On March 17th, people around the world celebrate Irish culture and heritage on St. Patrick's Day. Whether you've already got your house decked out in green or you'd just like to read a few Irish poems in celebration, today's themed teatime will give you lots of ideas. So let's dig in!
[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases,
Poetry Teatime receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]
Ireland is an island filled with stories, poems, and songs. Its literature spans the beauties of nature as well as the island's own history of conflict.
As you start to read more Irish poetry, you'll spot this tension again and again: nature is beautiful and should be celebrated, but there's also pain and suffering in recent memory that needs to be remembered.
If you aren't familiar with Ireland's history of conflict, you should take a look at the history of "The Troubles" between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which lasted throughout much of the 20th century and is still fresh in memory today. You can read more here at the Irish Story.
Now, let us "arise and go" like W.B. Yeats in his lovely poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" and begin our teatime.
Here are a few lines from the poem to start us off.
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning...
With all that said, let's dive in to some teatime treats and activities for St. Patrick's Day!
St. Patrick's Day Teatime
- Irish breakfast tea: Did you know that English, Irish, and Scottish breakfast teas are all slightly different? While all three are strong, Scottish tea is the usually strongest, followed by Irish. Irish tea also has a reddish color and malty flavor, and it goes well with some Irish (or regular) milk!
- Irish Barmbrack cake: Although this fruity cake is usually eaten during the holidays, it's a traditional Irish recipe that adds a nice touch to a St. Patrick's Day celebration. Find the recipe here from AllRecipes!
- Irish scones: Enjoy a teatime treat the Irish way with this recipe from the Kitchn. There are endless options for variations, too!
- Shamrock cookies: If you can find a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter, then whipping up these treats is a breeze! Just use your favorite sugar cookie recipe, like this one from Katrina's Kitchen.
- Green, green, and more green: You can't celebrate St. Patrick's Day without some green decorations! You can get a cheap green tablecloth from your local dollar store, or use green construction paper to cut out shamrocks for the table.
- Piles of gold: Legend has it that there's a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Bring the rainbow to your table by scattering chocolate coins, construction paper coins, or plastic gold coins from a party supply store across the table!
- Don't forget to wear green: No St. Patrick's Day teatime would be complete without everyone wearing at least a little bit of green. Don't be left out of the fun!
- Shamrock hunt: This activity may require a little bit of advanced prep. Cut out three-leaf and one four-leaf clover from construction paper. Then, play hide and go seek for clover hidden around the house! Bonus: award a prize like chocolate coins to the person who finds the four-leaf clover.
- Concrete poetry with shamrocks: Try writing a poem on the clover you found during the shamrock hunt. Remember, a concrete poem is written in the shape of that object, which connects the shape to the meaning!
- Trace your ancestry: Irish heritage common across the US, but even if you don't have any Irish background, this is a great opportunity to research your ancestry! Family Tree Magazine has a great list of tips for beginners, starting with talking to your older relatives about their memories.
So let's go celebrate Ireland with some poetry! If you celebrate a St. Patrick's Day teatime in your house, be sure to send us pictures here and you may receive a free literature resource.
Reading Irish Poetry
Poems to Read
- "The Wild Swans at Coole" by W.B. Yeats
- "Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats
- Two perspectives on the 1916 Easter Rising: "Easter, 1916" by W.B. Yeats, which has a more negative view, and "Easter Week" by Joyce Kilmer which sees the uprising in a positive light
- "Blackberry-Picking" by Seamus Heaney
- "Digging" by Seamus Heaney
- "A Cradle Song" by Padraic Colum
- "The Lost Land" by Eavan Boland
The Moon Spun Round: W.B. Yeats for Children, edited by Noreen Doody
Poetry for Young People: William Butler Yeats, edited by Jonathan Allison
Irish Poems: A Collection for Children, by Fiona Waters
A Child’s Treasury of Irish Rhymes, edited by Alice Taylor