Preparing for Lá Fhéile Pádraig

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I have plenty of Irish in me — note my ghostly pale skin and natural red hair — so I always look eagerly toward St. Patrick's Day. Not so much for the wear-green-or-you'll-get-pinched factor (ouch) or for the pints of colorful beer (yuck), but for a yearly excuse to watch my favorite Irish movie, Once.


This year, I'm expanding my celebrations into the kitchen by preparing the Storyqueen's favorite corned beef recipe (which includes the intriguing ingredient of orange marmalade and a happy lack of cabbage) and this soda bread (substituting butter for margarine). And, of course, Irish Breakfast tea will be served all day! I like mine with a spoonful of cream.

I'll also spend it quoting Oscar Wilde ("I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.") and pretending that I live in a stone cottage by the sea, surrounded crashing gray waves and vibrant green hills. Cillian Murphy will be my neighbor. I will invite him over for tea.

My neighbor, pondering the hills

Will you be doing anything special this Thursday? Do you have any traditions?


  1. Nothing planned this year. I just found out that I'm Irish, which totally made my week.

    I love the cover of LOLA! Especially the hair. ;)

    Have a fantastic week!

  2. I may steal your Once tradition, because that is a really good one. If it existed, I would also watch Circle Of Friends on DVD as well.

    I'm Irish by marriage, and I think that counts :) We usually celebrate with one pint Magners (or Bulmers) for me, one pint Guinness for him. We were lucky enough to be in Galway on 3/17/07, and that simply can't be topped.

  3. I'll be wearing green and my shamrock pin and waking my kids with "Top of the morning to ye." I used to bake Irish soda bread, but since I'm the only one that eats it I've stopped doing that.

    Instead I'll drink my Barry's tea while listening to more U2 than usual.

    Enjoy your day!

  4. I'm Irish, so Guinness is definitely in order! This year will hopefully find the time to do a beef stew as well. Slainte!

  5. Last year we had corn beef watched The Secret of Roan Inish. I am not sure what will happen I will be sure to wear my claddagh ring, warning Irish attitude t-shirt & my kiss me i'm Irish socks.

  6. I have invited my very non-Irish cousins over for shepherd's pie, beer(Pub blends), and whiskey. We are all Cuban but will celebrate anything. Can't wait for Lola!!!!!!!

  7. Oh, I just love Once! Such a beautiful movie.

    We got a lot of produce at the Irish Channel Parade this past Saturday, cabbages and carrots and stuff, and made a corned beef stew. We've done this for the past few years and it's such a great tradition.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  8. Mm soda bread! That sounds good :) Sadly I am not Irish...I was made in China, hahaha. I hope your St. Patricks festivities are a blast :D



  9. My friends usually have a St. Pat's party, so I'll head to that. But I might skip that and head to your house if you invite Cillian Murphy to tea.

  10. I'll indulge in a bit of Bailey's Irish Cream, Piers Brosnan shall be my neighbor, and I'll kiss all the Irish folk I meet (no small feat in my neck of the woods!)

    No doubt I'll also be serving a bit of the blarney ;)

    - Liz

  11. My only tradition is to avoid the Irish pubs in town. They will be filled to the brim with drunk, over-paid public servants. Yuck.

    Your traditions sound nice, but since I'm sick, I think I'll be lying in bed watching North & South and Pride & Prejudice--if I don't get through it all today!

  12. Let me know how your corned-beef comes out! And I made that exact soda bread (with butter!!!) on Sunday. Makes for great toast the next day. And the loaf was really huge when it came out of the over. Like totally HUGE.

    As for my traditions...the usual.


  13. I freaking love ONCE. One of my favourite movies ever. I'm 1/4 Irish or so, but it's not the nationality I'm most in tune with.

  14. I just have one question. Why can't we be neighbors?

  15. Sounds heavenly! I'm not sure about Cillian Murphy as a neighbor, though... he kinda creeps me out. I'm Irish and I will be making Irish potatoes (the candy, they are not real potatoes!) with my daughters and my first graders (who are mainly Indian and Chinese and have no idea what they are!). Maybe we'll do a little leprechaun hunting... :)

  16. besides wearing my daily red hair, pale skin & freckles?? i'll probably wear some green & sit around with my 3 week old broken ankle. :) it's too bad my walking air bubble boot cast thing is gray & not green.

  17. Mandi Barnett11:24 PM GMT-5

    I actually watch Once every year on St. Patrick's day as well. (And listen to the soundtrack pretty much non-stop the rest of the year because IT'S SO GOOD.)

    I'll also wear green, and maybe have a beer, and possibly eat Irish stew.

  18. I'm Irish and live in Dublin, so I have a day off work and I will spend the day in the true Irish style - trying to avoid loud and annoying parades :p

    I may also have a Tayto crisp sandwich on white bread with a scrape of butter and a glass of red lemonade. It's what passes for an Irish delicacy :)

  19. Happy St. Patrick's to you! We make Irish Soda Bread, but most of the fun stuff I have planned is for my preschool class.

    Lola's very popular in the comments on my blog at the moment ;)

  20. I'm having dinner with a wonderful new love of mine! I haven't thought about corn beef in so long. Now I am going to need to track some down in the very near future! And don't forget about Tuesday! Its Peach Keeper Day! I am so excited. I just can barely wait!

  21. All I did was wear green, eat corned beef for dinner, and finish reading your entire blog because everybody in my dorm is gone for Spring Break and I had nothing better to do. Then I proceeded to start writing on a YA Romance idea that developed in my head as I kept reading you talk about it. Actually, it has probably been developing since I read your book but now I am actually working on it. Hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day and didn't get pinched!