A round up of our advertiser’s St Patrick’s Day Parties, plus the Life & Legends of St Patrick – background on the man behind what must be the world’s most widely celebrated national saint’s day, and finally to ensure you can go completely green on Thursday 17th March, a recipe for  Authentic Irish Stew.
Everything you need for Saint Patrick’s Day in Ibiza … except the Guinness.

St Patrick’s Day Parties

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  • Figueretas
    • Claire B

Thursday March 17 is St Patrick’s Day and you can be sure that Ibiza Town’s only Irish Bar, Father Jacks in Figueretas will be the place to celebrate all things Irish on that side of the island. Opening at noon, there’ll be racing from the Cheltenham Festival during the day and ‘Paddy Oke’ (karaoke to traditional Irish songs) with Andie Fields from 6pm. Irish stew will be served and of course there’s draught Guinness, a selection of Irish whiskey’s including Jameson, Paddy and Bushmills on offer, as well as Baileys, lager, cider and everything else you would expect to help the party on its way. Plus lots of free Guinness hats and other promotional giveaways for those who want to dress up for the day and get into the party spirit. So come and join the local Irish and British community who’ll all be out in force to commemorate the tradition that is St. Patrick’s Day and partake in some good old Irish craic. Father Jacks is at Calle Asturias 19 in Figueretes, a short walk from Ibiza Town. 

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  • San Antonio

The renamed for the Day ‘Stevie O’D’s’ are offering lovers of the black stuff a very special treat with their buy 2 get 1 free offers leaving you with 3 pints of Guiness in your hands (a trick in itself) for the ex-patacular price of 8€. This in addition to a whole host of less traditional booze in twos all slipping down with ease alongside a range of Irish Tapas including Cabbage and Shpuds—we’re just glad we’ve seen posts from Ibiza’s Irish ex-pat community lately presenting their lack of problem with stereotyping as a positive, as it’s about to get worse.

DJ Davy O’Chip (or as we’d have called him, Fried Spud)  will be dying his hair ginger for the day, which should be quite a sight, and  there are prizes for those suitably speckled with freckles and those of a ginger fringe—though to be fair we think our own Nicole Torres will be cleaning up on those two.

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  • Santa Eulalia

St Patricks proibably isn’t the day for travelling too far from home, certainly not if driving, and so this year the folk of Santa Eulalia will be pleased to hear that the Celt Belt has extended out to their fine city with the opening of new Irish Bar Nimmos on the biggest day in the Irish Bar calander.

As with every new project in Ibiza they are probably up to their armpits in that last frantic rush to get everything done, so we can’t tell you much more than that there will be live music, and of course, the craic!

Authentic Irish Stew

  • In honour of St Patrick’s Day we bring you a recipe for Irish Stew from the welovedonegal.com website—that should give some degree of authenticity!

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TRADITIONAL IRISH STEW

Our recipe is as near as possible to what the original Irish Stew would have been.  If you follow this recipe you will have a hearty, unctuous stew.  Don’t fret about which vegetables to add ~ if you don’t have leeks use onions, if you don’t have carrots leave them out altogether.  If you have some turnip cut it into cubes and add it before the potatoes.  Remember, Irish Stew was a peasant dish and those people didn’t have the luxury of being culinary purists or food snobs ~ they were simply making the most of what was available to survive.

  • INGREDIENTS (Makes enough for approx 6-8 people)

1kg/2 lbs mutton (neck) fat removed and cut into 1″ cubes

(Alternatively 6 to 8 shoulder of lamb chops)

8 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters and set aside in bowl of water

2 handfuls of barley, rinsed under cold water

6 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices

3 leeks, cut into medium slices

1 large onion, peeled and cut into small cubes Salt  and pepper if desired

A little oil for frying off the meat

4 potatoes for thickening (peel, boil and mash)

A large handful of parsley, washed, dried and finely chopped

Two and a half pints (1.25 litres) of homemade Lamb Stock or two and half pints (1.25 litres) of chicken or vegetable stock

  • SECRET TO THICKEN THE STEW

The chunks of potatoes and the barley will thicken the stew somewhat and to thicken it further towards the end of cooking you could use a teaspoon of cornflour but a much better way is separately boil 4 potatoes.  Once cooked, mash thoroughly and add to the stew about 20 minutes before it is ready.  This will thicken it up naturally and very well.

  • METHOD
  1. Heat the stock in the large saucepan and keep simmering gently once heated and add the barley
  2. If not already in cubes, cut the meat into one inch cubes
  3. Rinse the meat under a cold running tap to remove any blood (and cut down on scum gathering on the top of the stew) and dry using kitchen paper
  4. Heat the frying pan and once hot, add the oil
  5. Add one third of the cubed mutton/lamb to the pan and brown.  Only add this amount at a time or the meat will not brown to seal and preserve the flavour of the meat
  6. Add the first browned meat cubes to the hot stock and repeat until all the meat is browned
  7. Re-heat the frying pan and add a little more oil and add the chopped onion and fry for a few minutes without browning and add to the saucepan
  8. Ladle a few scoops of stock onto the frying pan and move around with your wooden spoon to make sure you get all the tasty bits left behind after the frying.  Add back to the stew
  9. Place the lid on the saucepan and simmer the meat and the chopped onion very gently for 2 and a half hours.  Stir every half hour or so to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.  If it is starting to stick, turn the heat down lower again.  During the course of cooking if any scum appears on the top of the stew simply skim off using the ladle and discard
  10. After 2 and a half hours add in the chopped carrots, turn up the heat and cook for a further 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally to make sure it is not sticking
  11. Add the mashed potato (to thicken the stew)
  12. Add the cut leeks and quartered potato chunks.  Cook for 15 minutes, stir occasionally to make sure it is not sticking
  13. Take out a bit of the meat ~ it should be almost meltingly tender at this stage which means it is ready
  14. Finally add salt and pepper to taste and serve in big bowls, sprinkling first with some finely chopped parsley.  You will need a fork and a spoon to eat your Irish Stew

LAMB STOCK

While it is not strictly necessary to make your own stock, if you do have the time it is certainly worth the extra effort.  Yes, it is time consuming and a lengthy process but it can be frozen and therefore made in advance of the time you will be making the Irish Stew.  Added to that, your kitchen will be filled with the most fabulous aromas during cooking!

  • INGREDIENTS

~ Approximately 1kilo2lb of lamb bones

~2 large onions, unpeeled and chopped in half length ways

~2 large carrots, peeled and cut into quarters

~2 stalks of celery, washed and left uncut

~6-10 black peppercorns and 2 bay leaves

~ 3 litres/5 pints of boiling water

  • METHOD
  1. Heat the oven to 190c/375f
  2. Once hot, place lamb bones on a tray and put in oven
  3. Once bones start to brown add vegetables to tray
  4. When bones & vegetables are browned remove from oven
  5. Lift bones and vegetables off the tray and into saucepan.
  6. Put the 3 litres/5 pints of boiling water into the pan and add the peppercorns and bay leaves
  7. Simmer gently, on the lowest heat possible, with the lid for an hour, then remove the lid and simmer for a further 2 hours.  Throughout this simmering period, ladle off any scum that gathers on the top of the liquid and discard
  8. 8.  Leave to cool and put in the fridge overnight
  9. In the morning lift off the hard fat that will have formed on the top of the stock and discard
  10. Place the sieve or colander over the bowl and move the stock from the pot with a ladle and then finally tip the remainder into the sieve/colander.  Discard all the used vegetables.
  11. Wash the saucepan to remove any remainder of fat and wash the sieve.  Place the sieve over the clean saucepan, line with two sheets of kitchen paper laid across the sieve and ladle the strained stock back through this.  This will remove more fat.  Your stock is now ready for cooking or freezing

 

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The Life and Legends of Saint Patrick

St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain. Calpurnius, his father, was a decurion and deacon, his grandfather Potitus a priest, from Banna Venta Berniae, a location otherwise unknown, though identified in one tradition as Glannoventa, modern Ravenglass in Cumbria, England; claims have been advanced for locations in both Scotland and Wales.

Patrick, however, was not an active believer. According to the Confession of St. Patrick, at the age of just sixteen Patrick was captured by a group of Irish pirates. They brought him to Ireland where he was enslaved and held captive for six years. Patrick writes in The Confession that the time he spent in captivity was critical to his spiritual development. He explains that the Lord had mercy on his youth and ignorance, and afforded him the opportunity to be forgiven of his sins and converted to Christianity. While in captivity, Saint Patrick worked as a shepherd and strengthened his relationship with God through prayer eventually leading him to convert to Christianity.

After six years of captivity he heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home, and then that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he travelled to a port, two hundred miles away, where he found a ship and with difficulty persuaded the captain to take him. After three days sailing they landed, presumably in Britain, and apparently all left the ship, walking for 28 days in a “wilderness”, becoming faint from hunger before encountering a herd of wild boar; since this was shortly after Patrick had urged them to put their faith in God, his prestige in the group was greatly increased. After various adventures, he returned home to his family, now in his early twenties. After returning home to Britain, Saint Patrick continued to study Christianity.

Patrick recounts that he had a vision a few years after returning home:

“I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: ‘The Voice of the Irish’. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.”

Acting on the vision, Patrick returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. According to J.B. Bury, his landing place was Wicklow, Co. Wicklow, at the mouth of the river Inver-dea, which is now called the Vartry. J.B. Bury suggests that Wicklow was also the port through which Patrick made his escape after his six years captivity, though offers only circumstantial evidence to support this. Tradition has it that St Patrick was not welcomed by the locals and was forced to leave to seek a more welcoming landing place further north. He rested for some days at the islands off the Skerries coast, one of which still retains the name of Inis-Patrick. The first sanctuary dedicated by St. Patrick was at Saul. Shortly thereafter Benin (or Benignus), son of the chieftain Secsnen, joined Patrick’s group.

Much of the Declaration concerns charges made against St. Patrick by his fellow Christians at a trial. What these charges were, he does not say explicitly, but he writes that he returned the gifts which wealthy women gave him, did not accept payment for baptisms, nor for ordaining priests, and indeed paid for many gifts to kings and judges, and paid for the sons of chiefs to accompany him. It is concluded, therefore, that he was accused of some sort of financial impropriety, and perhaps of having obtained his bishopric in Ireland with personal gain in mind.

From this same evidence, something can be seen of St. Patrick’s mission. He writes that he “baptised thousands of people”. He ordained priests to lead the new Christian communities. He converted wealthy women, some of whom became nuns in the face of family opposition. He also dealt with the sons of kings, converting them too.

St. Patrick’s position as a foreigner in Ireland was not an easy one. His refusal to accept gifts from kings placed him outside the normal ties of kinship, fosterage and affinity. Legally he was without protection, and he says that he was on one occasion beaten, robbed of all he had, and put in chains, perhaps awaiting execution. Patrick says that he was also “many years later” a captive for 60 days, without giving details.

Another piece of evidence that comes from Patrick’s life is the Letter to Coroticus or Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus, written after a first remonstrance was received with ridicule and insult. In this, St. Patrick writes an open letter announcing that he has excommunicated Coroticus because he had taken some of St. Patrick’s converts into slavery while raiding in Ireland. The letter describes the followers of Coroticus as “fellow citizens of the devils” and “associates of the Scots [of Dalriada and later Argyll] and Apostate Picts”. Based largely on an eighth-century gloss, Coroticus is taken to be King Ceretic of Alt Clut. Thompson however proposed that based on the evidence it is more likely that Coroticus was a British Roman living in Ireland. It has been suggested that it was the sending of this letter which provoked the trial which Patrick mentions in the Confession.

Legends of St Patrick

Patrick uses shamrock in an illustrative parable

St. Patrick depicted with shamrock in detail of stained glass window in St. Benin’s Church, Kilbennan, County Galway, Ireland. Legend credits St. Patrick with teaching the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, using it to illustrate the Christian teaching of three persons in one God. This story first appears in writing in 1726, though it may be older. The shamrock has since become a central symbol for St Patrick’s Day.

In pagan Ireland, three was a significant number and the Irish had many triple deities, a fact that may have aided St Patrick in his evangelisation efforts when he “held up a shamrock and discoursed on the Christian Trinity”. Icons of St Patrick often depict the saint with a cross in one hand and a sprig of shamrocks in the other.

Patrick banishes all snakes from Ireland

The absence of snakes in Ireland gave rise to the legend that they had all been banished by St. Patrick chasing them into the sea after they attacked him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of a hill. This hagiographic theme draws on the Biblical account of the staff of the prophet Moses. In Exodus 7:8–7:13, Moses and Aaron use their staffs in their struggle with Pharaoh’s sorcerers, the staffs of each side morphing into snakes. Aaron’s snake-staff prevails by consuming the other snakes.

However, all evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes, as on insular “New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland and Antarctica… So far, no serpent has successfully migrated across the open ocean to a new terrestrial home” from Scotland, at one point only some twelve miles from Ireland, where a few native species have lived, “the venomous adder, the grass snake, and the smooth snake”, as National Geographic notes; sea snakes exist only in the Pacific and Indian oceans. “At no time has there ever been any suggestion of snakes in Ireland, so [there was] nothing for St. Patrick to banish”, says naturalist Nigel Monaghan, keeper of natural history at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin, who has searched extensively through Irish fossil collections and records.

Patrick’s walking stick grows into a living tree

Some Irish legends involve the Oilliphéist, the Caoránach, and the Copóg Phádraig. During his evangelising journey back to Ireland from his parent’s home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff. He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelising and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message of the dogma took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on.

Patrick speaks with ancient Irish ancestors

The twelfth-century work Acallam na Senórach tells of Patrick being met by two ancient warriors, Caílte mac Rónáin and Oisín, during his evangelical travels. The two were once members of Fionn mac Cumhaill’s warrior band the Fianna, and somehow survived to Patrick’s time. In the work St. Patrick seeks to convert the warriors to Christianity, while they defend their pagan past. The heroic pagan lifestyle of the warriors, of fighting and feasting and living close to nature, is contrasted with the more peaceful, but unheroic and non-sensual life offered by Christianity.