We had a lot of fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year. Unlike last year, Danny was excited to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and wasn’t so concerned about when we would celebrate St. Danny’s Day.
As we’ve done for the past three years, we had a big party at our house featuring corned beef from America, and many homemade favorites including shepherds pie, fudge and crème de menthe cupcakes, roasted carrots, steamed cabbage, roasted potatoes, and Irish soda bread.
In the weeks leading up to the party, I made and froze three batches of Irish soda bread, three batches of mini cupcakes, and two huge vats of shepherds pie.
On St. Patrick’s Day, I started to cook 20 pounds of corned beef early in the morning in five crock pots.
That morning Brian and I visited Patrick’s school to talk to the three kindergarten classes about St. Patrick’s Day, why it’s important, and how we celebrate it. The day before the kids had learned St. Patrick had been kidnapped by pirates so they were eager to learn more. Unbeknownst to us, Patrick had also shared with his class a story Brian made up a year or two ago about the time he almost caught a leprechaun. The kids practically begged Brian to tell them every detail of his leprechaun encounter. Just as he did when he first invented the story, he told the kids a captivating tale. They loved it. We also read the kindergarteners a book about St. Patrick, talked about how people celebrate the day in Chicago, food people eat on the day, what shamrocks are, and what Ireland is like. The kids were interested to hear that Paraguay and Ireland both share the harp as national instrument.
Clever Patrick told his Paraguayan classmates that in the United States it is tradition to give gifts to children named Patrick on St. Patrick’s Day. Thankfully Patrick’s teacher caught wind of this and corrected Patrick’s proclamation. Although he didn’t get any gifts, he was thrilled to find that a leprechaun had decorated his cubbyhole overnight. In one of the cutest moments of the visit, a little girl stood up in front of the class and told the kids that she had a secret to share with them, a secret they couldn’t share with anyone, even their best friend. Just to make sure her message was clear, she asked Patrick to translate it into Spanish. Convinced all would keep her secret, she leaned in and softly said, “My grandma went to Ireland once and I’m part leprechaun!” The adults laughed and the kids were intrigued.
That afternoon there was an amazing and unusual rainbow in the sky. It looked more like a patch than the typical arch.
After work, I hurried home to get the last prep done, including cutting the meat and returning it to the crockpots to stay warm leave until it was time to serve.
Maria and Mercedes got the decorations and the tables all organized.
Brian grilled up some sausages while Kev kicked a ball around the yard.
We snapped a few family pictures as our guests arrived.
Our party featured two specialty beers brewed by a friend just for the party. He and his wife made an Irish stout (like a Guinness) and a red ale (like Kilkenny). The beers were hugely popular and very delicious. Friends also brought over a little Jameson and Bailey’s. With the drinks flowing, Irish music playing, and 50 friends gathered, there were lots of good times!
The next day, all we had left was a big bowl of cabbage and some corned beef I had set aside. Maria took the cabbage home to feed her hog (along with the food that had been left on any plates at the end of the night). There was just enough corned beef left for me and Brian to each have a sandwich.
We enjoyed our sandwiches while Patrick and Danny serenaded us with “Danny Boy.”
Even though Marquette lost and was eliminated from the NCAA tournament, we had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day and really enjoyed our celebration.