It’s that time again! This month for “Around the World in 12 Dishes” we visit the green island of IRELAND!!
When I was very pregnant with Maya, and Vivi was 2.5 years old, our family took an unforgettable trip to the gorgeous country of Ireland. We toured up and down the west coast: from County Mayo and Achill Island, through the Cliffs of Moher, down to Killarney National Park- with a quick trip to the east side to visit Dublin. It was an amazing trip of emerald green landscapes, grey stone castles and churches, and dramatic shorelines looking over the Atlantic. Here are some facts and figures of Ireland:
- Most of the country is Catholic, and one of the prominent symbols of Ireland is the Celtic cross. Ireland’s patron saint is Saint Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland around 430 AD. He was captured and taken as a prisoner to Ireland, where legend has it that he taught followers about the Trinity using 3 leafed shamrocks, and banished snakes from the island of Ireland. St Patrick’s Day is March 17th.
- Ireland has the harp as their national symbol (the only country in the world which has a musical instrument!). The oldest known harp in existence- from around 1300AD- is housed in Trinity College, Dublin. Music is a huge part of Irish culture and it is common for everyone in the family to play an instrument, sing, or dance. Listen to some traditional Irish music here. Ireland’s most famous musical export is U2.
- Ireland is a republic, with a president and a prime minister. Since 2002, Ireland has used the euro as it currency. Agriculture used to be the largest sector of the Irish economy, and while still popular, now industry and services comprise the majority of Ireland’s economy.
- Often times Ireland is said to have “40 shades of green” in its lush landscape. Warmed by the North Atlantic current that brings warm water from the south, Ireland enjoys a temperate climate, and abundant rain.
- If your family is interested in learning more, read these great children’s books about Ireland, watch a family film from Ireland, or do an easy sheep craft.
Irish Food: Recipes for a Traditional Meal
I asked an Irish friend about typical Irish food, and this is what she said “Traditional Irish cuisine is very simple. A meat source…. whether roast beef, bacon, lamb chops, steak, plus potatoes, cabbage, carrots and peas. I still have uncles who don’t consider a meal to be a real dinner if it doesn’t include carrots, potatoes and peas. Cabbage is seasonal and not a daily requirement…..And you have to have carrots. Carrots are a ubiquitous part of most Irish meals. Plain old boiled or roasted carrots.”
This was a family effort: I broiled some beef, and had the kids help out with the veggies. The girls peeled a huge bowl of carrots from the farm co-op we belong to, that we roasted with butter and salt (and a couple of random turnips I had).
After boiling the potatoes, the boys helped to peel them. We made a dish called “cally.” Once mashed, season the potatoes well by mixing in some green onions or leeks, some heavy cream or milk, and salt and pepper. When serving the mashed potatoes, leave a well (my kids say it’s a volcano) in the middle and place a big lump of fresh butter, that can melt into the potatoes.
We served the broiled beef, cally, and roasted carrots with some peas, and enjoyed this easy, hearty Sunday meal!
We are inviting our readers to participate in our culinary adventure.
For each country, we will have a coloring placemat and a four page passport with lots of fun information, questions, a spot for a photo of you and your dish and space to put your own recipe, so you and your children can really explore and it will be a nice keepsake! You can find the placemats and passports on our Facebook page and our Google+ community page. Each country will also have its own linky, where you can link up your own related posts- we would love to see your posts!
Here are the participating blogs: Adventures In Mommydom, Creative Family Fun, Domestic Goddesque, Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, Glittering Muffins, Here Come The Girls, Juggling with Kids, Kid World Citizen, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, Little Artists, Mermaids’ Makings, Montessori Tidbits, Mummymummymum and The Educators’ Spin On It.