St. Patrick’s Day is recognized worldwide as a celebration of Irish heritage, as well as an opportunity to enjoy holiday customs. At The Arbors Assisted Living Residential Communities, everyone—Irish or not—joins in.
“All of our sites do cultural programs wrapped around the backgrounds and culture of our residents. We celebrate every holiday and hallmark holiday, too,” says Pattie Ricketts, Regional Reflections Program and activity director.
“Saint Patrick’s will be a big celebration in each of our sites. They will all decorate, have corned beef and cabbage, step dancers and musicians playing Irish music, and even enjoy green beer or an Irish coffee with Irish soda bread.”
Residents and staff go all out to celebrate the holiday at The Arbors at Greenfield.
“One way we are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day here at The Arbors at Greenfield is with an Irish Family Night March 14. We have invited family members and our residents for an evening of Celtic music and Irish desserts and drinks,” remarks Cheryl Fisher, activities director at The Arbors at Greenfield.
“The entertainer for the evening is a duo called Shindy. Randy plays the fiddle, and Roger plays the guitar. They offer a powerful performance that includes jigs, reels, hornpipes and waltzes.”
Cheryl adds that the celebration is special for one resident, Peg, whose family hails from County Cork, Ireland. “As Peg got older, she would celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by going to the clubs and listening to music. Her mother always made corned beef and cabbage for their dinner.”
Peg describes Ireland as a beautiful place where you can walk down the street, and everyone in town would greet you. “It was as if you had known them all your life,” Cheryl relates.
Find out more about the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at The Arbors at Greenfield on their Facebook page.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Boston
- In nearby Boston, the celebration kicks off with the city’s most famous Celtic punk rock group, the Dropkick Murphys. You can’t be a “propah” Bostonian if you haven’t heard them at least once. They start off the festivities on the 15th and continue through the 17th at Boston’s House of Blues before absconding to the Agganis Arena on Saturday.
- The fun continues Saturday with “A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn: Music & Dance” at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University.
- Or you can take in the famous Boston skyline—plus live music and dinner—on the St. Patrick’s Weekend Yacht Party cruise of Boston Harbor.
- At 11 a.m. on Sunday, head down to South Boston to watch the St. Patrick’s Day Road Race, which first started back in 1940.
- The celebration culminates on Sunday with the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston.
- Well, not really, because the Irish Film Festival, named one of the Top 20 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, runs March 23 to 26.
Celebrate at Home with Authentic Irish Recipes
If you’re getting ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at home, you have to eat Irish soda bread and corned beef and cabbage. Here are recipes:
Brown Irish Soda Bread
This recipe from The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread uses authentic ingredients.
- 3 cups (12 oz) of wheat flour
- 1 cup (4 oz) of white flour (Reminder: 4 oz by weight is a dry “cup”. Do not use self-rising as it already contains baking powder and salt.)
- 14 ounces of buttermilk (Pour in a bit at a time until the dough is moist)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
2 ounces of butter if you want to deviate a bit.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees. Lightly grease and flour a cake pan. In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients. Rub in the butter until the flour is crumbly.
- Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)
- Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.
- Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the bastible pot). Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped to show it is done.
- Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.
Corned Beef & Cabbage
Although they’ll maintain that corned beef is not an authentic Irish dish, Irish Culture and Customs nevertheless has this recipe on its website.
- 4-pound corned beef brisket
- 3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
- 6 to 8 small onions, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon powdered English mustard
- 1 large sprig of fresh thyme and several parsley stalks tied together
- 1 cabbage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put the corned beef into a large pot with the carrots, onions, mustard powder and herbs.
- Cover with cold water; bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 1 hour. From time to time, skim fat from top as it rises.
- Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage and cut into quarters and add to the pot.
- Cook for another one to two hours or until the meat and vegetables are tender.
- Serve the corned beef cut into slices and surrounded by the vegetables. Serve with a generous amount of potatoes, boiled in their jackets and freshly made mustard.