St. Patrick's table and more

March 13, 2014

Today I have a green tablescape, some Irish poetry, and a little fashion tackiness to share, all in honor of St. Patrick. A couple of years ago, our book club read How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill, and it really helped me to appreciate more the contributions of the Irish to the world. St. Patrick, of course, brought Christianity to Ireland, but what I didn't know was how all the important documents and texts of the civilized world were safeguarded in Ireland as Rome fell and the western world descended into chaos and darkness in the fifth century. Monks and scholars in Ireland preserved and copied our written texts, and then sent out missionaries to spread light and learning throughout Europe during the early Middle Ages.  We owe quite a debt to those early Irish.

After a traditional American-Irish dinner of corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread, we'll have a little Irish coffee. These darling little mugs came from my mother-in-law. Faced with an enormous amount of stuff to sort through after she passed, I almost let these go. So glad I held onto them.

Fresh cream to whip is the best, but in a pinch, these shelf-stable boxes of whipping cream from Trader Joe's work quite nicely. They can always be on hand, ready for a quick treat. We have some single-serving coffees from our local grocer, in Irish Cream and Chocolate Mint flavors. A little bit of Bailey's if you like and some chocolate sprinkles, and there you go. 

The Irish are known for songs, poetry, and literature. Here is a lovely poem from an Irish poet of the 20th century.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake waters lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
                                                 -- W.B. Yeats

This poem reminds me of another little poem by an Irish poet about hearth and home. I love this little gem.

An Old Woman of the Roads
by Padraic Colum

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods upon the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!

To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day
Cleaning and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and shining delph!

Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there's never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house -- a house of my own --
Out of the wind's and the rain's way.

This is so poignant. And it sure makes me feel thankful to have a floor and a hearth to sweep, and dishes to arrange and display.

I love all things beautiful and elegant and lovely. But sometimes a little tackiness is just too much fun to miss. Here I am, sporting a little o' the green, with a little green hair extension sourced on the cheap at the local Walgreen's. Erin go Bragh!

Sharing with . . .

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  1. This is so pretty and I love the poems you shared of Yeats. I had not seen the second poem before. I knew that about that Irish, not because I read that book, but because I took an Art history course.

    I love your festive hair. ♧♣♧

  2. Your table is elegantly festive. Beautiful lace tablecloth. I'm also located in Michigan... Midland. Happy St. Patrick's Day!


  3. What a beautiful lace tablecloth!! Your place settings look fabulous against it. It looks like you will be having some good fun on St. Patrick's Day!

  4. This is a wonderful Irish tableau! I love the green accents in the vase and the ribbon and the shamrock coasters. Those glasses are terrific. I really enjoyed reading the poems, especially Yeats...a wonderful ending to your Irish dinner to accompany the Irish coffee.

    You should definitely try your local tea place (jumping to the comment you left on my blog--thanks by the way!). I had one near me that just closed in December. I loved walking in and seeing the different blends; she was always getting new blends in many of them seasonal.

  5. A fun post...lovely table! I did not know about the Irish preserving so much history, either, and that last poem is beautiful : :)

  6. What a great your napkin rings!

  7. What a special post! I love the poems you shared (such touching images) and your table is absolutely lovely. Your dishes, napkins and napkin rings come together so beautifully. And, those glass cups are definitely keepers! This was a great way to start my day! Rosie @ The Magic Hutch
    P.S. Thanks for the tip about the whipped cream! I shop at TJ and never saw this great product to have on hand! Rosie @ The Magic Hutch

  8. Wow, what a gorgeous table setting for St. Pat's! I love the Green transferware dishes and the napkins with your ribbin rings is awesome! The glass cups are awesome! Now, your lace tablecloth is swoonnnn!!!! Thanks for popping in to visit me sweet friend. My grands left today, I miss them already!

  9. I love the tacky green hair adornment and the poems struck a chord in my heart. Beautiful table-setting.

  10. Such a beautiful table, Deborah--I love the little coffee focus. I might need to do something similar tonight when Bob and I are relaxing! I love your poetry selections!! I taught English Comp for a couple of years not too long ago and it gave me a deeper love and appreciation for it. We visited Ireland in '09 and saw the Book of Kells (pretty amazing) and visited Loch Lean (Isle of Learning) where the Annals of Innisfallen are said to have been written. I only learned about the importance of Irish Christianity because we visited. I'm going to have to check out How the Irish Save Civilization :)

  11. Beautiful table, Deborah. Loving all the green this week...and that vase holding the pretty pink tulips is just gorgeous!
    Have a great weekend.

  12. Dear Deborah, thank you for your kind visit and comment at Thistle Cove Farm; I followed you home. The poems are beautiful and love them both. May I have permission to use the Woman poem at some time? In November I was in Ireland for two weeks and visited Trinity College and the Book of Kells. God has blessed me wonderfully...I've visited the Magna Carta, the Gutenberg Bible and now, the Book of Kells.
    BTW, St. Patrick's Breastplate is my offering for St. Patrick's Day.

  13. This is a great post! I love the poems, especially the last one. It does remind us to be thankful for our blessings. Lovely table, too. Sounds like you'll have a great St. Patty's Day! We're just having Reuben sandwiches this evening. Can't do all that corned beef and cabbage. We'd have to eat it for days afterward!! Enjoy!

  14. What a wonderful time you had! Love the touch of green in your hair. We had plans for a green family dinner and cancelled because of too much sickness going on. Boo-hoo! Next year, I guess. Thanks for sharing with SYC.


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