Tag: Ireland

Soda Bread Recipe

Soda Bread, Photo by Jmorton

Soda Bread, Photo by JMorton

Soda Bread Recipe


Soda Bread is an Irish bread.  Delicious smothered in real butter.  Perfect accompaniment for meat stews to soak up all the lovely gravy off your plate.  Yum.

The recipe below is adapted by a Tesco recipe.

Soda Bread Recipe


  • 500g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 284ml pot buttermilk

Method of Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C/Fan 180°C.
  • Tip the flours, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Then use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until evenly dispersed.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour and stir in the buttermilk until you get a soft dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead for 1 min until smooth, then bring together to form a flattened round about 5cm thick and 15cm across.
  • Place on a lightly dusted baking sheet. Dust with a little plain flour if you like. Use a large sharp knife to cut 2 slashes across the bread to make an ‘x’. Bake in the oven for 35 – 40mins until well-risen and browned. Place on a wire rack and leave to cool.

Celebrate St George’s Day -23 April

Have a Happy Saint George’s Day for those in England 🙂
St George - British by birth,, English by grace of god
Sadly St George’s Day no longer attracts as much attention in England as does St David’s Day for Wales, St Patrick’s Day for Ireland or St Andrew’s Day for Scotland.

A recent survey found only 40 per cent were able to identify St George’s Day as falling on April 23, compared with 71 who could give July 4 as the American national holiday and 42 per cent who knew that March 17 was the Irish one.

A Think Tank called British Future which looks at identity and integration and carried out the survey, says the results suggest many English people are too “nervous” to celebrate St George’s Day.

It cites concerns among many that national symbols like the St George’s Cross flag may be interpreted as racist by others, and that celebration of the national saint’s day could upset ethnic minority groups. It also accused politicians failing to “engage” with the concept of Englishness, to help to promote more pride in it.

Flag of St.George England

Flag of St.George England

Celebrate St George’s Day -23 April

Also I think that the English character is not given to open displays of pride we just carry on. However, many of us will wear a rose flower badge with pride to celebrate the day today :).

The legend is that St George travelled to Libya where he met a poor hermit who told him that a dragon terrorised the country. The dragon demands a beautiful maiden to be sacrificed everyday until daughter of the king remains as the last sacrifice. The king said that if anyone can rescue his daughter her hand will be given in marriage.

Sabra, the princess was being led to the place of “death” when George took her back and persuaded to return to her palace. He then entered the dragon’s valley where the dragon attacked George. George struck the dragon with a spear which broke as the dragon was covered with hard impenetrable scales.

The dragon’s venom was going to poison George as he fell from his horse. Luckily he managed to roll under an enchanted orange tree, against which poison would not work. After he regained his strength George struck the beast with his sword to no avail; the dragon poured poison on him and his armour which split in two.

George refresh himself again from the magic orange tree. With his sword, he rushed at the dragon and pierced it under its wing where there were no scales. George was able to kill the dragon.

We do not know if he settled down with Sabra.


The possible real George is believed to be born in Turkey, living in the 3rd century AD. His parents were Christians and George became a Roman soldier at the age of 17. He joined the Roman Army and was renowned for his valour and bravery.

Although he served under pagan emperor, Diocletian, George did not forget his Christian faith. However the emperor persecuted Christians. St George pleaded with the emperor to save their lives but he was ignored and Diocletian tried to make St George deny his Christian faith by torture.

St George showing incredible courage and faith would not renounce his faith and was beheaded in Palestine on 23 April 303 AD.

In 1222, the Council of Oxford replaced St Edmund, the martyr as England’s patron saint. St George is also the patron saint of several countries including part of Spain, Ethiopia, Greece, Palestine and Russia.

St Melangell

St Melangell

St Melangell

This is from Wikipedia:  “Her legend relates that she was the daughter of an Irish monarch, who had determined to marry her to a nobleman of his court.

The princess had vowed celibacy. She fled from her father’s dominions and took refuge in this place, where she lived fifteen years without seeing the face of a man.

Brochwel Yscythrog, Prince of Powys, being one day a hare hunting, pursued his game till he came to a great thicket; when he was amazed to find a virgin of surpassing beauty, engaged in deep devotion, with the hare he had been pursuing under her robe, boldly facing the dogs, who retired to a distance howling, notwithstanding all the efforts of the sportsmen to make them seize their prey.

Even when the huntsman blew his horn, it stuck to his lips. Brochwel heard her story, and gave to God and her a parcel of lands, to be a sanctuary to all that fled there. He desired her to found an abbey on the spot.

She did so, and died abbess at a good old age. She was buried in the neighbouring church, called Pennant, and from, her distinguished by the addition of Melangell.

Her hard bed is shown in the cleft of a neighbouring rock. Her tomb was in a little chapel, or oratory, adjoining to the church, and now used as a vestry room.

This room is still called ‘ Cell-y-bedd.’ or the Cell of the Grave.

Her reliques as well as her image have been long since removed; but 1 think the last is still to be seen in the churchyard.

The legend is perpetuated by some crude wooden carving of the Saint, with numbers of hares scuttling to her for protection. She properly became their Patroness. They were called ‘ Wyn Melangell’ (St. Monacella’s Lambs.)”


The beautiful church dedicated to St Melangell still stands near the Snowdonia National Park.  The church imbues peace that many believe that it is one of the holiest shire/church in Britain today.


Pennant Melangell 2 Pennant Melangell

St Patrick Day Celebration

Saint Patrick (with Shamrock)

Saint Patrick (with Shamrock)

St Patrick was born in England; it was then the west coast of Romano- Britain.

Calpurnius, his father, was a Roman citizen who was a deacon.  His mother, Consessa, gave him a Roman name, Patricius.  His modern Irish Gaelic name is Pádraig.  He is affectionally called ‘St Paddy’ too!

With  his father being a Christian deacon, Patricius was brought up in the faith.

When he was in his teens, while his parents were away, a group of Irish raiders ransacked his family estate.   Patricius together with the servants were abducted and taken to Ireland by the raiders.

Patrick became a slave in Ireland; his master was kind, thus Patricius served him well for six long years.

At that time, Ireland was not a predominately a Christian country.  Many still had pagan beliefs and worshipped the sun etc.  The Druids, an ancient celtic priesthood practised rites involving the oak tree and  the mistletoe and there could have even been human sacrifices.

His religious fervour started in Ireland.  In a dream, he heard a voice telling him that it was time for him to leave and go back to England.  This, he took seriously and plotted his escape.

He came across a trading vessel and he was hired as a crew.  For three days they sailed until they landed in an unknown country.  They then travelled on foot for almost a month.  Their provisions were gone.  The people in the party, whom Patrick said were heathen, taunted him to ask his God for food.  Patrick calmly told them “Nothing is impossible to the Lord my God.  Turn to him truly, that he may send you food in your path this day till ye are filled, for he has plenty in all places.”

Soon after,  a drove of pigs appeared before them, the hungry crewmen slaughtered enough pigs to satiate their hunger.  It was believed that the unnamed country was France and that they were in the  Bordeaux region.

When Patrick  arrived back in Britain, he was greeted warmly.

He studied at a monestary and was ordained in 417.

Patrick never forgot Ireland.  He had a series of dreams encouraging and urging him to go back.

It was after he became a bishop that he finally answered the call of Ireland.

There was a legend of St Patrick that he drove all the snakes into the sea, thus Ireland was for many years snake-free.  Apparently this is more a symbolism  of converting the pagans into Christianity.

St Patrick did not bring Christianity to Ireland; there were already pockets of Christians in Ireland.  What St Patrick did was celebrate, inspire, organise and expand Christianity in Ireland.

Saint Patrick

St. Patrick’s Birthday.

Says he, “Boys, don’t be fighting for eight or for nine;
Don’t be always dividing—but sometimes combine;
Combine eight with nine, and seventeen is the mark,
So let that be his birthday.” “Amen,” says the clerk.
So they all got blind drunk—which completed their bliss,
And we keep up the practice from that day to this!

The  shamrock is the name given to the young sprigs of clover trefoil. It is known as a symbol of Ireland.  According to legend St Patrick used it as a metaphor for the Christian Trinity


Did you know?

The Chicago River is dyed green annually to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

St Patricks Day Chicago, The river is dyed green

St Patrick. stain glass window in St Benin’s Church, Kilbennan

st Paddy

“ST Patrick Payer


This day I call to me:

God’s strength to direct me,
God’s power to sustain me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s vision to light me,
God’s ear to my hearing,
God’s word to my speaking,
God’s hand to uphold me,
God’s pathway before me,
God’s shield to protect me…

Christ beside me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me. Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me,
Christ in my lying, my sitting, my rising,
Christ in the heart of all who know me,
Christ on the tongue of all who meet me,
Christ in the eye of all who see me,
Christ in the ear of all who hear me.

For my shield, this day, I call:
a mighty power:
the Holy Trinity!
affirming threeness,
confessing oneness
in the making of all – through love …”



St Patrick died on March 17  about 457 or 461 the exact date is unknown. It became  the feast day and celebration of St Patrick.

There was no formal canonization process in the Church during its first millennium. In the early years of the Church the title saint was bestowed first upon martyrs, and then upon individuals recognized by tradition as being exceptionally holy during their lifetimes.

To these days, many celebrations and street parades  are held in many places to commemorate  St Patrick

Ireland of course,  Great Britain(well he was English by birth!)  US – New York, Chicago etc., that have strong Irish connections through immigration.

The White House Washington DC celebrates with green water fountain!

Peter’s favourite colour is green and I like the emerald green which Ireland has it’s ‘national’ colour

London’s St Patrick’s Day Parade involves marching bands, floats, street theatre and more. All 32 Irish counties are represented, dressed in their traditional county colours. Other parade participants include members of London’s Irish community and other Londoners. The parade begins at Green Park at 12pm and will proceed through central London to Trafalgar Square. The event finishes at 6pm. Set to be one of London’s liveliest celebrations of the year, over 100,000 people attended last year’s event.

Trafalgar Square will host the festival programme of live Irish music and dance on the main performance stage, showcasing the best of Irish music and dance from traditional to contemporary.

London eye lit up in green for St Patricks Day

St Patrick’s Day, near Trafalgar Square, London



I dare say that during the day many glasses full of Guinness, Magners, and Jameson’s whiskey will go bottoms up 😉

Don’t see too many little green leprechauns 🙂

Enjoy the craic!



Chamber Pots






Yes folks the above chamber pots are Irish and yes again, it is decorated by a very severe looking William Gladstone, one time Prime Minister of Great Britain.

The Irish reviled  Gladstone because he wanted to pacify  & disestablish the minority Church of Ireland, to reform the land laws and to amend the university system to rectify Catholic grievance. The strategy was based on the belief that the Irish problem was not a demand for independence but an amalgam of social and religious complaints.

So  protesters  could express their protest and their  patriotism by pissing all over Gladstone.  LOL

Chamber pots (possibly from pot de chambre – French for pot in a room), a gazunder (likely a contraction of “goes under”), a piss pot, a potty, or a thunder pot) is a bowl-shaped container with a handle, and often a lid, kept in the bedroom under a bed or in the base of  cabinet or nightstand next to the bed.  chamber pots  are generally used as a toilet  at night. In Victorian times, some chamber pots would be built into a cabinets with a closable cover.

They were used in households that had no proper inside toilet on bedroom floors or the toilet was located outside next or near the home.  They could be decorative and ornate made of china, metal etc.Also when the weather was extremely cold, family members preferred to not wander from their bedrooms to the toilet. The maids in richer homes had the unedifying task in the mornings to attend the bedrooms and empty the pots into a larger bucket then carry it  and pour of down the  main toilet.

My husband’s family house in the early 1960s had a outside toilet next to the back door (later converted into an inside toilet) as a household chore, he would have to empty the family pots too 🙁

Early use of chamber  pots are recorded in ancient Greece  used in at least since the 6th century BC and were known under different names such as  ἀμίς (amis), – ouron, “urine”

The introduction of indoor toilets particularly near bedrooms(mainly in bathrooms)  started to displace chamber pots in the 19th century but such pots were in common use until the mid-20th century.

Chamber pots continue in use today in countries lacking indoor plumbing such as rural areas of China, and have been redesigned as the bed pan for use with the very ill.

In the UK and North America, the affectionate term “potty” is often used when discussing the toilet  with small children – such as during potty training . It is also usually used to refer to the small, toilet-shaped devices made especially for potty training, which are quite similar to chamber pots. These “potties” are generally a large plastic bowl with an ergonomically designed back and front to protect against splashes.

In the Philippines chamber pots are used as urinals and are commonly called arinola.

Today ornate Victorian chamber pots are sought after for antique value and other uses such as decorative flower pots

Especially in Britain jokes and humour about bodily functions are popular and we call toilet humour 😉


Victorian toilet with chamber pot (Sherlock Holmes Museum) Photo by Jean

Victorian toilet with chamber pot (Sherlock Holmes Museum) Photo by Jean


Humourrous pot!

humourous pot!

Legend has it that following a wedding the young men brought a chamber pot of onion soup for the newly weds. So as not to waken them they climbed a wall into the garden and in so doing they broke the chamber pot. The newly weds therefore never got the soup, but the name of the street was changed: the chamber pot was broken but not forgotten!

Unusual name of a street in St Etienne, France.  Legend has it that following a wedding the young men brought a chamber pot of onion soup for the newly weds. So as not to waken them they climbed a wall into the garden and in so doing they broke the chamber pot. The newly weds therefore never got the soup, but the name of the street was changed: the chamber pot was broken but its name not forgotten!



World’s happiest countries

Below is an interesting read.  Does it mean that the wealthy and leading nations are a bunch of saddos compared to the list below.  Does money and power make you sad? Is there a correlation?!!!  I supposed the leading nations are beyond being happy because they have the welfare of the world to shoulder.  Immigrants to look after and cater too as well as their own citizens.  The pressure is too much to bear!!!


World’s happiest countries

ForbesBy Chris Helmen | Forbes – Tue, Jan 15, 2013 6:32 PM EST

Norway tops the list of happiest countries in the world. (Photo: Torsten Laursen / Getty Images)

What does happiness mean to you? At its core it consists of being healthy, having enough food to feed yourself and your family and enough to money to do what you want and buy what you want. For most people that entails a nice home, decent clothes, a car or two, cable TV, good times with family and friends.
Furthermore, happiness means being able to speak what’s on your mind without fear, to worship the God of your choosing, and to feel safe and secure in your own home.
The World’s Happiest Countries:

1. Norway
2. Denmark
3. Sweden
4. Australia
5. New Zealand
6. Canada
7. Finland
8. The Netherlands
9. Switzerland
10. Ireland

Happiness means having opportunity – to get an education, to be an entrepreneur. What’s more satisfying than having a big idea and turning it into a thriving business, knowing all the way that the harder you work, the more reward you can expect?

With this in mind, six years ago researchers at the Legatum Institute, a London-based nonpartisan think tank, set out to rank the happiest countries in the world. But because “happy” carries too much of a touchy-feely connotation, they call it “prosperity.”

The objective of the institute’s work (which is part of billionaire Christopher Chandler’s Dubai-based Legatum Group) was to figure out what it is that makes happy countries happy – so that the less fortunate corners of the globe might have a benchmark to work toward.

The resulting Legatum Prosperity Index is based on a study of 142 countries comprising 96% of global population. Nations are analyzed and ranked on 89 indicators in eight categories, such as education, government and economics. The inputs for the index are both objective and subjective. It’s not enough to just look at per capita GDP or unemployment rates. It also matters how hard people think it is to find jobs, or how convinced they are that hard work can bring success.

The core conceit: Prosperity is complex; achieving it relies on a confluence of factors that build on each other in a virtual circle.

So who are the happiest people in the world, as measured by Legatum? Norway takes the crown, followed by Denmark and Sweden (which leapfrogged Australia and New Zealand this year). Rounding out the Scandinavians is Finland, just a few steps behind in the seventh spot.

Luxembourg is the healthiest nation on Earth. Iceland is the safest. Switzerland has the world’s best economy and governance, according to Legatum.

What’s Norway got that the rest of the world doesn’t? For one thing, a stunning per capita GDP of $57,000 a year. Norwegians have the second-highest level of satisfaction with their standards of living: Ninety-five percent say they are satisfied with the freedom to choose the direction of their lives; an unparalleled 74% say other people can be trusted. It sure doesn’t hurt that the massive Norwegian welfare state is bankrolled by high taxes and big reserves of offshore oil and gas.

Indeed, most of the top 20 “happiest” countries according to the index are in western Europe. So what gives? What do these nations have in common that can somehow explain their prosperity?

Being an electoral democracy is virtually a given – of the top 20 most prosperous countries, only Singapore and Hong Kong aren’t democracies. Being small also seems to help. Big countries with heterogeneous populations are more unwieldy; disparate groups make it harder for a society to build social cohesion and trust.

What else? They are all borderline socialist states, with generous welfare benefits and lots of redistribution of wealth. Yet they don’t let that socialism cross the line into autocracy. Civil liberties are abundant (consider decriminalized drugs and prostitution in the Netherlands). There are few restrictions on the flow of capital or of labor.

So where does the United States rank? It’s at 12th place this year, slipping from 10th. According to Legatum, the U.S. has slipped in the areas of governance, personal freedom, and most troubling, in entrepreneurship & opportunity. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, but Legatum notes “a decline in citizens’ perception that working hard gets you ahead.”

Irish Proverbs & Sayings

a dimple in the chin; a devil within.
– Irish
A full cabin is better than an empty castle.
– Ireland
An old moon’s mist never died of thirst.
– Ireland
A good word never broke a tooth.
– Ireland
A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.
~Irish Proverb
~ o ~
All sins cast long shadows.
– Irish Proverb

Beauty does not make the pot boil.
– Irish Proverb

Better be quarrelling than lonesome.
Bad as I like ye, it’s worse without ye.
~Irish Proverb
~ . ~
Beware of people who dislike cats.
– Ireland

Don’t give cherries to pigs or advice to fools.
~Irish Proverb
Every invalid is a physician.
– Irish

Everyone is wise until he speaks.
– Irish

~ . ~
Give your love to your wife and your secret to your mother.
– Ireland

God made time, but man-made haste.
~Irish Proverb
It is not the one way everyone goes mad.
– Ireland

Little said is easy mended; nothing said needs no mending.
– Ireland
May you get to Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.
~Irish Proverb
~ o ~
May the lines of love meet in your heart.
– Irish Blessing
~ o ~
Money swore an oath that nobody who did not love it should ever have it.
– Irish
One beetle Knows another.
– Ireland

One dog can’t fight.
– Ireland

Seeing’s believing – but feeling is God’s own truth.
– Irish

The first thread is not part of the yarn.
– Ireland
The biggest help is help, and even the smallest help is help.
– Ireland
Three kinds of men fail to understand women – young men, old men, and middle-aged men.
– Ireland

~ . ~

Who brings a tale takes two away.
~Irish Proverb

You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was. 
~Irish Proverb

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