As I had my mother in law staying with us from Ireland and the kids were also here, it felt only right to cook Ireland on St Patrick’s Day!
So, The Emerald Isle, my husband’s homeland .. the pressure’s on!!
I’ve been to Ireland several times and have had the pleasure of visiting Cork, Dublin and Galway. All very different and yet delightful in their own unique way. Beautiful beaches and sea views in Cork, great food, shopping and bars in Dublin and stunning scenery in Galway.
The land of potatoes, guinness, shamrocks and leprechauns has a very long and interesting history. The first people arrived in Ireland in around 7000 BC and lived by farming and fishing.
In 432 a man named Patrick arrived in Ireland from Western England. He had been captured by Irish pirates, brought to Ireland as a slave and was forced to work as a herdsman. He managed to escape back to England but had a vision in which he read a letter asking him to come to Ireland, so he returned to become a missionary and the first bishop of Ireland. He is said to have died on 17th March 461.
The Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. The famine was caused by potato blight. One third of the population was dependent on the potato for a range of ethnic, religious, political, social and economic reasons and therefore impacted Ireland significantly. During the famine, approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland causing the island’s population to fall by between 20% and 25%.
A few quick facts:
Ireland’s top tourist attraction is the Guinness storehouse in Dublin, where over 1 million people visit every year.
In 2010, Dublin was designated UNESCO City of Literature, one of only four in the world (the others are Edinburgh, Iowa and Melbourne).
James Hoban, designer of The White House was Irish.
Rotunda Hospital in Dublin is the longest continually operating maternity hospital in the world.
The Titanic made it’s last port of call in Cobh (then called Queenstown) on 11th Feb, 1912.
When it comes to Irish food, there was a lot to choose from. A few years ago, my mother in law had given me an Irish recipe book which came in very handy! Some obvious options I considered were Irish stew, Colcannon and a full Irish breakfast! However, I opted for Scallop pie and Soda bread. Thankfully both went down extremely well.
Recipe for Scallop pie:
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 45 minutes
Recipe for Soda bread:
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes (longer than the recipe states)