold windy weather, this week offered 15-16 degrees and glorious sunshine. I’ve kicked off the 2021 gardening season. Not bad for mid March!
More than anything else, I’m not used to warm weather for St Patrick’s day. Not that I’ve lived here for so long, but I’ve also been in Ireland several times in holidays for St Patrick’s day, and it’s always been freaking cold. I remember one sunny and nice St Patrick’s day, and that was in 1999, the very first time I visited Ireland.
Our first year. here, 2019, we had a sunny day but it was chilly – in the evening we had a small parade in our little village, organised by the pub (I think), and I had promised to play the guitar. When it was time for that we had 4 degrees C and my fingers nearly fell off from the cold. Last year, when all celebrations were cancelled, the weather was absolutely horrible. Having no parades was actually a blessing!
This year, the parades were obviously cancelled again, but the St Patrick’s fest they usually have in Dublin was held online, all week. I didn’t watch it because I was busy enjoying the nice weather and to prepare my own St Patrick’s day celebrations.
What is St Patrick’s day?
St Patrick’s day was made an official holiday in the 1700s and it takes place on the day of St Patrick’s death, the 17th of March. It’s originally a Christian holiday to commemorate St Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. But it’s also a celebration of Irish culture and heritage, and it’s mostly known as that, as far as I know. It’s celebrated by Irish people and by people with an interest in Ireland and Irish culture. Sometimes I see criticism about this – that “Huh, so you think you are Irish?”. I don’t care whether I’m Irish or not – I love Ireland and I love Irish culture, this is why I want to celebrate St Patrick’s day.
The celebrations include (in normal times when people can socialise) parades on the streets, festivals, concerts, and decorations with shamrocks and all sorts of green stuff.
The celebration in Dublin is massive. But the St Patrick’s day celebrations in the US, Canada, Australia, UK and other places are even larger. There are people with Irish heritage all over the world, and they celebrate BIG. The celebration in Boston is particularly famous and I’ve heard they colour the river green but I don’t know if that’s a myth..
The name. It’s important.
Do NOT call it St Patty’s day. Patty is a burger shaped piece of meat, or it is a female name (the name of my favourite female country singer, for example), which is not bad of course, but it has nothing to do with St Patrick. Other than that, the Irish will make fun of you and/or roll their eyes if you call it St Patty’s day.
Call it St Patrick’s day, Paddy’s day, or maybe St Paddy’s day.
Our own St Patrick’s day celebration
We had a nice party with our music session friends on Zoom. We had big plans to make green drinks, flag coloured shots and jellies, traditional Irish food and more. But in the end we were too late with trying to find the right ingredients. We did make Irish stew and traditional bacon and cabbage for dinner. I ditched the idea about jellies, but wanted to try the flag coloured shot. That was a big fail!
We didn’t find Grand Marnier which is used for the orange part, and I thought I could use whiskey. The shot is made by Creme de menthe (a mint liqueur), Bailey’s and Grand Marnier (orange liqueur) and if you pour them carefully over the back of a tea spoon they should layer nicely on top of each other. This probably happens if you use liqueurs only, but something with the whiskey made it cut through everything.
However, the flavour mix of these three wasn’t exactly.. enjoyable. So perhaps not having the Irish flag shot wasn’t any particular loss. 😂
What did NOT fail was the Irish stew. Nom nom! I’ll definitely do it again.
The drinks, instead of the flag shots, included gin & tonic with shamrock filled ice cubes.
But the culinary highlight of the day was the baby Guinness, which is a little shot made with coffee liqueur and Irish cream.
I made it with Kahlùa, and Bailey’s on top. As with the Irish flag, you need to pour the Bailey’s carefully over the back of a spoon, so that if falls slowly onto the coffee liqueur. But this one was easy to make. These layer perfectly on top of each other, and as a mini dessert, it is absolutely fabulous. And I think you understand why it’s called baby Guinness!
We had a very enjoyable evening with lots of music, and went on from 4pm until some time after midnight. Here’s a little collage with our party pictures.. and I’m afraid the only themed apparel I had was this hat that is actually awful! 😆 St Patrick’s day is sometimes accused of promoting the creation of stereotypes of the Irish.. and this hat doesn’t really help. I promise to get something better for another year… at least I had my green hoodie from Pearse Lyons distillery in Dublin.
Most photos in the collage are from Zoom, and the second one is a screenshot from Zoom that a one of our friends made. Aren’t pictures of this type so typical for 2020-2021? Oh, how I wish we could be together. But I’m also thankful that we have technology to enable us to have parties and other social events together, through screens. It’s definitely much better than not meeting at all!
Some friends couldn’t be there on the day and we missed them of course, but it still was a lovely event and a totally acceptable substitute for the real thing.
This post is linked up with the Weekend coffee share with Natalie the explorer.