Shillelagh

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A shillelagh is a cudgel or club that’s usually made of blackthorn wood with a leather wrist strap affixed to a handle. The name “Shillelagh” possibly originated from the village of Shillelagh in County Wicklow, which at one time was surrounded by extensive oak forests. The shillelagh was the weapon used in Bataireacht, which is traditional Irish stick fighting prevalent in the 19th century. Shillelaghs are commonly confused with traditional blackthorn walking sticks as they are produced from the same wood. The blackthorn tree is sense with dark brown to black bark. Stiff branches cover spiny thorns and grows up to ten feet in height. Blackthorn wood is lightweight, but very sturdy. Irish folklore says that blackthorn hedges are a favorite home to fairy-folk.

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Circle of Life

Celtic music is, personally, consists of the most calming compositions in the world. I’ve been snooping around for some nice music and I fell in love with this song fairly quickly. It’s called “Circle of Life” and is an orginal composition by a man on YouTube who goes by AdrianvonZiegler. Here’s a link to his channel to see all of his compositions. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

http://www.youtube.com/user/AdrianvonZiegler?feature=watch

Irish Cabbage Rolls

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Ingredients:

– 1 Medium Head Cabbage

-1-1/2 Cups Chopped Onion, Divided

– 1 Tablespoon Butter

– 2 Cans Stewed Tomatoes (14-1/2 ounces each)

– 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced

– 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

– 1-1/2 Teaspoons Salt, Divided

– 1 Cup Cooked Rice

– 1/4 Cup Ketchup

-2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

– 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

– 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef (99%)

– 1/4 Pound Bulk Sausage

– 1/2 Cup V8 Juice, Optional

 

In an oven, cook cabbage in boiling water for 10 minutes or until outer leaves are tender.  Drain.  Rinse in cold water.  Drain.  Remove 8 large outer leaves.  Set aside.  Refrigerate remaining cabbage for another use.  Sautee one cup of onions in butter in a large saucepan until tender.  Add tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the rice, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, pepper, and remaining onions and salt.  Crumble sausage and beef over mixture and mix well.  Remove thick vein from cabbage leaves.  Place about a 1/2 cup of the meat mixture on each cabbage leaf.  Fold in the sides.  Starting at an unfolded edge, roll up leaf to completely enclose filling.  Place in skillet seam side down.  Top with the sauce.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat for an hour.  Add V8 juice if desired.  Reduce heat to low.  Cook for 20 minutes longer or until the rolls are heated through and a thermometer comes out at 160 degrees.

Ireland’s Official Color

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Well as St. Patrick’s Day is getting closer a common misconception has come to mind: Ireland’s offical color. Usually, you wear green on St. Patrick’s day to represent Ireland, however St. Patrick’s flag was blue, as is Ireland’s official color. Here’s a nice little fun fact and a small idea:  my sister and I are wearing blue on St. Patrick’s day instead of green, are you?

Blarney Stone Bars

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Ingredients:
– 1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
– 3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
– 2 Eggs
– 1 Tablespoon Milk
– 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
– 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
– 3/4 Cup Quick-Cooking Oats
– 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
– 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
– 3/4 Cup English Toffee Bits
– 1/3 Cup Chopped Pecans
– Green Food Coloring
– 3/4 Cup Vanilla Frosting

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until they are light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Combine the flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add them to the creamed mixture. Fold in the toffee bits and pecans. Spread the mixture into a 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350 for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the bars on a wire rack. Add food coloring to the frosting and spread over the bars. Cut into a diamond shape and enjoy!

The Nine Glens of Antrim

The Coast Road begins at Larne as you drive north through the Glens of Antrim to the Giant’s Causeway. You can enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. The Glens of Antrim, a land of folklore and fairies, are famous in legend and song, with each of the nine Glens having their own distinct character and charm.

Glenarm
glenarm
– Gleann Arma, Glen of the Army
Glenarm Forest Park and Glenarm Castle with it’s walled Gardens make Glenarm a wonderful place to visit. The castle is only open to visitors a few days each year, but the forest park and walled gardens are open all year round.

Glencloy
glencloy
– Gleann Cloiche, Glen of the Hedges
Glencloy meets the sea at the pretty harbour town of Carnlough, and here you’ll find another beautiful beach. There are views of Slemish mountain from the glen, where it’s said that St. Patrick spent the early part of his live in slavery, herding sheep until he escaped to Wales.

Glenariff
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– Gleann Aireamh, Arable or Fertile Glen
The best-known of the nine, known as the “Queen of the Glens”. A classic example of a U shaped glacier valley, and also a perfect example of a glen divid into ladder farms, (with each farm taking some good land near the river, and some mountain land higher up the valley. The glen meets the sea at Waterfoot and the beautiful beach there. At the top of the glen the picturesque waterfalls and forest walks are an absolute must see.

Glenann
Ossian's_Grave_dolmen_Glenaan_County_Antrim
– Gleann Athain, Glen of the Colt’s Foot or Rush Lights
The most famous spot is Ossian’s grave, and there’s also the bleak but beautiful Cushendall-Ballymoney mountain road.

Glencorp
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– Gleann Corp, Glen of the Slaughtered
A fierce battle was fought in the area of the middle glens (Glen Ballyeammon to Glendun) in 1559 between the McDonnells and the MacQuillans. The MacQuillans had cavalry, but before the battle the McDonnells dug pits in the boggy land and covered them with heather and grass. The mounted soldiers fell in to the trap and so the McDonnells won the Battle of the Boglands.

Glendun
Glendun
– Gleann Abhann Duinne, Glen of the Brown River
A beautiful glen leading to the white sandy beach at Cushendun, there’s a beatiful riverside / forest walk through the glen, and many points of interest. Nearby at Torr head is the closest point in Ireland to Scotland and Cushendun was formerly an important port. The town used to have the smallest pub in the world, but they extended it.

Glenshesk
Glenshesk
– Gleann Seisce, Glen of Reeds or Sedges
On the other side of Knocklayde from Glentaisie, this glen also leads down to Ballycastle and just before the town lie the ruins of the Franciscan Friary of Bunamargy, built for the friars by the local chieftain, Rory MacQuillan in 1485. As a result of a few fierce battles it became the property of the MacDonnell Clan who had no qualms about setting fire to the friary when it was occupied by the English forces under the command of Sir William Stanley in 1584. Throughout the glen there are many standing stones marking the burial places of saintly men and women and clan leaders killed in battle. A castle in Drumenia is called after Goban Saoer, celebrated in local folklore as the icon of builders and artisans.

Glentaisie
Glentaisie
– Gleann Taise, Princess Taisie’s Glen, (Princess of Rathlin Island)
A beautiful sheltered lying in the shadow of Knocklayde mountain. Leads down to the mile long golden beach at the beautiful historic town of Ballycastle.

Glenballyeamon
Glenballyemon
– Gleann Baile Éamainn, The Glen of Edwardstown
Leads down to Cushendall and at the centre of the nine glens. There’s also the site of an ancient axe factory on Tievebulliagh mountain. The mountain was formed from a volcanic plug, the intense heat generated by molten basalt has given rise to the formation of a durable flint, porcellanite, which is found at the foot of the eastern scree slope of the mountain. An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. Flint axe heads fashioned from porcellanite that originate from this quarry have been found across the British Isles, from the Outer Hebrides to the south coast of England and across the rest of Ireland. The scenery of the glen includes Trostan, the highest mountain in Antrim, boggy mountain tops, gently sloped hills, rushing waterfalls, pasture land, forests and the winding GlenBallyeamon river. Dominating the Glen is the long Lurigedan mountain, which takes a couple of hours to climb, but is well worth the effort. There are beautiful views of Scotland and the Scottish Isles.