Traditional Irish food is the best comfort food in the world. If you didn't think the same thing you wouldn't be on this page now.
Before I go on if you are interested in Irish food you really need to have a look at the Food Ireland website. I promise you'll feel like a kid in a candy shop. You won't know what to try first.
OK, on with my page now.
Irish food recipes are definitely made for comfort. As I write this it's a cold, blustery January day in Upstate New York. (single digit temps, BRRRRR) People in the warmer climates just don't understand the true value of comfort food in the middle of winter. Coming from a cool climate the Irish excel in this area.
Now picture yourself at my place. I'm the cook. (I'm an excellent cook. My wife said I could say that.) It's January. It's cold outside. Inside is a hot oven. The warm smell of Irish soda bread is floating through the house. Mixed in with the smell of baking bread is the smell of seared meat for the Irish stew coming from the stove. It seems like hours before all is ready. This is torture you're starving. You're mouth has been watering all afternoon. The sights, the sounds, the smells, you can't wait until dinner time. Although the afternoon Irish tea should tide you over for a bit. Also if you ate a traditional Irish breakfast in the morning that should hold you until dinner.
Finally, the moment has arrived. It's time to eat. Butter is melting on thick crusty slices of warm bread. You dip your bread in the thick gravy of the stew. CAREFUL it's very hot. The brown gravy. The brown tender meat. Soft white creamy potatoes. Tender orange carrots. The taste and warmth in the first bite. AHHHH, heaven. All too soon the bowl is empty. The slice of bread is gone.
But wait, you're not finished yet. There's more to traditional Irish food than the main course. The Irish dessert is next. The aroma of apple with a hint cinnamon rises up from the warm Irish Apple Cake. Served with a little whipped cream. The flavors blend perfectly in your mouth. After the last sweet bite, you push back from the table thoroughly satisfied with a warm feeling of comfort.
Next you curl up in a nice warm overstuffed easy chair. You cup your hands around a hot mug of Irish coffee to complete the feeling of warmth. You look out the window to see snow drifting across the sidewalk. But you don't mind. Right now you're feeling nice and warm and cozy. It doesn't get any better than this on a cold January day. Ah, the comfort of traditional Irish food. Looks like naptime to me. Don't worry; I'll shovel the sidewalk later.
After your nap, maybe you even have enough room left for just one of the Irish cookies my wife baked. (I'm just the cook. My wife is the baker of the family.) OK, OK I'll stop here.
More traditional Irish food includes an Irish cream recipe. Don't forget the holidays. I have some Irish Christmas recipes. Saint Patrick's Day recipes include the Irish-American corned beef and cabbage. I have to include corned beef. It's part of my history.
If you were any more comfortable you'd be asleep. Enjoy the recipes.
Don't forget to have a look at the Food Ireland website. They have such a hugh selection of traditional Irish food you won't know what to try first.
I know this is hard to believe, but there are other cultures out there beside the Irish. See I told you it was hard to believe. If you are interested in recipes from other cultures check out Recipe For Travel. It's a food companion for travel lovers, and travel companion for food lovers, with articles, anecdotes, recipes and trip planning tips for round-the-world adventures in food and travel. Who doesn't like to try out new recipes. Have fun and good eats.
Irish musical instruments are what give Irish music that traditional Celtic sound. Some of these instruments, like the fiddle , weren't invented by the Irish, but they sure have made them their own.
I bet three tunes come to mind quickly for you and most Americans when they think of Irish music. "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" is an Irish-American tune written in 1912 by Chauncey Olcett and George Graff, Jr. music by Ernest Ball. This tune is usually sung as a group in a bar or pub on St. Patrick's Day.
"Danny Boy" is another tune that most Americans are very familiar with. Frederick Weatherly wrote the lyrics to fit the Irish tune of "Londonderry Air" in 1910. This song is usually heard sung by a perfect male tenor voice.
The last tune that is probably the most familiar to you, but you may not know it by name, is "The Irish Washerwoman". This is a good tune, if not a little worn and tired because it's played so much. It's heard every March around St. Patrick's Day on television and radio commercials usually advertising new furniture or car sales or some such sale. It's usually played on a fiddle or sometimes a tin whistle or even a flute. The video below is an example of "The Irish Washerwoman" played by John Sheahan of The Dubliners and classical violinist Andre Rieu. As soon as you play it I'm sure you'll recognize the tune.
The tunes above were very familiar to me when I was young. It wasn't until about the late 1980's or early 1990's that I heard real traditional Celtic music. The Irish musical instruments in these tunes were something I never really paid attention to before. The mournful, melancholy sound of Uilleann bagpipes and the sometimes-happy sometimes-sad sound of the fiddle or tin whistle , I can say, is the first music I really felt. The female Celtic voice singing in Gaelic I can honestly say was the first music to really touch deep into my soul. It felt like finally coming home after a long absence, even though I couldn't understand the lyrics. That's the best way I can explain it. If you've had the same feeling about any type of music at all, you know what I mean.
I like the haunting, ethereal sound of the Celtic harp , which is also the national symbol of Ireland. This very Irish musical instrument fell out of favor for years, but it is making a comeback.
The bodhran , a type of drum, gives Irish music that energetic Celtic tribal beat.
I hope you love Celtic music as much as I do. If you do, follow along in this section of the website. I will have some more videos demonstrating the use of Irish musical instruments. I dare you to listen and try not tapping your feet. I double dare you.
If you're interested in free downloads of Irish music you really need to take a look at Marc Gunn's website of Celtic MP3s. There you'll find "Celtic MP3s Music Magazine" a free monthly Celtic music magazine featuring free music downloads of Celtic, Scottish and Irish music by independent Celtic artists from around the world. Be sure to listen to his welcome message at the top right of the page.
I'll leave you with another video of a fine example of Celtic music. This is a live performance by Altan one of my favoite Celtic bands. They are from County Donegal. The song is "Dulaman" it's a childrens tune about seaweed. It was once gathered and sold as fertilizer in the market. The chorus was sung by the sellers at the market. See the table below for the translation of the chorus. The lyrics are sung in Gaelic.
Dulaman na Binne Bui
Dulaman na farraige
's e b'fhearr a bhi in Eirinn Seaweed from the yellow cliff
Handfasting is an old Irish ceremony of commitment. The ceremony formalized a relationship, whether an engagement, a permanent marriage, or a marriage over several lifetimes. This Celtic ceremony of unity represents the intention of a man and a woman to make their lives together and ideally to love and cherish one another.
The Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasaon, on August 1st, was greatly anticipated, not only because of gratitude for the harvest, but because by the end of it, many couples had formed, were handfasted, and went off for a year of marriage. They would renew their vows the following year, a year-and-a-day later.
Handfasting goes back to ancient times in Ireland, as do the Irish Brehon laws, which are the oldest, most original and most extensive of medieval European legal systems. When marriages were not always what we today think of as traditional, it was practiced even in Christian Ireland. There were not always priests around to perform the wedding ceremony and it was not even a requirement that the marriage be witnessed for it to be legally binding once the couple had performed the ceremony.
In handfasting, the wrists of the couple are bound together with a ribbon or cord. Each party holds the hands of the other, right hand to right hand, left hand to left, their wrists crossed. The ribbon is wound around the wrists, over the top of one and under and around the other, creating the infinity symbol. It is said that this practice is the origin of the term tying the knot . The vows were spoken and the celebration commenced.
Under Brehon law, there was an understanding that marriages didn't always work out, and incompatible couples neednt stay together, but the care of children, division of property, and inheritances were serious matters, and provisions were made under these sophisticated laws. Today, the laws of the Catholic Church, however, do not go for this ideology.
In a Celtic ceremony, everything has meaning, including the music, the flowers, the braids in the bride's hair, the rings and even the use of evergreen garland around the doorways.
Here are some interesting ancient Irish wedding traditions.
The grooms proposal may not be Will you marry me?, but something more like Would you like to be buried with my people? or Would you like to hang your washing next to mine?.
The bride would follow ancient Irish traditions of her own, which mostly consisted of things to avoid bad luck.
The Traditional Irish Wedding
by Bridget Haggerty
It's good luck if it rains on your wedding. That's true, but in Ireland, it would be a rare day when a little rain didnt fall. A man should be the first to congratulate the bride because it is bad luck if a woman gets there first. It's good luck to rise to the song of birds on your wedding day. Its bad luck to put on your own veil; have a well-married woman do the honors. A bride who can sing well is expected to sing at the wedding. An Irish bride uses a different road home than she took to the church. This may have been started to discourage merrymakers attempts on delaying the honeymoon, but it is also a symbol of her new life that begins with her marriage. Your wedding earrings will always bring you luck when you wear them. Many Irish brides prefer wildflower wreaths over elaborate veils and carry wildflower bouquets of which lavender is a favorite. An Irish bride would braid her hair. Braiding of all kinds is traditional, including braided trim on clothes, braided hair or braided wreaths. I have never heard the last part of this custom: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and an Irish penny for her shoe.
The wedding celebration was generally celebrated at the home of the bride and the wedding party would always take the longest road home from the church.
The wedding guests gather around the bride and groom, with their glasses filled with mead (or champagne), and the newly wedded couple recites an Irish toast: Friends and relatives, so fond and dear, tis our greatest pleasure to have you here. When many years this day has passed, fondest memories will always last. So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask God's blessing in your hour of need. The guests respond: On this special day, our wish to you, the goodness of the old, the best of the new. God bless you both who drink this mead, may it always fill your every need.
The traditional Irish wedding cake is often a rich fruitcake, iced in white, though other cakes are also used. The top tier of the wedding cake should be an Irish whiskey cake, which is saved for the christening of the first baby. A slice of the cake is saved to be eaten on the first anniversary. The Irish wedding cake may sound difficult; however, it is deceptively easy but time consuming. I will be making one of these cakes in the upcoming months, and I will follow the recipe I found to the letter.
Claddagh Toasting Flutes with Gold Band
The Irish translation for honeymoon is mi na meala, or the month of honey. An old Irish custom was for the newlyweds to spend a month together drinking honey wine and, at the end of the month, the bride was usually expecting. Honey wine, known as mead, was consumed at weddings because it was thought that it promoted virility. And, of course, the toast Sláinte, pronounced SLAWN-cha, means Cheers or To good health.
Some of the traditional gifts at Irish weddings are bells (to remind the couple of their wedding vows), salt & pepper shakers, and toasting flutes because they are considered lucky. Some of the must have gifts are Waterford Crystal and some Belleek Parian China. It is inconceivable to start out married life without them and also a bit of Irish lace, along with some fine linen tablecloths. All of these things represent solid commitments.
Many of the ancient Irish wedding customs are still followed in modern Ireland. Tradition is very important to the Irish and will undoubtedly be for many generations to come.
One last thing i promis, if you have a ebay ccount and just type in the search bar irish wedding or irish wedding decoraqtions there is ALOT of stuff that comes up for you. i hope this helps you out or gives you a jump start on thins!
Wow Steeler, lots of great information, thank you! you made hungry after reading all about the Irish food, which I love. My Fiance is back in Ireland right now so I do miss the Irish breakfast!! He is not only a very talented musician, he's also a Chef. I'm definitly well taken care of in the food department but I will for sure check out the sites you mentioned....
Tammy & Mark Toung ·
Congratulations!! I went to a wedding in Donegal, Ireland a few years ago and it was a lot of fun.
Sorry I wont be able to answer any of the legal advice, but I do remember my Irish friends said it's common there to not do open bar because it would cost too much.
Ashley Williams ·
What a great place for a wedding, I have family out there that would be more than happy to give you the run down on weddings.
Please let me know if you would like me to contact them!
We're planning our wedding in Ireland too (I'm from there) and I've just started researching. It seems there are certain regulations such as being in the country for 15 days before the wedding and applying for a wedding licence at least 3 months in advance.
Check out www.groireland.ie (it's the registrar's office)
www.venuesearch.ie (for other links than venues)
(or just browse in www.ireland-guide.com , I have friends who swear by it!)
Also, Aer Lingus offers a group rate at 10% off, if you have 10 or more people travelling together to Ireland!
I've also heard about having a cash bar after the meal and champagne toast, as everyone loves to drink and don't mind having to pay.
Also, most irish weddings I've been to went on till at least 3 in the morning, and then an after hours few drinks in the residents lounge of the hotel that most people are staying at. ..... but you probably already know this!!
Good luck with the planning!
Eileen Civera ·
You definately need a wedding coordinator. They will be able to advise you on the legalities and coordinate all the arrangements for you. I have a supplier that specializes in Weddings in Ireland, Scotland, Italy and Greece. Some of their venues are in a Castle. Let me know if I can help you. *******@******************.***
Hi there. I am planning a destination wedding in Ireland for April 2010. I just started a blog to that talks about my process since I couldn't find a central place with information! Here is a link: http://destinationweddingireland.blogspot.com/
Hope it's helpful. My fiance and I are going to Ireland next week to check out some venues. Here is our shortlist: Clontarf Castle, just outside Dublin; Rosleague Manor, County Galway; Gregans Castle, County Clare; Aghadoe Heights, Killarney; and Sneem Hotel, County Kerry.
William and Margaret Sneddon ·
Congratulations. How wonderful! There are a number of links to Celtic wedding services both in the US and UK on our web-site. Please come and take a look at www.sneddonandsneddon.com.