Category Archives: Ireland

“Muffin Monday” Irish Soda Bread

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I decided to step away from muffins and make some Irish Soda Bread today. I opted for the sweeter version of Soda Bread. I hope you like it.



  • 4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Currants
  • 3/4 cup Golden Raisins
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt


1. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment or silicone mat. (I used my new fancy silicone mats.

2. Mix the Flour, Salt, Baking Soda and Sugar in a large bowl.

3. Add the Currants and the Golden Raisins.

4. In a smaller bowl combine the Egg, Buttermilk and Greek Yogurt.

5. Add the wet to the dry to form a dough. Make into two balls.

6. On well floured surface need the dough about 10 times. Form into loaves.


7.  Place onto baking sheets and bake for about an hour, until knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

8. Cool a few minutes before enjoying.

We had the bread as part of our St. Patrick’s Day feast, and it was delicious.


The Irish Soda Bread takes center stage on our St. Patrick’s Day spread. We had mussels, baked fish, and colcannon (mashed potatoes and cabbage).

Check out these other Irish Soda Bread recipes:



Enhanced by Zemanta

Irish Blessings and Toasts (St. Patrick’s Day 2014)

Last year I did a profile of the man himself on St. Patrick’s Day. (Click here for that bio-blog)  Today I thought I’d share some Irish Blessings and Toast I’ve been collecting.  Thanks to Laurie, MaryPat, Bernie, Shannon, Kelly and Jane for contributing to this post.

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 toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

May you never forget what is worth remembering,
or remember what is best forgotten.

May your troubles be less
And your blessing be more
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door.

May those that love us, love us.
And those that don’t love us,
may God turn their hearts.
And if he doesn’t turn their hearts,
may he turn their ankles,
so we may know them by their limping!

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

May the roof above you never fall in,
And those gathered beneath it never fall out.

May the roof over your heads be as well thatched
As those inside are well matched.

May you be rich in blessings,
poor in misfortune,
slow to make enemies,
quick to make friends.
But rich poor, slow or quick,
may you know nothing but happiness
from this day forward

May peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door,
and happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas.

Health and long life to you,
land without rent to you,
a child every year to you,
and death in Old Ireland.

May I see you grey and
combing your grandchildren’s hair.

We drink to your coffin.
May it be built from the wood of a hundred year old oak tree
that I shall plant tomorrow.

Ach! Its snowing in Maryland so it is. So I thought I’d add some weather specific toast as well.

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 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.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


Alas non of the photos were taken by me. Please follow the links to real photographer’s sites and pay them homage. They did a fine, fine job.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Bono 5.10.13. Thought of the Day

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” — Bono

Bono [Image courtesy: Club]

Bono [Image courtesy: Club]

Paul David Hewson (aka Bono) was born on this day in Ballymun, Dublin, Ireland in 1960. He is 53 years old.

Paul was born to Bobby Hewson and Iris Rankin. He is the second of their children, his brother Norman is eight years his senior. His parents were unusual in their Dublin neighborhood as his father was Catholic and his mother was Church of Ireland (Protestant). He walked the fence between the two religions, attending services with his mother and brother and starting his education at The Inkwell (a Protestant school) before transferring to the Catholic St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir School. His tenure in the Catholic school was not long as the “precocious, outspoken” [] boy acted up once too often and was asked to leave after “throwing dog feces at his Spanish teacher.” [Ibid] He found his feet at a non-denominational, co-ed high school, Mount Temple Comprehensive.

At 14 Paul’s mother died of a brain hemorrhage. Life with his father was difficult.

Despite his father’s attempts to hold the family together, Bono claims that he and Bob Hewson “didn’t get on very well.” As a result, father and son never enjoyed a particularly close relationship. In fact, Bono would later claim that the inarticulate Bob Hewson’s unspoken message to his children was “to dream is to be disappointed.”[Ibid]

Paul rebelled against his father by dreaming big and trying everything.

At Mount Temple “he had a flair for history and art, and became a keen and expert chess player” [Ibid]. It is there that he met his wife to be Alison Stewart, his eventual U2 band mates, Larry Mullen, Dave Evans (aka The Edge), and Adam Clayton, and picked up the name Bono.

At first the group did covers, but then they started to write and perform their own music. Their first album was 1980’s Boy. The LP featured the post-punk Twilight and I Will Follow.

October  came out  in 1981 and touched on the band’s spiritual side, especially with Gloria, Tomorrow and With a Shout (Jerusalem).

1983’s WAR reached #1 in England and  #12 on the US charts. Bono said of the recording: “‘More than any other record, ‘War‘ is right for its time. It is a slap in the face against the snap, crackle and pop. Everyone else is getting more and more style-orientated, more and more slick.” [ Discography]  Stand out tracks (on a very strong album) include 40, New Year’s Day, and Sunday Bloody Sunday.

U2’s fourth album, The Unforgettable Fire was produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Pride (In the Name of Love), one of the groups biggest hits, came from The Unforgettable Fire.

[As much as I love the bass and drums on the earlier stuff — and I do — the guitar on this one just kills.]

If you STILL haven’t found what you’re looking for… maybe you need to pull out 1987’s The Joshua Tree. [Because, frankly, I’m about to give up being an objective blogger and just gush with fan girl admiration…With OR Without You.] Here’s Where The Streets Have No Name…

Rattle and Hum came out in 1988. It combines covers, new original music and concert recordings of some of their most famous songs. A documentary film directed by Phil Joanou  was released at the same time as the album.  Here’s All I want is You [My personal favorite U2 song.]

Achtung Baby was the band’s 7th release. It saw a shift to a more industrial rock and electronic dance music. Zooropa (1993) and Pop (1997) followed.

2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind marked a return to a lyric/melody driven style. It boasted successful singles Beautiful Day, Elevation, Walk On and Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.

Bono said of How To Dismantle an Atom Bomb  “‘It’s just such a personal record. It may just be our best.'” [Um yeah!] This time Vertigo, All Because of You, Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own, City of Blinding Lights, and Yahweh stood out.

No Line on the Horizon came out in February of 2009 along with the companion film Linear. Get on Your Boots and Magnificent both charted in the US (Boots, with its awesome bass and guitar riffs, was #1 in Ireland) Here’s the band playing  Magnificent on Letterman:

Bono is still writing, recording and performing. If you are in the New York area and have a cool $3000 to donate to a good cause you can see him on Monday (May 13)  as part of the Robin Hood Foundation Gala at the Javits Center.  A more affordable option may be a trip your local movie theatre to see U2-3D, a concert film that comes out May 30th.


I could write another 500 words on Bono’s charitable works, but that would put me over the limit.

St. Patrick 3.17.13 Thought of the Day

“Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.”
St. Patrick

[Image courtesy: Wikipedia]

[Image courtesy: Wikipedia]

St. Patrick died on this day in 461, in Saul, Ireland. Today is his Feast Day.

Patrick was born in Scotland sometime around 385 AD to Roman parents, Calpurnius and Conchessa. When he was about 14 he was kidnapped by a raiding party and taken to Ireland to work as a slave. There he tended sheep.

In the despair of his captivity he turned to God in intense and desperate prayer, drawing comfort from the Christian faith that he and so many others of his people had abandoned under Roman rule. …Patrick’s captivity became a preparation for his future in ministry. He learned the language and customs of the Irish people who held him, and even while he practiced devotion to Christ he also became very familiar with the pagan and druidic practices that were popular throughout Ireland at that time. After six years as a slave he was told by an angel in a dream to run away to the coast. He travelled over 200 miles from Ballymena to Wexford and escaped on a ship that was taking dogs to Gaul (France). After landing in England he was recaptured and returned to slavery, but this time he escaped again after only two months and traveled around Europe seeking his destiny. [All Saints]

Once home he had another dream that called him back to Ireland to teach the people about God. He studied to become a priest and eventually be came a Bishop. At 48 he was sent to Ireland.

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461. [Catholic]

His ability to connect with the people on a personal level helped him win over hundreds of thousands of converts from peasants to tribal kings.

Oxalis Shamrocks, Two Kinds

Oxalis Shamrocks, Two Kinds (Photo credit: cobalt123)

He is, perhaps, most famously known for using the common shamrock [NOT THE 4-LEAF CLOVER] to explain the Holy Trinity.

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. []

Mythology has Patrick “bringing Christianity to Ireland,” but the Church was already there. He expanded it and made it more appealing to the Irish. He’s also suppose to have “driven the snakes out of Ireland.” Another myth. There weren’t any snakes in Ireland to drive out.

The Patrick of historical record is just as compelling as the Patrick of legend. … He was the first real organizer of the Catholic Church in Ireland by dividing the church into territorial sees; he raised the standard of biblical scholarship and especially encouraged the wider teaching of Latin; he travelled throughout the country preaching, teaching, building churches, and opening schools and monasteries; and he converted countless people of all social classes, and inspired many to become monks and nuns. He not only shared God with the people of Ireland, but also grew in his understanding of God through them. [All Saints]

In Ireland St. Patrick’s day is a holy day of obligation, but Catholics and non Catholics alike celebrate it world wide. So whether you are saying a rosary or lifting a glass in St. Patrick’s name today… I wish you Sláinte (good health)…. and …

May the strength of God pilot us,
may the wisdom of God instruct us,
may the hand of God protect us,
may the word of God direct us.
Be always ours this day and for evermore.

Statue of St. Patrick in Aughagower, County Mayo

Aidan Quinn 3.9.13 Thought of the Day

“I think my being such a nomad let me into acting. I was always having to create a new image whenever we moved.” — Aidan Quinn

Legends of a Fall [Image courtesy: Tristar films]

Legends of the Fall [Image courtesy: Tristar films]

Aidan Quinn  was born on this day in Chicago, Illinois, USA in 1959. He is 54.

Born to an Irish American family, he grew up in Illinois ( in Chicago and Rockford) and in Ireland. His mother, Teresa, was a bookkeeper, his father, Michael, was a literature professor. Brothers Robert, Paul,  and Declan  and  sister Marian  round out the Quinn brood. He studied acting at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, Illinois and has a BFA in acting from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

Quinn in Desperately Seeking Susan.

Quinn in Desperately Seeking Susan.

After working on the stage in Chicago he made the jump to film in 1984 with the drama Reckless, but broke through with the comedy Desperately Seeking Susan in the role of Dez in 1985. The Television drama An Early Frost, in which Quinn plays a young man with AIDS, earned him his first Emmy nomination. The next year he played a small role in [one of my favorite movies of all time] The Mission. “…Quinn found a niche playing sensitive, intelligent male characters, often in supporting roles. Notable films include Avalon, Benny & Joon, Michael Collins and Practical Magic.” []

One film that was close to his heart was also a family affair. He plays Kieran O’Day in 1998’s This is My Father.

This Is My Father

He plays a poor Irish farm hand in love with Moya Farrelly’s Fionna in This Is My Father

The film was written and directed by his brother Paul, brother Declan was the cinematographer, and sister Marian had a cameo.

Although having starred alongside “big names …and in some “big” films such as Legends of the Fall, Mary Shelley’s Frankensteinand Michael Collins he has managed to keep a fairly low profile. This is not something he’s unhappy about, since he likes to keep his private life private. [Aidan Quinn — The Biography]

“Celebrity” he says  ” is not a thing to seek.” That’s not to say he doesn’t keep busy. Between films, television and the stage Quinn has performed regularly (averaging 3 or 4 projects a year) since he entered the business.

Recently he’s been in the movie  Sarah’s Key and the US version of Prime Suspect. You can currently catch him in Elementary.

Aidan Quinn 2 by David Shankbone

Aidan Quinn 2 by David Shankbone (Photo credit: david_shankbone)

%d bloggers like this: