On Sunday 17th March, people around the world will celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Today we thought we would tell you a little more about the history and traditions of the day.
What is St Patrick’s Day?
It is a cultural and religious celebration held on the death day of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
Who was St Patrick?
He was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century and kidnapped at the age of 16 when he was taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but later in order to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on March 17, 461 AD, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools across the country. He also wrote that he “baptized thousands of people”.
There are many legends surrounding St Patrick. Probably one of the most famous is his use of the shamrock to illustrate the Christian teaching of three persons in one God. The shamrock subsequently became a symbol for St Patrick’s Day and for Ireland as a whole.
Another legend tells that he banished all of the snakes from Ireland, after they tried to attack him as he undertook a 40-day fast on top of a hill. Some say that the snakes are a metaphor for the druids, who St Patrick drove out by teaching Christianity.
How is St Patrick’s Day celebrated?
It is officially a public holiday in Ireland. Historically, the Lenten restrictions on food and alcohol were lifted for St Patrick’s Day, making it a time of celebration. That has continued today with drinking and revelry forming part of the celebrations in many different areas around the world. There are often parades and festivals with traditional Irish music and many people will wear green or adorn themselves with a shamrock.
The custom of ‘drowning the shamrock’ was popular in the past, with a shamrock being placed in a glass and covered with whiskey, beer or cider. The shamrock was then either drunk with the rest of the drink or tossed over the shoulder for good luck.
In England, the British Royals traditionally present bowls of shamrock to members of the Irish Guards, a regiment in the British Army. This is currently done by the Duchess of Cambridge. The city of Liverpool has the highest proportion of residents with Irish ancestry in England and they celebrate with a parade as well as musical and cultural events.
Around the world, parades are held in Moscow, Sarajevo, and Tokyo, amongst other cities. The Caribbean island of Montserrat and the Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador both join Ireland in taking a public holiday.
Are there traditional foods to eat?
Soda bread, a yeast-free bread that is very simple to make, is a traditional Irish food and is a good accompaniment to a main meal of roast lamb and potatoes. You could also enjoy a traditional Irish stew. For dessert, baking with chocolate and Guinness is a fun way to celebrate Irish flavors.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our exploration of St Patrick’s Day. How will you be celebrating? Let us know in the comments!
Let’s be honest… it isn’t a party until there’s a cheese board included. This season is one of the best for warm cozy nights followed by a bottle of wine with a delicious cheese board amongst friends.
The most important part of a Fall cheese board is white cheese, but let’s begin with all of the other festive components of our board that is needed before assembling.
The first component is honey. At Shisler’s Cheese House we stock Pure Clover Honey Comb which is perfect for this board. It pairs well with many different kinds of cheese, especially goat cheese.
Fresh fruit definitely gives a fall vibe and flavor. Using a fresh mix of figs and grapes give that whole harvest feel and they go well with cheese.
Nuts is another important component of our board. There are no specific nuts advised, it is all based on your personal preference. Personally, we like to add some Marcona almonds and candied walnuts to our cheese board. The almonds give off a savory flavor whereas the walnuts have notes of sweetness to them from the candying process. This makes them a match made in cheese board heaven.
We always need something a little brim on our board, Olives add that perfect effect. Castelvetrano Olives, in particular, tend to be a good pick.
Finally, crackers and breadsticks. Can’t go wrong with cheese and crackers. Going back to childhood, cheese and crackers were always a delicious snack- nothing changes! Pick out a few different types of crackers in all shapes, flavors, and sizes to give the board some personality.
Now to get into the cheese! Each board needs a variety of cheese.
Firstly, aged cheese. An aged White Cheddar from our website is a delicious addition to our Fall cheese board. The little crystals that develop within the cheese during the aging process give the cheese an extra crunch, which complements the next cheese in particular, really well.
Next, we need a soft cheese. Goat cheese is ideal for this. You need to absolutely try this cheese with the honey, it will change your life!
What is a cheese board without a Blue Cheese? Exactly. Any blue will work for this addition, but at Shisler’s we recommend our Danish Blue. The flavor isn’t completely overwhelming and makes a perfect contrast to go with the other cheeses.
The last cheese needed for a cheese board is, of course, a firm one. A particular favorite to use is our Smoked Cheddar. The flavor is sharp and pungent with a firm texture. Not only that, it adds some Fall color to the board, which is perfect as it is a Fall board after all!
Now that you have all you need, you can get started assembling your board! Get yourself a big board and start arranging it how you like. It’s important to keep the presentation simple and bountiful. Tuck the cheeses into each other and then add your fresh fruit when you need to add some color. Your board is then ready for all of your Fall entertainment!
One of the biggest Irish traditions has got to be the beers- from ales and lagers to delicious stouts, they are all staples to most St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world. From Harp to Guinness, there’s a notable Irish brew for every beer lover. Whether you are heading out to a parade on the day or hosting your own party, here are some ‘must-know’ Irish beers to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day!
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Guinness is one of the most popular Irish beers worldwide, especially in the U.S. Its flavor is distinct with smooth aromas and deep, dark, satisfying flavors. There are different Guinness brews which are most popular to have- Guinness Draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra Stout.
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Smithwick’s Irish Ale
Smithwick’s is often referred as “Smitticks”. This ale has a unique flavor to it which combines hops with deep malt, coffee, aromatic fruits and roasted barley notes.
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This lightly colored lager is refreshing in flavor and has a European ring to it. It is rich in flavor and isn’t like any other lager, boasting a smooth and sharp finish.
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Murphy’s Irish Stout
This Irish Stout has become increasingly more popular over the years, particularly in the U.S. It’s much more light a sweet in flavor compared to the other stouts.
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O’Hara’s Celtic Stout
Celtic Stout is a smooth, dry, Irish Stout which combines the rich flavor of coffee with traditional hops. There are also notes of tasty licorice in there!
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Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
With it’s smooth and creamy finish, it has a base flavor which is similar to Smithwick’s. However, the cream ale gives its own unique and delicious blend, nonetheless.
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Beamish Irish Stout
This Beamish Irish Stout was formulated back in 1792 to capture the traditional taste of stout from Ireland. It has a fully rounded, malted flavor.
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Murphy’s Irish Red
This beer dates back all the way to 1856. It is a crisp and dry beer which is naturally red, with hints of fruit and caramel in its flavor.
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O’Hara’s Irish Wheat
This Irish Stout isn’t as common, however, it is a good, tasty brew which is perfect for those lighter drinkers in need of an easy-drinking option. Including fruits such as peaches, bananas, plums mixed with traditional hops, this golden wheat ale is smooth and quenches your thirst.
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Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout
Quite like its name, this stout is truly unique. Being one of Dublin’s favorite aromatic beer, it is bursting with interesting blends of dark, flavorful hops, grains and strangely enough, fresh oysters!
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