Sunday 18 March 2018


St Patrick’s Day post

I bet you smile at this short Irish dancing clip:

It is called St Patrick’s Day, not Leprechaun’s day, or Green Beer day. That’s how I’m treating it here, getting back to the bloke himself.

Irish heritage runs through both sides of Acerule’s family. Some of both my and my husband’s ancestors came from County Clare in Ireland coincidentally. (We both have ancestors called Kathleen too.) Through my mother, I grew up with some of the food, the sayings, the faith, etc. We had a Celtic wedding, and incorporated some celtic music into our 10 year renewal of vows, which had a neo- medieval theme. Celtic homewares and items decorate parts of our home , such as this Irish drum, the Bodhrán, which has a full, rich, deep sound. I bought it and other instruments, in a music shop in Tamworth NSW, when we were engaged to be married. A history of the Bodhrán is at the end of this post.

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 We are having a meal today in the park, that nods to some traditional Irish foods, (with adaptations for an Aussie BBQ.)
Today’s foods are potato fritters, coleslaw, silverside and bacon. These contain some traditional Irish foods: spuds, corned beef and I read that bacon and cabbage are traditional on St Patrick’s day in Ireland. 

Hubby was trained during his Cook’s certificate to mix salad with his hands, it’s not my way ;p  It includes grated cabbage, carrot, apple, celery, onion.
Acerules has the green parsley used as an ingredient, and garnish.  Making coleslaw, Irish recipe is at the end of post:

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The eggs in the front of this photo are from our chickens. Making potato fritters, incorporating grated potato, onion, egg, flour; similar recipe at the end of this post. They are traditional to many cultures:

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Hubby had Guinness, made in Dublin. He hadn’t drunk it in years.

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Non alcoholic apple cider:

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Green in the Irish flag denotes the well rained on verdant countryside, but also the Catholic branch of the Christian religion there. Orange in the flag denotes the Protestant branch, Christian also. We incorporated both colours into the food and the table decorations. Green vases, coasters, candlesticks, Lladro Nao figurine, pottery goblets, and tablecloth, were all collected over the years secondhand. The pale green table runner embroidered in white, and the cloth napkins came from Target store years ago. The orange faux gerberas came from The Reject Shop today. The ivy was cut from our garden. 

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St Patrick, himself
St Patrick grew up in post-Roman Dark Ages Britain, on the West Coast, in a Christian family, but not especially religious, despite his uncle being a clergyman. This statuette today symbolises him as a young teen. 

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(You might think hey, Lladro is from Spain! That is true. However, the celts in County Clare are supposed to have migrated there in ancient times from Spain. )

Northern Ireland kids from St Patrick’s Junior Choir sing beautifully:

Patrick was kidnaped by Irish slave raiders, when he was 16, (Acerule’s age now), and was taken to Ireland to take care of the sheep of a druid. He was miserable, having descended from a life of relative wealth to hardship. 

As everything, in my experience , seems interconnected, it’s interesting that his feast day is celebrated in the Christian season of Lent. During lent we are supposed to strive for purification . As an act of will we cast off some of our luxuries and/or try to be better people. This helps us to get closer to what is really important and access our spiritual side. Many world religions recommend self- sacrifice as a purification method. Some humanists , too, reject commercialism in this modern age.

An old metal candlestick purchased in an antique store in Windsor NSW years ago, (a place we enjoyed going to , to church as it’s very historic.) Reduce, reuse, recycle is a good motto to follow:

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This process, however, happens to many against their will, through hardship, and as the years pass, they find that suffering can purify us. In Australia we call it “being brought down to earth”. That happened to me too, I wouldn’t say I’m more pure, but I do know God better, from having to rely on Him. That’s what happened to St Patrick. In my research I saw that he was left in charge of their estate by his parents at the time of his kidnapping. They probably had slaves too. It was a long way down for him to look after sheep in the paddock himself, but he really found God at that time. 

Think about it, out in the fields there is a lack of hustle and bustle to distract, isn’t there. With only the stars to look at at night, wrapped in your animal skin blanket (if you’re lucky) there is plenty of time and space for contemplation. I think it’s somewhat connected that King David of Old Testament times, was a shepherd as a boy, and it was shepherds that received the news first, that Jesus was born.

After six years, Patrick escaped and made his way back to England via France. He became a priest and then a bishop. 

“The Musical Priest” short reel with two others:

The “Lord is my Shepherd” prayer, which is taken from the bible, describes some of the protective , nurturing functions of a shepherd. Developing those, stood Patrick in good stead later as a missionary to the Irish, starting and building up church communities. Now this didn’t happen in a vacuum, he had staunch opposition from the existing religions and kings. He could be tortured and killed. It was dangerous for him to go back to Ireland where he had been a slave and his family were shocked when he told them he was going. So too, does the shepherd have to contend with wild animals and bad weather coming to kill his sheep. He has to develop courage. Patrick got his from God.

This is a spoken , shortened version of St Patrick’s Breastplate, a prayer for protection that tradition says he wrote:

St Patrick’s Breastplate is best known in my Catholic Church, as put to the music of Morning has Broken, originally known as“Bunessan” tune composed on a Scottish Island. It was indeed, the Irish that brought Christianity to Scotland. Here’s a short instrumental version :

I too have been in dangerous situations where I prayed hard to God for protection. For some reason  the one that comes to mind first today, took place in Sydney, Australia. We used to visit a large undercover shopping centre (mall ) when our  kids were young. The owners were renovating and extending the building. As a consequence there were plywood hoardings up, forming a kind of long wide tunnel to get to the front door. Ok in the daytime, but quite a few times I had to shop with the kids when the area was less busy at night etc. 

There was a large community of new arrivals to our country, refugees from Africa at that time. Many of the youths were very tall and /or big. They were not much trouble, compared , I read , to some of those in Melbourne. However, one day at dusk I had to go through the plywood hoardings to get in to do my supermarket shopping. I had the two young children with me. With his disability my son was quite outspoken, it was a multicultural area and I had numerous times had to correct his speech so that he did not say something loudly that might offend somebody. There was always the possibility that that could happen. 

We started to proceed into the tunnel but it was lined on both sides by a gauntlet of African youth very big and tall. It’s possible that they did not mean to be menacing but it certainly felt that way at the time. Being somewhat streetsmart I had the strap of my handbag diagonally across my body and clutched it tightly to the front of my torso.  What no one could see was I was praying feverishly in my head to God for protection, as the male youths stared silently at myself and the kids. There was no one else around. I got through there with a sigh of relief. Later in the renovations , the owner hired permanent security guards there, it had been made a mini town square, and a few fights between different large groups of youths had made security a necessity. That evening there was just God there for us. 

One thing I like about Patrick is he left us some really self deprecating quotes. (That’s an Aussie preference, we like a humble bloke.) Even though he became a Bishop years after his escape, and was a really powerful person with God’s help, (no saint can perform miracles by themselves, they are just an instrument), he was aware that he was a sinner like  us, and confessed his past sins, which got him into hot water with his superiors.

He was also a realist. He adapted the existing Celtic culture, to Christian culture, starting with learning the Gaelic language, that previously he had looked down upon. A Celtic circle symbol at his hands became the Celtic cross as we know it today. This one below, was at our wedding , next to the Wedding cake. I purchased it at the Queen Victoria Building Sydney at the Irish shop there, along with a green Irish shawl for my bridesmaid, and a white embroidered shamrock handkerchief, both made from Irish linen.

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This girl below is two in one. (She looks like twins). Almost a trinity, but not quite.  Tradition has it that St Patrick explained the three-in-one nature of the Trinity to the Irish High King and his men, using a clover leaf, or shamrock. The trinity denotes God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit. Lovely harp and violin playing of a hymn popular in Ireland:

Two clips you have to see together, Ed Sheehan’s Galway Girl, and his Galway dancers

Two comments from under that last clip:

rod Kackarot- 
“ban them they're​ damaging the road.”

Khan Lackno-
“It's me when i see a cockroach on the floor.”

A good history and Irish text of St Patrick’s Breastplate :

History of the Bodhrán drum:

Potato fritters recipe, similar to ours:

Here is a recipe for Irish coleslaw, we didn’t follow the recipe exactly as we used bought coleslaw dressing:

Where you can get the Lladro Nao young monk figurine with dog
In Britain:

In Australia:

Or Google, and Lladro stores are there.

Happy St Patrick’s Day.


Badger said...

Deep below the earth lurks a creature who is shy and not often seen, but now and then it pokes it's nose out to what is happening out there in the big wide world,, who is this creature, well it's BADGER of course, just when you thought he had been culled, he springs back.
Well I have a bit of a shock for you all, but more of that later, first of all can I say a happy St Patricks day to everybody and a big thank you to "running on empty" for all the above comments and uploads, I am happy that people the other side of the world celebrate our culture here in Ireland.
I went to Galway yesterday for our celebrations, its about an hours travel, no problem there then, until we got to the town, then it took another hour to find a parking space,, it was packed solid, we ended up parking on a central reservation and took another half an hour to walk back to town, Galway is a lovely happy student town and they know how to have fun and with very little trouble,, it is also a multi-cultural town with people from every country around the world, again many students studying here.
We walked the whole length of the town following the parade with bands playing a variety of music, street musicians and performances, the atmosphere was incredible it was a very cold day -3 but everybody wrapped up and was having a great time, by this time I was ready for coffee so there I was in a queue waiting my turn when a girl turned round and asked if my accent was Irish,, Naa said I, and explained that I had Irish roots ( oops, not quite right any more ) and that I was a cockney from London, she was so excited,, it turns out she was from Sydney and had come over to get some of our culture and attend Paddies day.
Every place that sold food was full so I eventually went to the outskirts of town and had a good traditional I Irish meal of bacon and cabbage, with a pint of the black stuff, looking out over Galway bay and the Atlantic ocean.
I will try and download a performance I saw on the street for your pleasure.

Badger said...

NOW for the bad new's
I recently drove to France, through England and covered 2500 miles, I went to see my sister who lives in Normandy for a week then to the South of France to see my sister-in-law down in the Charente, snow everywhere, which is highly unusual, but it did not stop me getting around, looking at the possibility of moving to one of the areas I visited, I was away for a month, so on the way back home I stayed with a good friend in England, and we done some research into my family history, well as a kid my mum has always told me that our roots are from Ireland and that my Grandfather came to England as a small boy with his parents ( my Great Grandfather ) at the end of the great famine of Ireland, and settled and worked in England as Farmers,,, well that bit was true anyway, but it turns out having found every relative back to 1841 census, none were IRISH, they were all born and lived in Essex in England,,,,, WHAT A BUMMER, ahh well not much I can do about it, so I will just have to lean on my cockney side,,, so that make me ANGLO SAXON,, lots more research, but it will be more difficult as the 1841 census was the first one and so my search will be in the many church records of the area.
So now for the video I took with the phone,, hope it comes out o.k. bye for now.

Badger said...

Rina said...

Thank you for a long session of delight on this Sunday morning. Such music! Never mind, Badger, same thing happened to a friend of mine who was told she had an Irish grandfather (I think it was) and found out he wasn't and she didn't. But I believe everyone has a tiny shamrock tucked into their heart.

Pam Richardson said...

I so enjoyed reading your post. We made a trip to Ireland a few years ago and it was fabulous! Thank you for all your info. I love the song Be Thou My Vision!

Anonymous said...

Hi Cath, That was fun & sweet little girl. Love your table & prep work. Beautiful yard. A shout out to Badger! Xo, NA

Running on empty said...

Thankyou everyone who commented, I really enjoyed and appreciate them!