Lent began on March 1 and will last for the next 40 days. For the next month, there will be lots of people who have set aside beer, bread, soda, salt, and chocolate. But on St. Patrick’s Day, lenten restrictions are lifted so that people can partake in the celebration of the patron saint of Ireland! St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other holiday, with the celebration as we know it today proliferated more by the Irish diaspora than by the country of Ireland. Major parades for St. Patrick’s Day started in the United States in the 1700s and, by the 1900s, had became so popular that they became part of the celebration back in the motherland.
Did you know that corned beef is not a traditional food of Ireland? Irish immigrants in New York found salted beef to be a cheaper substitute to bacon, which was traditional holiday food. Did you know that Irish soda bread, as seen in the U.S., is not the way that it is traditionally eaten in Ireland? We usually see it with currants or raisins in it, but the addition of fruit was only reserved for special occasions, and then it was called tea bread. And in reality, St. Patrick probably had nothing to do with shamrocks, though the three-leafed plant does present a nice symmetry with the saint’s teaching of the Holy Trinity. Much like the parades, these American customs have become so synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day that many tourists now expect to find them in Ireland, and so these traditions have flowed across the Atlantic.
If you’re planning on cooking a big Irish feast, stop by the Boston Public Market to pick up all the ingredients you need for a traditional celebration. And since everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, try drowning the shamrock at one of the restaurants listed below. Don’t know what that means? Ask a bartender at any of the pubs you visit next weekend, and I’m sure they’ll help you out.
St. Patrick’s Day specials at the Boston Public Market until March 17th
Chestnut Farms: Taking special orders for fresh brisket through 3/11, or take advantage of their Brisket and Bangers sale: $2 off/lb for brisket and $1off/lb for bangers
Peterman’s Boards and Bowls: From now until 3/12, reach into their Pot of Gold and pick a coin for a chance to receive a 5%-20% discount on products
Stillman Quality Meats: Pre-order your corned beef by 3/10 and get $2 off/lb
Red Apple Farm: Try some of their Irish Cream Fudge
George Howell Coffee: GHC has an Irish Cream Latte available all month
Red’s Best: Guinness-battered fish and chips with pub style malt vinegar served on 3/17
Sweet Lydia’s: For March only, Stout and Pretzel Caramels, and Stout and Pretzel Marshmallows
Taza Chocolate: 10% off their green packaged products, including green marshmallows and whipped cream!
Looking to dine out for a traditional Irish meal? Try one of these restaurants in Boston.
The Kinsale – This restaurant was actually built in Ireland and shipped to Boston. They’ve got live music, a great bar, and a good location in Government Center. Try the Asgard Burger made with real Irish cheddar.
The Black Rose – They have live Irish music every day of the year, a full Irish menu and plenty of Guinness. Order the Irish Breakfast with black and white pudding, or try the Shepherd’s Pie.
The Lansdowne Pub – Just like the pubs in Ireland, this pub is a meeting place where community can gather. Try the Bangers and Mash or the Irish Scrambler.