Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Your Way

Parades, pubs and partying have marked St. Patrick’s Day around the world for many years, but with so many people in Ireland and North America becoming more and more health conscious as well as budget conscious, the lure of a night out overindulging has lost its appeal for many. But that does not mean anyone has become resigned to just calling it a day after the parade. When you move the party to your home, you can celebrate your way. Maybe it’s a few pints with friends and no lines for the bar or the restroom, or maybe it’s an Irish dinner and music with your nearest and dearest. Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to be invited to someone else’s home for the evening, in which case you might want to consider Irish gifts for the host. If you are the happy host, here are a few ideas.
* Cead Mile Failte! That’s kayed (like okayed without the o), millah, fall-cha, and it means a hundred thousand welcomes. Set the scene for your guests from the moment they arrive by greeting them with these words, and by decorating for the day. Worried about them finding your house? Hang an Irish flag or a personalized coat of arms windsock outside. (If you are a guest, those windsocks make brilliant Irish gifts for your host.) And be sure to have some traditional Irish music playing too.
* Music merits a closer look because it is an essential part of any Irish event. Anyone who has stayed at an Irish pub long enough, especially outside of the cities, has more likely than not heard a good session. (And if you didn’t… you didn’t really stay long enough!) If you have a few musicians in your midst, invite them to bring instruments, preferably a guitar, fiddle, tin whistle and bodhran. And anyone can sing along!
* Food is essential. If you are having a dinner party, forget the corned beef and cabbage and delve deeper into Irish cuisine. Lamb or salmon are both very popular spring entrees. And if you have been seeing a million and one things online telling you to eat kale, the traditional dish colcannon is a great way. To keep it simple, you make nice, buttery mashed potatoes and stir in steamed kale. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and chives. If you are going for more of an afternoon, post-parade tea, some sandwiches and a light fruitcake would be perfect along with some biscuits (aka cookies). A very Irish simple snack to go with a few pints at home would be salmon on brown bread.
Presentation matters! This is the perfect time to dust off any tea sets or mugs you have with Irish designs. Anything from the grand elegance of Belleek to the contemporary Celtic look of coffee mugs will set the right mood, especially when set out on a lovely Irish linen or lace table cloth.
Like with any kind of event, what will make your St. Patrick’s Day party special is the attention to detail. Go beyond a few green streamers with the right menu served with tableware that looks like home. Hospitality is one of the Irish gifts that visitors to the country rave about – and you can create that sense of cead mile failte at home too.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!