‘Behave! The faeries are watching you!’Irish legend states that if a child has been bad or has misbehaved then a parent or grand-parent will chastise them by telling them if they are not good then the faeries or the Sidhe (pronounced shee) will come and spirit them away and leave a changeling in their place. Irish folklore is also full of fanciful tales of Leprechauns. Many stories exist of how when a Leprechaun is caught they have to grant three wishes or part with their much cherished pot of gold. However, you must beware and use the wishes wisely. A Leprechaun does not like to part with either his gold or his wishes and will try his wily best to trick you!
The Irish whiskey cake is not only a delicious treat but it is also the traditional cake for Irish weddings. It is the custom to freeze the top layer/tier of a wedding cake to save and eat it at the one year anniversary. However, in the UK it is also a popular tradition to keep the top tier to celebrate the Christening of the couple’s first child. If the top tier is a fruit cake with a generous soaking of spirits, the cake will be well preserved and will not need freezing – it can just be stored in a cool, dry location.
Glazed Whiskey Cake
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup Irish Whiskey
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 stick butter
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 to 1 cup Irish Whiskey (to your taste)
Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining cake ingredients in order given, and mix well. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool; invert onto plate. Prick holes in cake. Prepare glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Add water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in whiskey. Drizzle glaze over top and sides, allowing it to be absorbed into cake. Continue until all glaze is used. Cake should set at least one day before serving.
One of my all time favorite entertainers, the late, great Eddie Rabbitt wrote the beautiful "Song of Ireland". Eddie's parents were Irish immigrants who originally settled in New York and later moved to New Jersey. The Irish spelling of the family name is "Rabbitte", a name common to Galway and County Clare, Ireland. Eddie's father, Thomas, can be heard playing the fiddle on the recording of "Song of Ireland".
"I remember daddy playing on the violin, jigs and reels that he brought from Ireland. And I'm the first born in America, my friend. I have never been there but someday I'll take a trip. I'll cross the ocean on a big long silver ship.Hear them sing those songs I learned from Mama's knee; I just close my eyes and I can almost see, those shamrock hills and those forty shades of green. And the roots that tie me to a land I've never known...are calling me home, are calling me home. Sun shines through my window here in Tennessee. God sure made this a pretty place to be.But sometimes it just don't feel like home to me.So I close my eyes and I can almost see those shamrock hills and those forty shades of green.And the roots that tie me to a land I've never known are calling me home. Are calling me home. Are calling me home."
The romance and beauty of the Emerald Isle are great food for thought and imaginative wanderings. As you sip your Irish Coffee, or your beverage of choice, you may feel poetic and long to give your thoughts voice. Here are some great Irish toasts to keep you in the spirit:
May the roof above you never fall in,And those gathered beneath it never fall out.
Here's to health, peace and prosperity. May the flower of love never be nipped by the frost of disappointment, nor shadow of grief fall among your family and friends.
May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.
May you live to be 100 years, with one extra year to repent.
May the good Lord take a liking to you...But not too soon!
May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.
There are good ships,and there are wood ships,The ships that sail the sea.But the best ships, are friendships,And may they always be.
Saint Patrick was a gentleman,Who through strategy and stealth,Drove all the snakes from Ireland,Here’s a toasting to his health.But not too many toastingsLest you lose yourself and thenForget the good Saint PatrickAnd see all those snakes again.
'Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!' Happy St. Patrick's Day!