With the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day on Monday, March 17, spring can’t be far behind (or so we hope!). Salute the Old Country, this weekend and next, at one of the lively celebrations nearby and enjoy a parade or two.
“St. Patrick’s Day is the feast of the patron saint of Ireland, a celebration of the faith, heritage and culture of the Irish and Irish-Americans” said John O’Connell, the grand marshal of one of Nassau County’s St. Patrick’s Day parades, in Glen Cove, on March 23.
“Patrick was born in Scotland in about the year 385,” O’Connell said, “taken as a slave to then-pagan Ireland when he was 14, escaped when he was 20, became a priest, was ordained a bishop and sent back to Ireland in March of 433 to preach the Gospel and convert the tribal Celts to Christianity. He died in Ireland on March 17 in about the year 461.
“His life of faith in Christ, perseverance, strength, kindness and hope is an inspiration to Irish Catholics and their descendants everywhere,” O’Connell said, “and the reason we celebrate his feast day.
“While corned beef and cabbage, bagpipes and drums, buttered soda bread, step dancing and glorious parades of proud marchers are some of the manifestations of those celebrations of faith, Irish heritage and culture, St. Patrick is the true essence of the day.”
Share some Irish spirit at Hofstra University’s annual Irish Festival at the Mack Sports Center on Hofstra’s North Campus in Hempstead, on Sunday, March, 16, 11 a.m-5 p.m. The popular family event offers music and entertainment, and fun for the kids, as well as Irish cuisine to sample and Irish merchandise for sale.
The Black Velvet Band kicks things off at 11:30 a.m., featuring traditional Irish music performed by Jimmy Walsh, Jimmy Lavin and Mickey Peare. The Tommy Mulvihill Band follows, at 1 p.m., playing crowding-pleasing favorites, with the Hirten Family Irish Dancers closing out the day, at 3:45 p.m. For the kids, Katie’s Puppets will keep the younger set entertained with a comedy/puppet show and craft activities. Admission is $7, $5 for seniors; children under 12 are free. For more information, contact 463-6582 or www.hofstra/edu/festivals.
And be sure to bring some Patrick’s Day into your home. Irish Soda Bread is a tasty quick bread that everyone enjoys and is quite easy to make.
Irish Soda Bread
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons caraway seed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease 9-inch round cake pan.
Mix flour, sugar, caraway seed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Stir in raisins. Mix buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in medium bowl; stir into dry ingredients. Spread in prepared pan.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
Makes 16 servings. Serve with hot tea and organic jam, Irish stew, traditional Irish cabbage dishes, or enjoy on its own!
Irish Soda Bread Muffins
Try this twist on the traditional version.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups currants (first choice) or raisins
1/2 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, to taste
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream
6 tablespoons butter, melted; or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
Sparkling white sugar
Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, currants or raisins, and caraway seeds.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk (or equivalent) and melted butter (or equivalent).
Quickly and gently combine the dry and wet ingredients (this won’t take more than a few stirs with a bowl scraper or large spoon). As soon as everything is evenly moistened, quit; further stirring will cause the muffins to be tough.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups about 3/4 full; the stiff batter will look mounded in the cups. Top with sparkling white sugar, if desired.
Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven. Tip the muffins in the pan, so their bottoms don’t get soggy. Wait 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool. Serve them plain, or with butter and/or jam.
Everyone loves a parade: A St. Patrick's Day tradition
It’s been said that Irish descendants in the U.S. put on a noisier and bigger St. Patrick’s Day celebration than their brethren in Ireland! And while the many events surrounding the holiday are enjoyable for all, the parade remains the focus of the celebration.
It’s time to show off some green, enjoy a green bagel perhaps, and find a parade. Whether you get on the train and head into Manhattan or stay local, these parades are sure to bring out the Irish in everyone.
New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The granddaddy of them all, Manhattan’s parade is more than a tradition. The grandest of parades, it has been marching up 5th Avenue for 253 consecutive years. The 2014 edition marches, clan by clan, from 44th to 79th Streets, on Monday, March 17, finishing about 2 or 3 p.m. Millions line the streets annually to see the some 150,000 marchers in this lively, boisterous
The parade begins at 8.30 a.m. with mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral, a traditional Catholic service to bless the parade. Walkers congregate at 44th Street and move off at about 11 a.m., led by the “Fighting 69” (an Irish infantry division which dates back to the American War of Independence), followed by the Grand Marshall John (Jack) T. Aher, business manager and financial secretary of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30, and a member of Molloy College’s Board of Trustees.
The best viewing spots are at the north end of the parade route. To avoid the crowds that pack the sidewalks below 59th Street, go anywhere north of 66th Street and Fifth Avenue to watch the action unfold. For a good view, try sitting on the upper steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For more information, visit www.nycstpatricksparade.org.
Rockville Centre Parade
Now in its 18th year, Rockville Centre’s St. Patrick’s Day parade brings out south shore residents for a joyous homage to Irish traditions. The Rockville Centre Parade Committee’s motto, “The Parade That Cares and Shares, “ reflects its commitment to not just only celebrating the community’s Irish heritage, but giving back. This year, the parade will raise funds for New Ground, the Angelman Syndrome Foundation and the Nassau County Feis Committee.
With Grand Marshal Sean O’Rourke, a longtime Rockville Centre resident and president of Coast-Line International Distributors Ltd, at the helm, the parade steps off at noon, on Saturday, March 22, at the corner of Maple Avenue and North Long Beach Road. As reported in last week’s Herald, the parade route has changed this year due to construction on Maple Avenue. This year’s parade will head north off Maple Avenue to Grand Avenue, before turning south to finish on Washington Street, just past St. Agnes Cathedral — its traditional end point. For more information on the Rockville Centre parade, visit www.rvcstpatrick.com.
Glen Cove Parade
The 26th St. Patrick’s Day parade, sponsored by the Glen Cove Hibernians, has grown to be the largest annual parade in Glen Cove and a civic celebration eagerly awaited by the region’s Irish community each year. It is regarded as one of the most colorful in the country, featuring a large number of pipe bands, marching bands and other attractions. This year’s festivities are held Sunday, March 23, at 1 p.m.
The heart of the parade, as always, is its exciting mix of marching groups who participate in this jubuliant event. A true community celebration, antique cars, motorcycles, twirlers, Scouts, Irish Dance Academies, and costumed performers, along with fire and police units, also take part. The parade forms behind the Finley Middle School on Forest Avenue. Led by Grand Marshal John O’Connell, Executive Editor of Herald Community Newspapers, it moves from the designated formation areas around Finley Middle School, weaving through the streets of the city, ending at St. Patrick’s Church, which is located at the corner of Glen Street and Pearsall Avenue.
If the weather cooperates, two to three thousand spectators are expected. For more information, visit www.glencoveirishparade.org.