Luck of the Irish: the perfect St Patrick’s Day celebration

The 17th March is St Patrick’s Day, when the world goes a little crazy for Ireland.

The man himself, St Patrick, was born around 385 AD , although his exact birthplace isn’t know he’s unlikely to have been a native of Ireland. He was kidnapped by pirates in his teens and taken to Ireland as a labourer before escaping.

He later returned to Ireland to help spread the Christian word to the population, and later became the second bishop of Ireland.

Image: Pixabay

Although we associate the annual celebrations with Ireland and particularly with Dublin, the first celebration of St Patrick’s Day was actually held in Boston, USA by Irish settlers in the mid 18th century.

Now, huge events and parades are held across the world to mark the occasion, including in Romania, Egypt, Rio de Janeiro, Russia, Lithuania, Italy, Tokyo, the UK and the USA as well as Ireland. In Chicago, the river is dyed green every year, a process that involves forty pounds of powdered vegetable dye.

Image: Pixabay

If you’d prefer to have your own Irish-themed party this year, here’s what to do:


Guinness, of course! The iconic Irish stout has been Ireland’s favourite beer since the mid-18th century, and on 17th March over 13 million pints are drunk across the world.

Alternatively, how about some Irish coffee to finish off dinner?

Per person, you’ll need two tablespoons of whipping cream, one tablespoon of sugar, 50ml Irish whiskey such as Jamesons and 200ml strong fresh black coffee.

This coffee has an attractive layered effect (in fact, it looks like a miniature pint of Guinness!) so it’s best served in clear, heatproof glasses rather than cups.

Heat the glasses beforehand by pouring hot water into them, then whip the cream until it thickens (don’t make it too solid, it should still be quite sloppy). Tip the hot water out of the glasses and pour in the whiskey.

Add the coffee and sugar and stir to mix everything up. Finally, pour the cream over the back of a spoon on the top of the coffee (this helps to distribute it into a floating layer), and serve.

We like:

This glass beer tankard, £6.95 from Rigby and Mac, is ideal for serving the perfect pint of Guinness.

Make short work of lots of bottles with this retro wall mounted bottle opener, £9.95 from Melody Maison.  The lower section will catch bottle caps so they don’t end up all over the kitchen.


Traditional Irish food, such as Irish stew, soda bread and champ, can be a little heavy. For a starter or light lunch, try this take on colcannon, a traditional dish of cabbage, bacon and potato. You could also make miniature versions to serve as canapes.

You’ll need: 500g of potatoes, 1/4 Savoy cabbage, 75g sliced back bacon, 1 egg, 75ml double cream, salt and pepper, 2 to 3 tablespoons flour, 75g butter and oil for frying.

Peel and slice the potatoes, and boil until tender. Meanwhile, finely slice the bacon and cabbage and fry them gently together in a little oil for five minutes. Take them off the heat and set aside.

Drain the potatoes and mash them with the butter and some seasoning. Leave until cool, then fold in the cabbage, bacon and egg. Dip your fingers in flour, and shape balls of the mixture, pressing them flat.

Fry the cakes in oil for 2 to 3 minutes each side until crisp and golden brown. If you’re not serving them immediately, keep them hot in the oven until required.

We like:

This Chartreuse green American Modern dinner plate, £28, by Russell Wright, ideal for serving miniature colcannon cakes as canapes. Available from Eclect Design.

Serve the cakes as a starter with a little salad on this lovely chunky craft terracotta plate in teal, £14.50 from Quince Living.

By Sara Walker

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