From green tea to little green shamrocks sprinkled on our cupcakes (with green frosting), we’re getting our Irish on here today for St. Patty’s Day!
How better to celebrate a day of green than with a nice, fresh green tea? St. Patrick himself would have approved most heartily. Centuries ago, when he went to the various kings of Ireland to convert them from their “heathen ways,” he didn’t have this wonderful beverage to serve. Too bad. It would have been hospitable as well as improving the dispositions and general health of those fierce monarchs of the “Emerald Isle.”
The word “shamrock” is derived from the Irish Gaelic seamrog which means “little clover.” Around 1893, botanist Nathaniel Colgan collected samples from people all over Ireland and discovered that there were about four different plants (Trifolium repens, Trifolium minus, Trifolium pretense, and Medicago lepulina) that qualified as shamrocks. The main feature is the three-leaves-on-a-stem shape we have all come to recognize. (There is a mutation that occurs rather often where a fourth leaf is on the stem – the proverbial four-leaf-clover – that is a symbol of good luck.) Officially, the symbol of Ireland is the Celtic Harp. However, to many people, the shamrock is equally important. It is more of an emblem of Irish culture and is used in the official logos of Fáilte Ireland (the Irish Tourist Board) and other Irish organizations and companies such as Aer Lingus, the official airline of Ireland.
Time for that Irish tea party! Teapots, mugs, plates, sugar and creamer, cups and saucers, and so on, will set the stage here. A nice Irish lace tablecloth would be good, too. You might want to go with an Irish favorite instead such as one of their top brands (Lyon’s, Barry’s, or Bewley’s) or a nice Irish Breakfast blend steeped strong so it can stand up to some milk and sweetener if you care to venture that far here.
Got your Irish on yet? If not, just have another cuppa tea and one of those cupcakes. That should do the trick!
© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text