Spirited St. Patrick's Day Hits

by Cindi SutterChief Communicator & Editor of Spirited Table®

Instead of spiritedly imagining some random version of who St. Patrick really was, I decided to hunt for some four leaf clover treasures on the internet. Straight from The Old Farmer’s Almanac…+ some not to be missed “GREEN” treasures from the past by Yours Truly…Cindi's St. Patrick's Day Favorites + NOT TO BE MISSED Irish Recipes Below!!

WHO WAS SAINT PATRICK?

St. Patrick was patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with successfully bringing Christianity to Ireland. March 17 is widely accepted as the date of St. Patrick’s death in A.D. 461.

St. Patrick was born in Britain as Maewyn Succat. At age 16 (around A.D. 400), he was kidnapped from his home on the west coast and carried off to Ireland to become a slave who worked as a shepherd. After six years, he escaped; upon returning home, he received his call (in a dream) to preach the Gospel. He spent the next 15 or so years in a monastery, preparing for his missionary work. When he became a priest, his name was changed to Patricius, and eventually, Patrick. Although some Christians lived in Ireland at the time, it was Patrick who spread Christianity throughout the land and brought an organized church into existence.

A stained glass recreation of St. Patrick holding a shamrock, found in Junction City, Ohio. Photo by Nheyob/Wikimedia Commons.

A stained glass recreation of St. Patrick holding a shamrock, found in Junction City, Ohio. Photo by Nheyob/Wikimedia Commons.

THE SHAMROCK

We wear a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day because, legend says, St. Patrick used its three leaves to explain the Holy Trinity. (The Trinity is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit as three divine persons who are one divine being [God].) The truth of the St. Patrick legend, however, is in question, as there is no direct record that the saint actually used the shamrock as a teaching tool.

Note: The symbol of St. Patrick is a three-leaf shamrock, not a four-leaf clover. However, long before the shamrock became associated with St. Patrick’s Day, the four-leaf clover was regarded by ancient Celts as a charm against evil spirits. In the early 1900s, O. H. Benson, an Iowa school superintendent, came up with the idea of using a clover as the emblem for a newly founded agricultural club for children in his area. In 1911, the four-leaf clover was chosen as the emblem for the national club program, later named 4-H.

ST. PATRICK’S DAY FACTS, FUN, AND FOLKLORE

  • Blue was the color originally associated with St. Patrick, but green is now favored.

  • The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the American colonies was held in New York City on this day in 1762.

  • St. Patrick’s Day is the traditional day for planting peas, even in the snow! See our fun video on how to plant peas.

  • Cabbage seeds are often planted today, too, and old-time farmers believed that to make them grow well, you needed to plant them while wearing your nightclothes! See our Cabbage Growing Guide. No PJs required!

On St. Patrick’s Day, the warm side of a stone turns up, and the broad-back goose begins to lay.

ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPES

Would you like to cook something special for St. Patrick’s Day? You don’t need the luck of the Irish! Check out our list of ST. PATRICK’S DAY FACTS, FUN, AND FOLKLORE for corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and more ideas beyond green milk and beer!

Many of these recipes contributed by readers were passed down across many generations. We have more versions of Irish Soda Bread than we could count, so if you don’t like the recipe we listed below, search our recipe database for more!

IRISH BREADS & BAKED GOODS

Irish Oatmeal Scones
Lovely scones with oats and currants. Great for a St. Paddy’s Day breakfast!

Irish Soda Bread
This Irish Soda Bread recipe uses baking soda and baking powder to create a lighter, scone-like loaf.

Irish Tea Barmbrack 
A traditional recipe (from Dublin, Ireland) for making a delicious Irish barmbrack loaf—and using up leftover tea!

IRISH DINNER RECIPES

Corned Beef and Cabbage  
Not much beats corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Enjoy this classic recipe!

Photo credit: Catherine Boeckmann

Photo credit: Catherine Boeckmann

Pot Roast, Irish-Style 
A classic pot roast with potatoes and carrots.

Corned Beef Brisket With Spring Vegetables 
An alternative corned beef recipe for you to try.

Irish Beef Stew 
This hearty Irish Beef Stew is rich, flavorful, and comforting. The secret weapon? A cup of Guinness stout adds a deeper, more complex flavor.

Irish Beef Stew. Photo Credit: Sumner’s Graphics Inc./Getty Images

Irish Beef Stew. Photo Credit: Sumner’s Graphics Inc./Getty Images

Irish Lamb Stew 
Mint jelly and hot biscuits are a must with this traditional dish.

Braised Lamb Shanks 
A solid recipe for making tender, tasty lamb. 

Lazy Man’s Beef Stew 
Beef stew is comfort food at its finest. When it’s paired with crusty bread, a hearty meal in born!

Lazy Man’s Beef Stew. Photo Credit: Catherine Boeckmann

Lazy Man’s Beef Stew. Photo Credit: Catherine Boeckmann

IRISH-STYLE POTATOES

Irish Potato Pie 
This recipe, with slight adjustments, was brought over from Ireland “on the boat” by the cook’s great-great-aunt in the 1880s.

Irish Potato Biscuits 
A different sort of biscuit that’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day and goes well with a corned beef or meat stew.

Bella Cullen’s Colcannon 
Colcannon is an Irish dish that traditionally pairs mashed potatoes with cabbage. Here, we substitute cabbage with kale for a modern twist (but feel free to stick with cabbage, if you prefer). It’s a great companion for corned beef and Irish soda bread. 

Auntie Ei’s Guaranteed Smashed Potatoes
Auntie Ei has managed to improve upon the foolproof Irish whipped potatoes with this creamy, artery-clogging version. Eat at your own risk!

ST. PATRICK’S DAY DESSERTS

Bake up some Irish-themed treats for a sweet ending to St. Patrick’s Day!

Luck of the Irish Peppermint Brownies 
Give this almost-too-pretty-to-eat brownie recipe a try. Not a fan of peppermint? Just omit the mint extract!

Peppermint Brownies. Photo by Letterberry/Getty Images

Peppermint Brownies. Photo by Letterberry/Getty Images

Darby Cream Pie 
An eggnog-flavored chiffon pie with chocolate-whipped-cream topping. “Rich” doesn’t even come close to describing it. Two layers give the pie an elegant appearance.

Olive’s Shortbread 
This sinfully rich and buttery shortbread from an Irish cook. It’s rather thicker than some but still beautifully baked through.

IRISH BREAKFAST IDEAS

Corned Beef Hash With Poached Egg
Fantastic the morning after St. Patrick’s Day if you have leftover corned beef!

Murphy’s Irish Toast
This variation on French toast is made unique by the addition of Irish Cream Liquor.