Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Holiday of Coolness, 2015

☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ Happy St. Patrick's Day! ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘

Liberties College, as seen from St. Patrick's Park, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

It's my absolute favorite holiday of the entire year! St. Patrick's Day, aka "The Holiday of Coolness!" We make a pretty big deal about St. Patrick’s Day at our house. Irish food, Irish music, Irish… everything. I love this holiday in large part because it celebrates a large part of our cultural heritage. I also love it because it happens to be my birthday. Wasn’t I lucky to be born on my favorite day?!

In keeping with Holiday of Coolness tradition, here are some fantastic Irish Things I Love...

I adore traditional Irish music (called simply “Trad” in Ireland). This tune, performed by the fabulous The High Kings is the same song the Irish in Hope Springs sang to welcome Katie in Longing for Home

I love, love, love Irish fiddle music. If you’ve read Longing for Home and Hope Springs, you likely suspected that already. Here is quite possibly the best Donegal fiddler ever recorded, John Doherty, playing “Stormy Weather,” a fiddle tune I listen to on a very regular basis...

As is tradition for my St. Patrick’s Day post, I’m offering a song by The Script, one of my favorite groups of all time. They hail from Dublin and it shows in their music, modern in every sense but with the inarguable influence of their Irish roots. This particular song, “Paint the Town Green” has been declared this year’s theme song at our house...

Looking for more great Irish music? Tune in to the live internet radio feed at liveireland.com and thank me later!

I have visited Ireland twice now, the most recent trip being not quite a year ago. On that trip we spent almost our entire holiday in Dublin, itself, exploring the city, absorbing the culture, embracing the vibe. Dublin is like a living entity. There’s a pulse to the city and an energy. We could easily have spent months there without seeing half of what it has to offer.

The dome of Four Courts is one of the most iconic pieces of the Dublin skyline, but it was completely destroyed in the 1922 civil war that followed the Irish War for Independence. It was restored afterward but in material different from the rest of the building. The guide on our tour said that the contrast serves as a reminder to all of Ireland of the divisiveness of that era in Irish history and the destruction caused by hatred.
Four Courts, Dublin.

I absolutely love the cathedrals in Dublin--and there are TONS. Christ Church and St. Patrick’s are probably my favorites.
The Lady Chapel, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
This was the view out the back window of our flat in Dublin. There’s history everywhere you look in this city.
Mother Redcaps Pub (built 1790)

We spent a leisurely afternoon just enjoying the gardens at Dublin Castle. There are so many quiet spots like this scattered throughout the otherwise busy metropolis. If I ever have the chance to make Dublin my home, I think this might be one of my favorite places to spend the day.
The gardens behind Dublin Castle.
Leaving Dublin was so, so hard. I fell deeply in love with the city. I often dream of going back. Some day!

The Food
Every year I post a recipe for a traditional Irish dish. This year it's Dublin Coddle, a hearty stew that has been served in homes and pubs alike for centuries.
Dublin Coddle (slow cooker recipe)
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 1 lb. Pork sausage
  • 4 C. chicken broth
  • 3 C. water
  • 5-6 large potatoes, washed and cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • ¼ C. chopped fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves

Brown the sausage, drain and set aside.
Cook the bacon. Crumble and set aside.
In the bacon grease, cook the onion and garlic until golden and fragrant. Scoop them out of the grease when done. Set aside.
Drop the onion, garlic, sausage, potatoes, and crumpled bacon into your slow cooker. Sprinkle with the thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Throw in the bay leaves.
Pour the broth and water over it all. Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours, until the potatoes are done.

Serves 6-8

Irish Blessings
I always close out my annual Holiday of Coolness post with this gem...

May those who love us, love us.
And for those who don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He can not turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we may know them by their limping.

Happy Holiday of Coolness, everyone!
(And, in case you're curious, here are links to the HofC posts from 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 & 2010)


Armstrongs said...

thank you for sharing! those pictures are gorgeous.

Scottie and Tasha said...

Love it!!!!

D Giles said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Happy 200th Anniversary to Philip and Sorrel!!!!!!! :) <3

D Giles said...

Okay, so this is Brandi Giles, a young teenage girl, not a man. I am on my dad's account. Wow, that probs looked creepy....

D Giles said...


welltrainedmom said...

Happy Birthday! Love your pictures and the music! And I've got the coddle cooking right now!

Kate said...

Happy birthday!!

Erin said...

Happy birthday, Sarah! It was so great to meet you and your husband at the Draper Library tea! Hope you have a fabulous day!

erinzachjj said...

Happy Birthday Sarah! You share a birthday with my amazing nephew. That makes this day even better!! Thanks for the pictures!! I love it.

Kira said...

That be the best blessing I've ever read.

Hannah said...

Happy birthday, Happy Holiday of Coolness, and Happy Anniversary to Philip and Sorrel. Wow, what a good day!

Also, I love, love, love The Script. So very much. "Paint the Town Green" is a fabulous pick-me-up song. My personal favorite is either "Science and Faith" or "This=Love."

The LaLa said...

Cannot wait to make our trip in October! Thanks for all your beautiful descriptions and photos.

Rebecca Lamoreaux said...

Great post! Happy Birthday! and I think I MUST try this recipe of which you speak!!

Liz said...

Hi Sarah. So I am new to your books (Love them!) and your blog. This post really peeked my interest as I have always enjoyed Celtic music but never really delved into "traditional" Irish music. I'm so glad you suggested it! It has been such a blast dancing around the house(How can you not?) with my kids to traditional and pop Irish tunes. Paint the Town Green has become a new favorite for us too. We are lucky enough to live near Chicago which hosts an Irish festival every year. I'm so excited to see some of the bands we are getting to know on the schedule. (The High Kings. Yea!) Thanks again for the suggestions and happy belated birthday!


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