Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Traditions, Luck, Lore and FOOD!

I LOVE ST. Patrick’s Day

Warnning: This is a photo heavy post and I get a bit… umm… weird, pretentious and full of my self inthe first part of this post .. not apologizing .. just warning. So I won’t be offended if you skip to the other stuff. Honest! Also there are some photos of meat cooking , sorry if that bothers you, but there is plenty to read here and that part is easily skipped. I want to apologize for some of the photos, i am currently not able to use my regular monitor and the one i am using currently isn't super clear..

( now , just like dinner, this post is complete as i have added all the photos)

Ok here goes ..

I LOVE ST. Patrick’s Day

No , Not for the Green Beer, nor the parades where they happen, nor for the silly hats and shirts , no not even for all the green water you can find (died or other wise…).. even though all those things help to add to the wonderful energy of the day most certainly.. They are just extra goodied that come with the day if you like those things..

I love the St. Patrick’s Day because in my house it was and is a family day.

The smells of all the foods being readied, and the fresh flowers that come into the house, and the sticking of ones fingers in the cream of pies or frosting of coffee cakes and the snichen’ of a piece of warm soda bread along with all the hustle and bustle reminds me of the times spent in the kitchen with My Grandma Grace and my Mother , and their three days of cooking they would do getting ready for the holiday. There were always loaves of soda bread and jars of winter or early spring canned fruit jellies and jams to be dispersed amongst family members, neighbors and friends. And oh those rare and magical weekends when the morning after St Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday or Sunday and spending time watching my dad make corned beef hash with pancakes and eggs and quizzing him about everything from what it was like when he was growing up to wont mom be mad you for putting her good cast iron pot on top all of that mess??? Those became even more fun mornings when Grandma Grace and Grandpa Red moved in with us after his first stoke.. he would tell us all kinds of stories about growing up in Ireland and about his parents and brothers and sisters and Irish folk tales ( al though I some times wonder how many were Irish and how many were Grandpa Red’s “folk tales”…)

While I cant go back in time to be with them all again, I can bring their memories a bit more for front in my heart and honor them by Sharing as much as I am able with my family, and friends.. They were strong people who lived through some of the toughest times in history .. This year I hope to teach some of the youngest of our family , the measure of strength in us all through stories of those who went before us and hope that they can take away from those stories the strength , wisdoms, patients, creative ingenuity, generosity, and selflessness they will need to stand strong in honest endurance as they muddle their way through these our the current trying times. ..

Ok sorry got a little on the soap box there.. the whole point is that its another day to spend with family and friends .


On to the good stuffs

Did you Know?:

Erin go braugh' is an incorrect spelling and is essentially meaningless. ‘Erin go brea’ the correct phrase and means ‘Ireland the beautiful’. 'Erin go deo' means ‘Ireland forever’. Other common spellings include "Erin go brah" and "Erin go bragh". The correct spelling of the phrase is 'Éirinn go Brách' or in some dialects of Gaeilge 'Éirinn go Brágh'… ( it is possible that braugh has been misspelled due to phonics… in other words spelling it how it sounds)… 'Éirinn go Brágh' is now commonly used as a patriotic cry meaning 'Ireland forever,' - 'go Brágh' meaning forever.

From an old Gaelic Prayer:

May the blessing of light be upon you,

Light without and within…

And in all your comings and goings,

may you ever have a kindly greetin’

from them you meet along the road.

Grandma Grace's Traditional Corned beef and cabbage

Corned beef replaced the traditional bacon when Irish who immigrated to
America found the bacon to expensive.

• 4½ pound corned beef brisket
• 3 allspice berries
• 1 bay leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
• 1 onion, quartered
• 1 whole bulb garlic, cut crosswise so each clove is cut in half but the bulb stays in tact
• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 1 medium head cabbage, cut into eights
• 1½ pounds small red potatoes
• 1 shot (ounce) true Irish Mist or Irish whiskey (optional)
Cooking Instructions
1. Rinse corned beef under running water. Place in large pot.

2. Tie allspice, bay leaves, mustard seeds, peppercorns, into a piece
of cheese cloth using green floss (or white string) and add to the pot
with the brisket.

if you do not have cheese cloth you can use a coffee filter.

Place the coffee filter into a cup to help form the shape.

place the herbs and spices in to the filter

and then tie them up as you would for cheese cloth

3. Add the whiskey,Pouring it right onto the top of the meat

then add onion and garlic.

and the herb and spice pouch

Add enough water to cover.( I prefer to use Irish mist)

4. Bring to a boil, skim any scum if needed. Reduce to a simmer and
cover. Cook about 3 to 5 hours, or until fork-tender.

Remove and keep
warm. (wrap in aluminum foil )

5. Remove spices and vegetables from cooking water.

Add cabbage and
potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 30
minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

Slice the brisket thin.

Want a real goody, pour a bit of the liquid left from the meat, potatoes, and cabbage on top of your potatoes instead of butter or with the butter!

Irish Blessing
Like the shamrocks of old Ireland
May your joys grow all year through-
and Irish luck and laughter
be a part of all you do!

Did you know

Eating cabbage or other greens is considered good luck because the green leaves are representative of money. Did you know the Man in the Moon who was allegedly banished to the moon after being caught stealing a cabbage from his neighbor on Christmas Eve; and that cabbage throughout the ages has been a reported cure for hangovers?!?

And for the day after you have GOT to try this with the left over Corned Beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes dinner .. it is to die For!

Grama’s Corned beef Hash

3 Tbsp. olive oil ( more or less)

Left over Corned Beef Brisket , Chopped fine about 3 cups

Left over cooked cabbage, chopped fine about 1 cup

Left over boiled potatoes, cubed small about 2 cups

1/2 medium-small sweet onion, chopped fine

1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped fine

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. flour

1 cup beef bullion

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp cumin powder (Watkins is recommended)

1/2 tsp. dried parsley (Watkins is recommended)

1 tsp. dried oregano (Watkins is recommended)

1/2 tsp. dried lemon thyme

1/2 tsp. Black Pepper ((Watkins is recommended)

1/2 tsp. Sea salt (Watkins is recommended)

1/2 tsp. dried Rosemary (Watkins is recommended)

10 inch cast iron skillet and an 8 inch cast iron skillet, and a study metal spatula

In small dish combine all the spices and salt. Set aside.

Prepare the left over Corned Beef Brisket; working with the brisket cold, remove the

fat form the fatty side. Then slice into the smallest sized cubes you can manage. Next,

with good meat cleaver, chop till fine ( or to desired texture_ my family likes medium-


Prepare the cabbage, by balling it in your hands as squeezing as much liquid as you

are physically able from the ball . (Work it in your hands over and over to remove as

much of this liquid as humanly possible !) With the cleaver, chop the cooked cabbage till

is resembles a course “paste” place this in a small dish and set aside.

Place chopped meat into a small bowl and set aside

Now, finely cube the potatoes and set them into another small bowl .

Chop the onions, sweet red pepper and finely mince the garlic and place them in

another small bowl together.

Prepare the beef bullion and set it aside. Then measure out the Worcestershire sauce,

and flour into separate small dishes and set them aside.

Place the 10 inch cast iron skillet on the flame ( I use a gas oven ) over medium high

heat. And coat the bottom well with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil ( or more) . let this get

Just to the smoking point and pour in the onion, pepper, garlic mix and stir . Let the

onions just start to turn light golden brown then add the potatoes. Continue to cook till

they start to get a little brown around the edges ( remember to lightly scrap the little bits

from the bottom of the pan .) Next add the macerated cabbage to the potato mixture and

fry them together 3 to 5 min. stirring constantly with the metal spatula. Now add the

chopped corned beef , Worcestershire sauce and the dry spice-salt mixture and stir them into the potato-cabbage mixture well. Press this to the sides of the pan ( in a circle) and

add the beef bullion to the center of the pan and give it a good stir to help remove any

stuck bits , then remove 2 to 3 Tbsp. of the warm liquid and add it to the flour to form a

past the stir the flour past into the liquid in the middle of the pan . Mix this all together

very well with the spatula . Smooth the hash out evenly all over the pan and place the

8 inch cast iron skillet, bottom side down into the pan on top of the hash and give it a

little press. Let this cook for 5 min. CAREFULLY lift the 8 inch pan out and scrap any

thing sticking to it back into the 10 inch pan and give every thing a good stir being sure

to scrap the good stuff from the bottom of the pan and turning the has over on itself.

Replace the 8 inch pan and let set another 5 minutes and give it another good deep

bottom scraping stir. Repeat this process 2 more times. Then leave the 8 inch pan off

and continue to cook the hash till brown and crispy, stirring frequently.

This is best when served when topped with eggs fried over easy and slices of fresh

cantaloupe on the side.

Note: some time you need to add a bit more oil to the pan while frying the potatoes and

cabbage to keep things from sticking to the pan.

The Blessing of Light:

May the blessing of Light be on you,

Light without and light within.

May the blessed sunlight shine on you

and warm your heart till it grows like a great peat fire,

so that the stranger may come

and warm himself at it,

and also a friend

Irish Soda Bread

This recipe has been floating around Grama’s ol wooden recipe box for longer than I can remember. I am not claiming it to be an ol family recipe or a true traditional Irish Soda from “the old country” , just that it is the recipe is traditional in our house ,and admittedly I tend to play around with . But either way it is an important part of our St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Pre-heat oven to 375degrees F.

4 cups unbleached flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons course (or regular) sugar ( I use vanilla sugar)

1 and ½ cup raisins ( prefer golden when I can get them)

2 tablespoons caraway seed

1 and ½ cups buttermilk

Sift flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar together into a large mixing bowl

Now add other ingredients and blend well.

Shape into 1 round loaf and sprinkle the top with sugar.

Cut a cross into the top of the loaf and bake on lightly sprayed (or greased) baking sheet for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and bake for 45 minutes,

Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Slice and serve with coffees, teas, and jellies or jams.

An Irish Blessing:

May your thoughts be as glad as the Shamrocks,

May your heart be as light as a song,

May each day bring you bright, happy hours

That stays with ye all the year long!

OH.. And Don’t for get to wear the green! ( or green white and orange )

The phrase "the Wearing of the Green" began when the shamrock became an emblem of rebellion in the 19th century and Queen Victoria made the practice of wearing a shamrock by member's of her regiments punishable by death by hanging.

Irish legend states that green clothes attract faeries and aids crops.

Here is a bit more about St. Patrick’s Day

In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is more of a religious holiday similar to Christmas and Easter, and the saint of the day St. Patrick is a Christian saint who was buried in Northern Ireland on March 17th . Saint Patrick's Day as a celebration of Irish culture was rarely acknowledged by Northern Irish loyalists, who consider it a festival of the Irish Republicans, but there are new steps being taken to change this view. For instance, currently, during the Belfast parade only the flag of St. Patrick is supposed to be used as a symbol of the day so that it is not seen as a time which is exclusively for Republicans and Nationalists. This policy is to allow both Unionists and Nationalists to celebrate the day together. The Unionists wear orange instead of green on St. Patrick's Day and are often referred to as “orangemen” (orange often but not always represents the Protestants of Northern Ireland.)

St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland is a five-day festival, but for at least one day of the year, March 17th, both Christians and non-Christians the world over, can celebrate a version of the holiday. And they do so by wearing green and/or orange, eating Irish food and/or green foods and drinks, drinking Irish drinks (usually Guinness or Irish whisky), and attending parades and festivals and more. On St. Patrick’s Day it is said that Every one is (or wants to be) Irish.

As pagans we might look to myth, legend, lore, history and traditions of old to find ways to celebrate, rejuvenate and create the energies of hope and prosperities to come. Others of us my simply look to current traditions to celebrate. But no mater how or why we celebrate, we can all experience the joyous energy of “the luck-o-the-Irish”.

The Legend of the Shamrock (a 3 leafed clover)

Seamrog - a compound of "seamair", or clover, and "og", meaning young or small. ( aka what we now call the shamrock). The traditional Gaelic spelling ,"seamr q" means summer plant. This plant, (but it must be a true shamrock) is said to have mystic, even prophetic powers. It is said the leaves will stand upright to warn of an approaching storm and will lean to the direction of coming danger or wilt away from a person overtaken by an evil spirit.

It is said that the Shamrock, Trifolium dubium, the three-leafed plant was used by St Patrick to convert Ireland from Paganism to Christianity. The reports are that he used it ( in the 5th century , to teach the principle of the Christian Holy Trinity . He taught that it was a living representative of the “ Three-in-One” ( a.k.a. the Christian Holy Trinity) in that each leaf represents God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and that each part made up the whole of the plant stem. The first mention of a link between the saint and the holy clover comes in the early 18th century from the diary of a wandering Protestant cleric Named Caleb Threlkeld who wrote: "This plant [white clover] is worn by the people in their hats upon the 17th day of March yearly, which is called St Patrick's Day, it being a current tradition that by this three-leafed grass he emblematically set forth to them the mystery of the Holy Trinity." This is the fist found mention of this legend which came about many years after the Bishop Patrick passed away. No one is saying that is wasn’t possible, just that is was not a proven fact reported during his life time. Regardless the truth of the legend, the shamrock has become the icon of the Nation of Ireland, and you will find sprigs of it proudly pined to the lapels of young and old alike on St. Patrick’s day. ( I would like to note that the official symbol of Ireland is the 12-stringed harp and not the iconic shamrock) . The symbolic meaning of the clover’s trefoil growth would not have been original to the Protestant cleric Caleb Threlkeld nor Saint Patrick. The ancient Celts may also have revered the clover because of the trinity of its leaves too. These people had a myriad of powerful beliefs based on triads, which we see in the triskelion, triquetra, triple spiral, Druid marks, and various knot-work found in so much of the art from their time. The representations of three , depending on how depicted, indicated aspects of goddesses, gods, time, balance and a wealth of other things connected in colorations of 3. But regardless of who saw it first, the myth, lore and legend of the shamrock dose and will always spark the magick of hope, prosperity and rejoicing and the promise of growth, success, good health and spring eternal in our hearts and minds .

Shamrocks upon the lapel all evil will dispel!

( you can use Green, Orange, White thread .. or a twist of all three colors if you choose)

Go out into the grass in your bare feet ( weather permiting) and gather up the longest stemmed shamrocks you can find. This is best done at sun rise before breakfast on St. Patrick's day but any time on that day is fine .

cut a length of the thread 5 to 7 inches long

gather the shamrocks into a a bouquet.

Wrap on end of the thread lightly around your little finger to anchor it

While holding the tiny stems of th ebouquet in your fingers wrap the end of the thread that isn't wraped around your pinky up to 3 times around for the tripple Goddess/God , then once more for prosperity , once more for protection, and once more Ireland . Then one last time for all. ( a total of 7 wraps).

Tie the thread with 3 knots to secure.

Leave the thread long so that this bouquet can be hung in the home for luck all the year long at midnight on St. Patrick's day.

Ware the bouquet over your heart till midnight !

Did you know

The sweet smell of clover is said to induce a feeling of peace and calm with in ones self.

Dr Charles Nelson, a leading Irish botanist and a specialist on shamrock, says that the “Shamrock” only exists on St Patrick's Day. Every other day of the year, it's just young clover

A survey conducted by the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin found that the "shamrock" worn on St Patrick's Day is, in fact, not one plant but four different varieties of trefoil or clover. Varieties used are red clover (Trifolium pratense) and black medick (Medicago lupulina), White clover with no white marks on it’s leaves (Trifolium dubium) which is the traditional, and white clover with white marks on its leaves(Trifolium repens).

The 4 leaf clover:

Celtic druids considered the four-leafed clover to be a lucky charm.

Even today it is said that to find a 4 leaf clover is lucky indeed… to find one on St. Patrick’s Day is apparently luckier still!

The 4 leaf clover is said to grant good fortune in 4 different aspects of life. Happiness,

Hope, Peace and Love. These aspects are represented by the leaves of the clover .Never show another your lucky clover, for the power of the blessings it brings will leave you and go to them. The 4 leaf clovers luck last for just a year and a day, but do not throw it away! Place it your book of shadows or plant journals with information about it’s luck and what luck it brought you, or just a little note or 2 bout it’s legend and lore.

And finaly…:

Luck isn't just something you find -- it's something you create. This Household talisman just might help.

Place a healthy plant in a blue pot. Stand in the center ( or as close as you can get) of your home and face North then locate the farthest (left) corner of your home and place the plant there.

Beneath the plant place three silver (or shiny) coins to boost your financial luck, growth and prosperity level .

(a lush green plant that grows in a vertical direction will also help to lift your spirits, increase your luck, and draw positive energy upwards into your environment . If this is tied to a piece of wood to help its vertical growth, this too will help attract good fortune and increase personal growth in many aspects. If the leaves have a striped pattern to them, this too can help increase the power of this household talisman, as the stripes of the leaves can help the energy flow more freely and smoothly)

The readings of the tarot on St. Patrick’s Day are said to be the truest if the laid in the Celtic Cross fashion.

To dream of clover is said to symbolize attainment, growth, financial gain, success, good health refinement, wellness, satisfaction and contentment

One last bit o' Irish lore
click on the photo to read the legend of the Irish Claddagh

Always remember those who've gone before thee, and give thanks that thier sacrifices and survival brought thee to me !

Happy and prosperous Blessings of of the Weefolk be with thee always !
Ma Fey


  1. I loved this post!!

    I hope you have a great day :)

  2. Wow! What a wonderful post celebrating Ireland! I plan to refer back to this post every St. Pat's Day. You put a lot of time and effort into this one and it truly shows. I also love the Irish music to go along with it. I must remember to turn my speaker down when I get to your blog though!!!! LOL!