What is your favorite St. Patrick’s Day meal? Let us guess, corned beef and cabbage washed down with a pint of green beer? If you answered yes, you are in the group of people that celebrate Paddy’s Day a bit different than the Irish themselves.
You see, for the most part, Irish people do celebrate St. Patrick’s holiday like most countries – that celebrate the holiday: parades, street carnival, live music, and pubs filled with people. But when it comes to eating and drinking, an Irish Saint Patrick’s Day celebration might be somewhat different than what you would expect. Contrary to what most people think, there’s no particular food that Irish people eat on the day.
A typical Saint Patrick’s Day celebration in Ireland
Most people get surprised when they visit Ireland during the holiday and find no grander eating tradition. So, you might ask yourself: if there is no particular food at Saint Patrick’s celebration, what do Irish people eat on the day? Well, the answer depends on where the person is spending the day.
Related: Who was St. Patrick?
Saint Patrick’s celebrations tend to revolve around families and friends’ gatherings. While some follow the parades, others might pick a pub with a great view of the parade and watch it from the comfort of their seats. The food on the day will either be a homemade meal or a pub grub. So the question revolves more around what are the typical Irish food.
Irish Pub Food
Okay, one thing you might find surprising is that the Irish don’t mix eating and drinking often. Pubs are mainly for drinking. Hence, most Irish people first have dinners and then head down to their local pub.
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However, the culture has been changing, and now it is much more common to find pubs that also serve dinners (the only problem is that it closes pretty early with last orders between 9-10 pm). A typical Irish pub might serve fish and chips, beef stews, chowders sided with Irish soda bread, burgers, fish, steak sided with vegetables, and mashed potatoes.
Related: The Story Behind Irish Soda Bread
As per drinks – no green beer is on the menus. Sorry to disappoint! – the Irish might have a Guinness or two. Other popular drinks are Apple Ciders, Gin and Tonic, and Whiskey with mixers like Coke and 7-Up.
Homemade Dinner on St. Patrick’s Day
A holiday dinner in Ireland is not complete without a juicy-roasted hearty dish. So at the Irish tables, you might find comfort food with seasonal dishes like roasted spring lambs with rosemary and mint sauce or roasted ham with apple sauce. Seasonal vegetables and colcannon – creamy mashed potatoes with cabbage – are the perfect side dishes.
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Pies are another excellent traditional dish you might find on the Irish tables. Fish pies, beef pies, shepherd’s pies, and cottage pies are popular options. When it comes to dessert, you’ll often find rhubarb or apple crumble tart. After the feast, Irish coffee becomes the perfect digestif drink.
Takeaways and Chipper
After a few pints, and because the restaurants close earlier, you might find Irish people queuing outside takeaways and chippers to grab some food on the way home. The most popular dishes are battered fish and chips, curry chips, sausages and chips, and snack boxes.
Related: What’s Snacking in Ireland?
The day after St. Patrick’s Day
The day after Saint Patrick’s Day is usually a day to recover from the pints of the day before. On these occasions, some Irish people typically start the day with a big Irish breakfast or big fry, as some may call it.
A typical Irish breakfast includes white or black pudding, rashers – Irish bacon – sausages, tomato sauce beans, mushrooms, hash browns, eggs, toasts with Irish butter, and relish.
Related: Rediscovering Irish Food
To sum it up!
As you can see, there is no specific food Irish people eat on Saint Patrick’s Day. They mainly celebrate the day with their traditional Irish food and drinks. Irish recipes may seem simple to some people, but they are hearty and comforting.
Corned beef with cabbage are variations of Irish food created by Irish immigrants – perhaps in an attempt to create a “like-home” meal to celebrate the day.
Green beer is not an option on the menus, but don’t let that disappoint you. As most people say, Guinness tastes better over here, so you will be happy to trade your green beer for a pint of the black stuff.
Slán go fóill