A Celebration of the Irish Spirit

A Celebration of the Irish Spirit


On St. Patrick’s Day we celebrate the Irish story, which is one of overcoming extreme hardships. It’s true that everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, as embrace a “can-do” spirit when tackling big and small obstacles in the course of our daily lives.


A pivotal point in the Irish history was the Great Famine – or Great Hunger – of 1845 – 1852. The famine occurred because a potato blight killed these crops, which were a dietary staple for much of the Irish population. During this period, an estimated 12% of the population died from disease and starvation, and at least as many emigrated to the United States and other countries.


Many Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with hearty meals such as corned beef and lamb stew, which   are a luxury for many Irish due to their expense. For our St. Patrick’s Day post, we have partnered with Guest Chef, Nancy Langer, to develop some contemporary, family-friendly recipes that highlight Irish dietary staples – potatoes, pork, and cheese.


Irish Nachos

Image of Irish Nachos being assembled prior to baking.

Serves 4 – 6



  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 tsp neutral oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package bacon
  • Optional toppings: sliced scallions, tomatoes, chives, avocado, green or jalapeno pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese




  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, then spread on one of the baking sheets.
  3. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and mix until coated, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Separate the bacon slices and place side-by-side on the other baking sheet.
  5. Bake potatoes and bacon for 15-20 minutes, until the potato edges are golden and bacon is crispy.
  6. When bacon is slightly cooled chop into small pieces.
  7. Mound potatoes on the baking sheet or an oven-proof platter. Sprinkle bacon pieces and additional toppings of your choice over the potatoes then cover with the cheese.
  8. Bake nachos at 400 degrees F for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream.


Bangers and Mash

Bangers and mash with a salad

Serves 4



  • 1 pound sausage links
  • 4 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add sausages, turning to brown evenly, and fry until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes, lower heat to medium and simmer 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  3. When sausages are cooked, remove to a plate and cover with foil.
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and add the onions and garlic. Stir until the onions are soft and brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir the flour into the onions and garlic until it is blended completely.
  6. Gradually add beef stock, stir and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes.
  7. Drain the cooked potatoes and slowly add milk. Blend with a potato masher or electric mixer until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve the sausages with the potatoes and plenty of gravy.


St. Patrick’s Day Activities


A Fun Irish Folktale for Small Children


This read-aloud version of James O’Rourke and the Big Potato, by Tomie dePaola by Brightly Storytime, is a fun adaptation of an Irish folktale about a lazy farmer and his potatoes that it appropriate for ages 2-6. To access the recording, click here .


Local St. Patrick’s Day Family Activities


Bedford’s First Parish Church is hosting An Irish Celebration: A Family Event on March 16 starting at 5PM, featuring Celtic music experts, storytelling and a pub-style dinner. Click here for more information.


And check out this Lexington Macaroni Kid St. Patrick’s Day Fun Guide for a list of local, family-friendly, holiday events.


A Great Movie for Adults


Set in the shadow of the Irish Civil War, The Banshees of Inisherin, tells the story of two old friends living on an island off the Irish coast in the 1920’s whose lives diverge with unfortunate consequences. Due to the complex subject matter it’s not a film for children.


Erin Go Bragh


On St. Patrick’s Day we celebrate that little bit of Irish in all of us, with a positive outlook on life and its daily challenges.


So, brew a cup of Irish Breakfast tea, butter a slice of Irish soda bread and enjoy a piece of Irish culture.

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