Cook Your Own Colcannon

Master the mix of potatoes and greens with this traditional Irish dish

For many people, there is no wrong way to eat a potato. They can be enjoyed boiled, baked, fried, or creamed. However, the Irish have long been known for adding a bit of flavor to this popular vegetable. Depending on the occasion, the menu, the seasonality, and the availability of herbs, numerous versions of colcannon—a dish of boiled potatoes and cabbage—have been created. And, the consensus seems to be this: there’s no wrong way to make colcannon. Here’s our recipe for a tried-and-true version.

Traditional Colcannon


5 small- or medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled
2 cups of cabbage or kale, finely chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup of milk (add or reduce based on desired consistency)
1 stick of butter, quartered + 4 pats for serving
salt and pepper to taste



Place the potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow them to boil for 20 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the potatoes are boiling, prepare a second pot to boil the cabbage. Allow it to boil over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

Use a potato masher to crush the potatoes to your desired size and consistency. While the potatoes and cabbage are still warm, combine with all other ingredients in a large bowl—adding the milk slowly based on your desired consistency. If necessary, add more milk.

Scoop a serving of colcannon into a bowl and serve with a pat of butter pushed into its center.

Do you add other spices, herbs, or vegetables? Tell us how you make your version of colcannon.

Hitting the Right Notes: How the Harp Has Made Its Mark on Ireland

The harp has enjoyed longstanding prestige in Ireland. From the time when the Celts first came to Ireland to the late 18th century harpists, had an honorable place among musicians. Perhaps this can be attributed not only to the stringed-instrument’s melodious sounds but also to its age: Of all the musical instruments known today, the harp stand outs as one of the first to be created. It is believed that it was originally developed by modifying a hunting bow. It was also typically associated with the upper class who would have harpists come to their homes to play. Moreover, the instrument is often associated with Christianity and the angels who were depicted as harpists.

This level of honor and exposure helped to make it a symbol in Ireland. In the 16th century a picture of a harp was placed on the country’s currency by Henry VIII of England, who is said to have been a fan of the harp’s alluring music.

Today, the harp is Ireland’s national emblem and remains a symbol that many identify with the country, with scenes of harpists on hillsides often coming to mind. Along with these bucolic notions, it is also found in the logo for Ireland’s most well-known beverage, Guinness, and has even been trademarked by the government of Ireland—furthering its notoriety as a source of national pride.

Want to display a harp symbol in your own home? This Tower Centerpiece was created by famed Belleek Pottery as a part of their 160th Anniversary Collection. It features traditional Irish icons including the harp, shamrocks, a stone tower, and the Celtic cross. The limited edition piece is marked with a special anniversary stamp.



Informational source: International Harp Museum,

5 Irish Castles to Know

Check out five of Ireland’s must-see castles

Carrickfergus Castle


Both the age and architecture of Carrickfergus Castle make it a must-see among Ireland castles. Work began on the structure in 1177 and it was garrisoned for 750 years. The landmark, which is one of the best-preserved medieval structures in the country is located on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. The castle grounds and building are currently open year-round for viewing.

Dunluce Castle


You may have heard the tale of this castle’s kitchen—along with its staff—falling into the waters of the Antrim coast above which this residence was built. While there are debates on the validity of this story, one thing is for certain: the site seems to hang on the local crags, coming dangerously close to sliding into the water. This medieval castle, which is now in ruins, is said to have been built in 1513. The site is open for guests to view for a small fee.

Johnstown Castle


Also home to the Irish Agricultural Museum, which is housed in the former estate farm buildings, this castle is a day destination for the entire family. The castle itself dates back to the 19th century and features exquisite gardens, three onsite lakes, waterfalls, statues, and a family of peacocks. While the interior of the castle is not presently open to the public, the grounds and museum are open year-round, seven days a week.

Malahide Castle


One of the oldest castles in Ireland, Malahide dates back to the late 12th century. Set on 260 acres, the site was home to the Talbot family for more than 800 years. Through the years, towers, turrets, and wings have been added to the original design. The castle and gardens are currently available for tours. In addition, many seasonal events are held onsite for locals and tourists to enjoy.

Doonagore Castle


This castle is a bit different in terms of its architecture and purpose. The site consists of a round tower, which serves as a navigational marker for boats approaching nearby Doolin Pier, and a walled courtyard with a bucolic feel. This particular castle was built in the 16th century, but prior to that another stood in its place on the site. Doonagore was purchased and renovated by an Irish American in the 1970s and remains a private holiday home that is not open to the public at the present time.

Favorite Irish Sayings

Proverbs and adages have a way of sticking with us—particularly if they come from a trusted source. The Irish have long been known as one of these sources when it comes to wisdom, hope, and a bit of humor. These eight sayings are just a few of the well-known favorites.

  • “May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.”

While the origin of this saying is uncertain, its sentiment is an expression that is still used today as a lighthearted yet heartfelt wish between friends.

  • May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face.
    May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
    and until we meet again may the Lord
    hold you in the palm of his hand.

This Irish blessing is a well-known favorite for friends and acquaintances alike. Display the saying in your home with a plaque that can hang in the entry or a tea towel for the kitchen.


  • “You should never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

Sometimes the truth isn’t quite as interesting as the way you remember the story. Fishing buddies and golf partners are sure to like this plaque as much you.



  • “May your blessings outnumber
    The shamrocks that grow.
    And may trouble avoid you
    Wherever you go.”

This blessing is a favorite for those who are traveling or loved ones you don’t have the opportunity to see often.

  • “Life is like a cup of tea…
    It’s all in how you make it.”

While it may not be uniquely Irish, this saying seems to sum up the Ireland’s optimistic culture. This plaque can serve as a daily reminder to see the tea cup as half full.

  • “Now don’t be talking about yourself while you’re here.
    We’ll surely be doin’ that after you leave.”

Although many Irish sayings have a dash of humor, this has to be one of the more comical—and to the point—ones. Share the saying with a friend you love dearly.



  • “Continual cheerfulness is a sign of wisdom.”

It’s hard to argue with a saying that welcomes joy at all turns.

  • “May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell
    Bless every fireside every wall and door
    Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof
    Bless every hand that toils to bring it joy
    Bless every foot that walks its portals through
    May Brigid bless the house that shelters you.”

St. Brigid’s (a patron saint of Ireland) blessing is a favorite for housewarming gifts and your own home’s entryway.

Don’t see your favorite included in this list? Share it with us now!

Serve Traditional Corned Beef with Cabbage

Americans tend to associate corned beef with the Irish. It was, in fact, a huge export for Ireland during the late 17th – early 19th century; however, many accounts note that the Irish themselves were not as fond of the meat as their foreign counterparts. Either way, the traditional meat dish makes an excellent pairing with cabbage and vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. Find our simple recipe—along with a bread pairing idea—below.

Traditional Corned Beef with Cabbage


Corned Beef
3 lbs corned beef
spice packet (included in packaged corned beef)


1 head of cabbage, sliced into ½-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 new potatoes, quartered


Place the corned beef and spice packet in a Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 2 ½ hours.

Add the chopped vegetables. Return to a simmer and heat until all the vegetables are cooked—approximately 20-30 minutes. The salt from the corned beef will naturally season the broth and the vegetables. If you find the water is too salty, add more.

We suggest serving this comfort meal with soda bread—another Irish tradition. Try Katie Reilly’s Irish Soda Bread Mix for a simple addition to your meal.

The Father’s Day Gift Guide

He taught you how to ride a bicycle and later how to drive (scary as it was!). He has been there to cheer you on at soccer games, graduations, and promotions, and also pick you up during the hard times. Our dads mean the world to us. Show him how much you care this Father’s Day with a gift that is perfectly tailored to him.

If He Likes…Working with Gadgets

He’ll Love…An Irish Multi-Tool

If your dad is the “always-be-prepared” type, you can’t go wrong with a gift that keeps a knife, bottle opener, corkscrew, Phillips-head screwdriver, and more at his fingertips. This one is extra special because it also gives him the opportunity to showcase his Irish pride.

If He Likes…Hiking or Walking Through the Woods

He’ll Love…Blackthorn Walking Stick

Made from wood from Ireland’s blackthorn bushes, this walking stick can be both a memento and a practical tool. This particular version features a century-old design. Each three-foot stick is made from unique pieces, thus they all have their own natural variations and character.

If He Likes…Staying on Schedule

He’ll Love…A Celtic Design Pocket Watch

If he has an appreciation for classic design and historical pieces, your dad is sure to like the beauty and simplicity of this pocket watch. While the modern world may use phones and computers to track time, pocket watches have a special “timeless” allure that will continue to make them a favorite gift for years to come.

If He Likes…Drinking Beer

He’ll Love…This Guinness Bottle Opener and Catcher

When he’s enjoying a cold, smooth Guinness at home there’s nothing easier than using this bottle opener and cap catcher set. The shiny brass bottle opener mounts right to the wall above the metal cap catcher. Both are emblazoned with the Guinness logo so there’s no mistaking the house beer brand.

If He Likes…Indulging His Sweet Tooth

He’ll Love…Butlers Irish Whiskey Fudge

It’s his special day, so he deserves a treat—and there’s nothing like the taste of this smooth fudge that features a hint of Irish Whiskey. While you’re at it, give him permission to have more than one to celebrate!


Irish Green: What Does It Mean?

When you think of Ireland or the Irish, green likely comes to mind—and there’s good reason for that. From traditional shamrocks to hue-tinted St. Patrick’s Day treats, the color seems to appear everywhere. Have you ever wondered why? Here are a few of the top reasons why Ireland will have you seeing green.

The Countryside

Nicknamed “The Emerald Isle,” Ireland’s landscape is, well, green. The rolling landscape seems to be filled with every range of the color from light pea-green shades to rich jade hues. With the countryside being filled with the color, it’s only natural that it would carry over into all the things Irish.


The Shamrock

The aforementioned landscape no doubt contains a seemingly infinite amount of shamrocks. These first became noteworthy when St. Patrick used shamrocks to explain the holy trinity to the Celts in an effort to convert them to Catholicism. Since that time they have become a badge of Irish pride, thus their brilliant green can be seen wherever they are used.

The Flag

The green in Ireland’s tricolor flag is meant to represent Ireland’s Catholic heritage and nationalism, while the orange represents the protestant minority. The white between the two represents peace. Thus, the green is a source of pride, making it all the more popular.

Irish Wedding Traditions

The covenant of marriage is a sacred one—special because of the proclamation of love, the commitment made before God, and—of course—the Irish traditions that accompany the ceremony. As wedding season comes into full swing, we’re brushing up on several of our favorite Irish wedding traditions.


Wearing The Claddagh Ring

Claddagh rings are an icon that is  symbolic of love, friendship, and fidelity in Ireland. The tradition is for single women to wear the ring on their right hand with the crown turned inward. When you are in a relationship, the ring is flipped to have the crown face outward. When a woman becomes engaged, the ring moves to her left hand. On this hand it means “Let Love and Friendship reign forever, never to be separated.”


Have you wondered where the phrase “tying the knot” originated? It comes from this Irish practice, which literally means to bind the hands—or wrists—of the bride and groom together, thus uniting them. Originally, the man and woman were bound for a period of time, and at its end they could decide to separate or go into a lifelong union.

Incorporating Bagpipes or a Harp

Both the harp and the bagpipe have Celtic roots .The harp served as Ireland’s national emblem for a number of years, and bagpipes are still a popular part of the culture today. Having a harpist or bagpiper at your ceremony can add historical Irish flair to the celebration.

Ringing Wedding Bells

Bells have a couple of meanings in Irish marriages. First, ringing bells on a couple’s wedding day is said to keep any evil spirits away from the sacred vow of marriage and bring good luck and fortune to the couple. Secondly, they have a slightly everyday application that many couples—Irish or not—still use. “Makeup bells,” as they are known, are meant to be rung by one spouse when a couple has an argument. When the bell rings, they must makeup and forget the quarrel. For both of these reasons, bells make a popular gift for Irish brides and grooms.

What are some of your favorite Irish wedding traditions?

Explore the Wild Atlantic Way

What is the Wild Atlantic Way?

If you haven’t been to Ireland in the last three years, you may not be familiar with this term. The Wild Atlantic Way is a stretch of 2,500km or (roughly 1,500 miles) that runs along the western or Atlantic coast—hence the name. The Ireland tourist industry touted it as “the world’s longest defined coastal route.” In addition to the route itself, there are hundreds of built-in attractions from Downpatrick Head to Blasket Island—along with plenty of delectable dishes at local restaurants and enough festivals and events to give you something to celebrate almost every day of the year.

Where exactly is this located?

The route stretches from Donegal in Northern Ireland to southern Cork by meandering down the western coastline.


Valentia Island in Country Kerry, Ireland


What’s the best way to see the Wild Atlantic Way?

The best way to see (and experience) the Wild Atlantic Way is your way. You can start at the northern-most point and follow the trail south, or you can simply visit different areas based on what you enjoy and what your time allows. There’s no wrong way to see the Wild Atlantic Way!

 What are some of the things you can do there?

The vast expanse is broken into six regions: the Northern Headlands, the Surf Coast, the Bay Coast, the Cliff Coast, the Southern Peninsulas, and the Haven Coast. Based on what you enjoy, here are a few of our picks.


Rent a car and drive as much (or as little) of the trail as you like. With forests, beaches, mountains, headlands, and more, there’s plenty to see as you wind your way down the coast.


Focus your time on a three-and-a-half hour route that begins in Ballyshannon and ends in Erris Head. Billed as the Wild Atlantic Way’s “Surf Coast Driving Route,” this Northern Ireland stretch offers waves for both beginners and seasoned surfers.


Rent a convertible and choose one (or more!) of the amazing road trip driving routes suggested by the National Tourism Development Authority. Click here to view suggested routes.

BONUS: If you like making memories and getting a little credit along the way, pick up a Wild Atlantic Passport. Participating post offices along the route offer these passports, which can be stamped at 188 signature points on the trail. Collect the stamps as you follow the route and you’ll have a book of memories to recount your travels once you return home. Learn more at

To learn more about this area of Ireland, visit their official travel,

Have Your Cake and Drink It, Too

Guinness; it’s not just for drinking any more. As part of a continued trend, chefs and confectioners are incorporating the beloved Irish beer into everything from bread to lamb stew.

Since Arthur Guinness began tinkering with ales in the late 1750s and then eventually focused on porters at the end of the century, the Irish have been enjoying the fruits of his labor. Today, the beer not only has a name in Ireland but around the globe. Perhaps it is this popularity that is spurring a movement to the kitchen. To try the trend for yourself, indulge in this easy-to-create cake.

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Classic Cream Cheese Icing


Guinness Cake
1 (12 oz.) bottle Guinness
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
2 cups sugar
¾ cup baking cocoa
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup sour cream
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Cream Cheese Icing
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
chocolate shavings, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350°F. Flour and butter two 8-inch round cake pans. Over medium-low heat, warm the beer and butter until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar and baking cocoa until blended.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Add this mixture into the beer mixture, stirring to combine. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add these dry ingredients to the wet, stirring to combine. Pour the batter into the two cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the cake’s center comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove from pan and continue cooling on a wire rack.

While the cake cools, make the icing. Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth (do not over-beat).

Ice the cooled cake and garnish with chocolate shavings.