12 Most Mor (Great) Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
I’m not even Irish, yet St. Patrick’s Day is the one day a year that everyone can be Irish.
Many years ago I had the opportunity to visit Ireland for a lengthy stay. Upon arriving at the airport in Dublin, the customs agent asked me if I was Irish. Good question. “No” was my answer. He then said everyone who comes to Ireland is a “wee-bit” Irish once they arrive on the shores of the Emerald Island. I wasn’t sure what he meant but by the end of the trip, I knew exactly what he meant.
If you have the opportunity to visit Ireland, you too will know. It is a feeling you get from the passion of the people. The people of Ireland are marvelous, the food is captivatingly fresh, and the drink? Well, stay tuned because St. Patrick’s Day is all about the drink, the food and the people.
I call Ireland the friendliest country in Europe and for good reason. St. Patrick’s Day may not be your favorite holiday, but for me it is the most intriguing and it brings me great pleasure.
1. An Irish breakfast
Eggs, Irish sausages both black and white, Irish bacon, regular bacon, griddled tomatoes, toast, juice, coffee, clotted cream and of course, a pint or two. You get the picture. If you’re going to be drinking all day it’s important to eat a very full breakfast.
2. That elusive perfect pint
There are only a few pubs in the U.S. that serve the perfect pint. I’ve only found Blackthorn in Parsippany, NJ. They do it right — they let the pint rest. Jimmy the barkeep will ask you when you’re ½ way done with your dark if you’d like another. It takes that much time to pour that perfect pint. The other is in Portland, Maine — the Pub named Brian Boru, they won the Perfect Pint award from Guinness. Does your pub pour a perfect pint? Ask them!
3. The Irish coffee
I must have one. Right now. For breakfast. John Powers Irish Whisky — good strong coffee and a mantel of thick cream on top. A bit of sugar and POW!
4. Cashel blue cheese smeared on a bagel
A bagel you say? That’s not Irish — no, it’s not, but I’m not Irish either! When I was in Ireland the last time up on the mount of Cashel, I looked down and saw all these lovely cows below. I said to my travel companion, “what do you see down there?” She replied, “cows.” I said, “no, not cows, I see cheese.” Try a slab of Irish smoked salmon on a bagel with that cheese. Mmmm!
5. A bar crawl in NYC starting at 5:00 a.m.
You have not lived the life of an Irish person, even Irish for a day if you don’t go to NYC for St. Patrick’s Day, at least once. And that means drinking whisky and guinness, starting way before the sun is warm on your toes. The parade? What’s that?
6. St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Best seen from inside a bar like Moran’s in NYC. Why go outside when you can drink inside and not get arrested for public intoxication?
7. A big plate of Irish stew
It must be made from lamb. You need something to sop up all that Guinness!
8. Jameson Irish Whisky
Midleton Irish Whisky, Tullamore Dew (every man must get his Dew…)
9. Knockeen Hills Poteen (90%)
Did you read that right? 90% alcohol? Don’t drink this around an open flame. The distiller recommends not drinking more than 25ml in a 24 hour period. Poteen or “little pot still” celebrates this uniquely Irish drink. It’s their white-lightning moonshine. Whatever you want to call it, be very, very careful!
10. A huge bowl of Shepherd’s Pie
Lamb, not beef is the ingredient that should shine in Shepherd’s Pie. REAL mashed potatoes, not those boxed varieties — a good waxy potato to stand up to the fat and juices. You don’t want to even attempt to make this with a baking potato. Try a Yukon Gold. Or a Maine Potato. They have the stuffing necessary to sop up more of that Poteen that is lurking over there on the table!
Conversation that can only be had on St. Patrick’s Day and after several dozen pints of the dark. All are friends not yet met on this unique day of the green!
12. Irish session music
Essential to the experience of this most exceptional day of the year. You’ll know when the music is right when the conversation flows as beautifully as the perfect pint of dark in your hand. And that lad or lass at your side is smiling that knowing smile, you’re Irish for a day!
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Featured image courtesy of earlycj5 licensed via Creative Commons.