Kermit the Frog Speaks About Being Green

It’s not easy “Bein’ Green.”

 

It’s not that easy being green;
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold-
or something much more colorful like that.

 

It’s not easy being green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water-
or stars in the sky.

 

But green’s the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like a mountain, or important like a river, or tall like a tree.

 

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder? Why Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful!
And I think it’s what I want to be.

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The Four-Leaved Shamrock

I’ll seek a four-leaved shamrock in all the fairy dells,
And if I find the charmed laves, or, how I’ll weave my spells!
I would not waste my magic might on diamond, pearl, or gold,
For treasure tires the weary sense, such triumph is but cold;
But I would play the enchanter’s part, in casting bliss around –
Oh! not a tear, nor aching heart, should in the world be found!large shamrock

To worth I would give honor! – I’d dry the mourner’s tears,
And to the pallid lip recall the smile of happier years,
And hearts that had been long estranged, and friends that had grown cold,
Should meet again – like parted streams – and mingle as of old;
Oh! thus I’d play the enchanter’s part, thus scatter bliss around,
And not a tear, nor aching heart, should in the world be found!

The heart that had been mourning o’er vanish’d dreams of love,
Should see them all returning – like Noah’s faithful dove,
And Hope should launch her bless’d bark on Sorrow’s darkening sea,
And Misery’s children have an ark, and saved from sinking be;
Oh! thus I’d play the enchanter’s part, thus scatter bliss around,
And not a tear, nor aching heart, should in the world be found!

by Samuel Lover
novelist, poet, musician and artist
born Dublin, 1797 – d. 1868

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Countdown to Irish Soda Bread

With Saint Patrick’s Day exactly one month away, let’s think a little about Irish Soda Bread.

 

Bread soda was introduced in the early 1800s and it suddenly meant that people who didn’t have an oven—and virtually nobody had an oven then—could make soda bread. They cooked the bread in what’s called a bastible—a big cast-iron pot with a lid on it that would have been put right onto the coals or onto the turf fire. The great thing about soda is that it was not so perishable and it would have been relatively inexpensive. And they would have had buttermilk from the cows [old-fashioned buttermilk is a by-product of making butter] and they would have been growing wheat, so they would have had flour.- Rory O’Connell

 

For more information on the history and preparation of Traditional Irish Soda Bread as created by our ancestors, visit THE SOCIETY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF IRISH SODA BREAD

 

 

It’s only fitting to share a recipe from Ina Garten, She actually worked in the White House on nuclear energy policy (of all things), but these days she’s better know as “The Barefoot Contessa“.

 

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup dried currants

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

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The Irish Rovers: Bells Over Belfast

Bells Over Belfast by The Irish Rovers

 

All band members hail from Ireland, however The Irish Rovers formed in Toronto, Canada. As young Irish immigrants themselves, the Rovers became so much a part of the Canadian culture that Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau personally asked them to become Canadian citizens so they could officially represent Canada around the world.

 

 

The Antrim hills are dark and still
And the snow is tum’blin down
This Christmas time there’s hope again
For all in Belfast town
With love and understanding
We’ll find a better way
The gift of peace is ours now
Upon this Christmas Day

Bells over Belfast- how merrily they play
Peace and joy be with you on this Christmas Day

A star of light did fill the night
Many years ago
When the maji found the blessed child
Who set our hearts aglow
And since that day of wonder
We’ll live forever more
We hail the newborn King of Kings
Who opened Heaven’s door

Bells over Belfast- how merrily they play
Peace and joy be with you on this Christmas Day

We’ll dance and sing the new year in
And share a cup of cheer
And drink to health and happiness
Throughout the coming year
We’ll put our differences aside
Our trouble’s all behind
And drink a cup o’ kindness yet
For days of “auld lang sine”

Bells over Belfast- how merrily they play
Peace and joy be with you on this Christmas Day

Bells over Belfast- how merrily they play
Peace and joy be with you on this Christmas Day

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Trick or Treat- Happy Samhain (Gaelic Festival of Samhain)

Snap-Apple Night (1833), painted by Daniel Maclise, shows people playing divination games on 31 October in Ireland

Snap-Apple Night (1833), painted by Daniel Maclise, shows people playing divination games on 31 October in Ireland

 

Some attribute the wearing of Halloween costumes to the Gaelic festival of Samhain (or Samuin), a Celtic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter in Gaelic Ireland or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset on 31 October to sunset on 1 November, or about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.

Samhain was seen as a time, when the spirits or fairies (the aos sí) could more easily come into our world. It was believed that the Aos Sí needed to be propitiated to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter. Offerings of food and drink were left for them. The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. Mumming and guising were part of the festival, and involved people going door-to-door in costume (or in disguise), often reciting verses in exchange for food. The costumes may have been a way of imitating, or disguising oneself from the Aos Sí. Divination rituals were also a big part of the festival and often involved nuts and apples.

In the 9th century, the Roman Catholic Church shifted the date of All Saints’ Day to 1 November, while 2 November later became All Souls’ Day. Over time, Samhain and All Saints’/All Souls’ merged to create the modern Halloween.

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Lovely County Leitrim Country

County Leitrim

 

“Well I’ve traveled far through these great lands from the east onto the west
But of all the islands I have seen I love my own the best
And if ever I return again there is one place I will go
It will be to lovely Leitrim where the Shannon waters flow.”

 

 

The above verse is from the song “Lovely Leitrim” which was composed by a Leitrim exile in New York, Phil Fitzpatrick. The song is about a Leitrim exile in America, dreaming about his “Lovely Leitrim” and his desire to see his native land again.

 

County Leitrim was first hit by the recession caused by the mechanisation of linen weaving in the 1830s and its 155,000 residents were ravaged by the Great Famine and the population dropped to 112,000 by 1851. The population subsequently continued to decrease due to emigration.

 

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