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.
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:
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:
Hubby had Guinness, made in Dublin. He hadn’t drunk it in years.
Non alcoholic apple cider:
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.
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.
(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:
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.
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:
“ban them they're damaging the road.”
“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
Or Google, and Lladro stores are there.
Happy St Patrick’s Day.