Irish Toasts for St. Patrick´s Day
Toasts are an essential role for any St. Patrick’s Day celebration. They serve as a link amidst the formal ceremony and a less formal atmosphere of the coming celebration. The St. Patrick’s Day toast allows family members and friends to talk their hearts out. Remember Abraham Lincoln’s words from his inaugural address, and you will never go wrong, “With malice toward none; with charity for all.” A toast is a wish, and whether you believe in karma or not, it is always better to wish good than ill; far better to follow Shakespeare and “drink down all unkindness.”
That said, we’ve found it helps us when offering toasts to use the standard pattern that Colonial-era drinkers used. It’s a simple, two-part format in which you first propose the object of the toast and then either explain why it’s worth toasting or offer a wish on its behalf. This will then lead into the toast at which point you should finish by fully drinking your beverage which is hopefully some hearty Guinness!
And now for some time weathered St. Patrick’s Day and Irish Toasts to impress your family and friends during your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Cheers!
May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night.
May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fall out.
A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea.
As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.
A friend’s eye is a good mirror.
May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.
He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses more; He who loses faith, loses all.
May the Lord keep you in His hand and never close His fist too tight.
May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.
May the sound of happy music, and the lilt of laughter, fill your heart with gladness, that stays forever after.
May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty. And our ale never turn musty.
St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time — a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.
Saint Patrick was a gentleman, Who through strategy and stealth, Drove all the snakes from Ireland, Here’s a toasting to his health. But not too many toastings Lest you lose yourself and then Forget the good Saint Patrick And see all those snakes again.
A bird with one wing can’t fly. —said to encourage someone to take a second drink It is better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money!
That the tap may be open when it rusts!
My friends are the best friends Loyal, willing and able. Now let’s get to drinking! All glasses off the table!
Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint– and another one!
Here’s to a temperance supper, With water in glasses tall, And coffee and tea to end with– And me not there at all!
When money’s tight and hard to get, and your horse is also ran, When all you have is a heap of debt, a pint of plain is your only man.
Here’s to being single… Drinking doubles… And seeing triple!
I drink to your health when I’m with you, I drink to your health when I’m alone, I drink to your health so often, I’m starting to worry about my own!
Here’s to women’s kisses, and to whiskey, amber clear; Not as sweet as a woman’s kiss, but a darn sight more sincere!
May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.
There are good ships, and there are wood ships, The ships that sail the sea. But the best ships, are friendships, And may they always be.
Here’s to you and yours, And to mine and ours, And if mine and ours ever come Across you and yours, I hope you and yours will do As much for mine and ours, As mine and ours have done For you and yours!
To live above with the Saints we love, Ah, that is the purest glory. To live below with the Saints we know, Ah, that is another story!
May the lilt of Irish laughter lighten every load. May the mist of Irish magic shorten every road… And may all your friends remember all the favours you are owed!
Here’s to the land of the shamrock so green, Here’s to each lad and his darlin colleen, Here’s to the ones we love dearest and most. May God bless old Ireland, that’s this Irishman’s toast!
I have known many, and liked not a few, but loved only one and this toast is to you.
May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows your dead. May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.
May your heart be light and happy, May your smile be big and wide, And may your pockets always have a coin or two inside!
Always remember to forget The troubles that passed away. But never forget to remember The blessings that come each day.
May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!
May the face of every good news and the back of every bad news be towards us.
May neighbours respect you, Trouble neglect you, The angels protect you, And heaven accept you.
May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, The foresight to know where you are going, And the insight to know when you have gone too far.
May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May those that love us, love us. And those that don’t love us, May God turn their hearts. And if he doesn’t turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles, So we’ll know them by their limping.
May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and never catch up.
May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head. May you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead.
May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace… May your troubles grow less as your blessings increase!
May you get all your wishes but one, so that you will always have something to strive for!
May the luck of the Irish Lead to happiest heights And the highway you travel Be lined with green lights. Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you.
If you’re enough lucky to be Irish… You’re lucky enough!
May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold— And at the end of all your rainbows may you find a pot of gold.
May your pockets be heavy— Your heart be light, And may good luck pursue you Each morning and night.
The Parting Glass by Celtic Woman
by Melanie Marquis
(From Llewellyn’s Witches’ Calendar 2014)
Stone: Aquamarine, Jade, Bloodstone • Animal: Wolf or Cougar, Whale
Flower: Jonquil (aka daffodil, narcissus) • Ruling Planet: Neptune, Jupiter
Saint Patrick’s Day draws mixed reviews from modern Pagans. While some see it as a harmless celebration of Irish culture and possibly a good excuse to let loose and party, others see it as an offensive nod to aggressive Christianization and the violent oppression of Paganism. After all, Saint Patrick is known for his aggressive, evangelicizing-with-a-sword ways — so he’s not exactly the coven’s little darling. Not by a long shot! Perhaps exacerbating this feeling is the fact that many people also believe that the legend of Saint Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland is actually an allegory for his alleged destruction of Celtic and Druid culture, with its prevalent serpent symbolism. This theory is widely disputed, however, and it’s generally accepted by today’s scholars that the snakes of the legend were meant to be either real-life snakes or a metaphor for the staff of Moses or Aaron.
Whether the snakes of Saint Patrick’s legend were Pagans, actual snakes, or Yahweh’s own magick wand does nothing to change the indisputable fact that post-Ice Age Ireland has never had a single snake, or the other indisputable fact that Paganism continued to thrive in Ireland despite the efforts of Patrick and those who came before him and after him. Sure, we Pagans have been backed into the shadows, beaten down, and trodden on, but nevertheless, we survive. This survival gives us a cause to celebrate, and Saint Patrick’s Day is a great opportunity to do so.
The late and great Pagan author and Archdruid Isaac Bonewits jokingly created a new holiday to substitute for Saint Patrick’s Day — the holiday All Snakes Day, encapsulated in Isaac’s slogan, “Bring Back the Snakes!” I, for one, believe we should carry on this tradition.
If you’d like to celebrate All Snakes Day this March 17, consider performing this ritual dance in honor of the tenacity and inextinguishable pride of snakes and Pagans everywhere.
Snakes Ritual Dance
Begin with participants standing in a circle, hand in hand. Designate someone to act as the leader of the dance, and have them stand in the east quarter, or three-o’clock position. Place musicians around the outside perimeter. As the musicians start to play, the circle begins to rotate clockwise to the melody. After three complete rotations are made, returning the leader of the dance to their original position at the three-o’clock point — let’s call this position the “midpoint” — the leader should then let go of the hand of the person to their left. This breaks the circle, the dance continues on around in a now counterclockwise rotation, back to the midpoint and then on around in a new, now clockwise rotation, guiding the dancers movements in the form on an infinity symbol, or horizontal figure 8. The rotations are repeated as the music continues to build and the energy of the ritualists continues to rise. When the leader of the dance feels that the time is right, instead of changing directions at the midpoint, the circle is instead continued around clockwise, in a large circumference that brings the leader back to hold the hand of the person originally to their left, returning the circle to its original form. Intentions are set, and the magickal energy is then released toward the aim of bringing continued strength to Pagans and snakes around the world.
Mummies, Bog Bodies and Other Relics
The Dear Departed on Display in Ireland
By Bernd Biege, About.com Guide
The Mummies of Saint Michan’s
Maybe the most celebrated mummies in Ireland … they have provided post-mortem thrills for visitors for more than a hundred years and may even have inspired Dublin writer Bram Stoker: the quite-well-preserved mummies in the crypts of Saint Michan’s Church. Now one of Dublin’s eeriest tourist attractions, they survived the centuries due to sheer luck – the locale simply led to mummification without any human intervention. Once stored, the bodies kept well. And acquired their own legends. So you are told that one is a crusader, the other a thief. Proof? Not really, but the stories are good. So good,that the story of Count Dracula may have evolved from them …
The Mummified Cat of Christ Church
Another church, another mummy … on display in Christ Church Cathedral are the mummified remains of a cat and its prey. Who got stuck in ductwork ages ago and kept remarkably well due to an accidental but ideal supply of dry air. Not quite as spectacular as the human colleagues in St. Michan’s across the river, but a curious memento mori nonetheless. The cathedral also held the mummified heart of Saint Lawrence O’Toole in a casket, but thieves made away with this sometime ago.
From the Bogs
Not mummified, but tanned and well-preserved: bog bodies are a Northern European speciality and have often met their untimely end in a gruesome, yet ritualistic fashion. Being killed thrice over seems to have guaranteed some sort of effect on those left behind, so the odd nobleman or king shuffled off the mortal coil this way. Mere commoners also slipped on their way home, drowned in the bogs and headed for some sort of accidental immortality this way. The National Museum in Kildare Street has dedicated the section “Kingship and Sacrifice” to the bog bodies found mainly in the midlands. Mostly in pieces. But at least on one occasion with a bouffant hair-do fully intact. Elvis has definitely not left this bog …
Dead Like an Egyptian
The small Egyptology collection of the National Museum in Kildare Street also includes mummies, the display is muted and concentrates on the trappings. Not breathtaking, but great if your kids have recently discovered classic horror flics or the Mummy-franchise.
Resting in Pieces
Saint Oliver Plunkett did not die an easy death – the anti-Catholic sentiments of English society in his day and a competent hangman made sure of that. An innocent martyr for the Catholic cause, Plunkett was literally torn apart in death. Which somehow explains his several resting places, part of his leg reposing on display in Oldcastle (near his ancestral home of Loughcrew),while his mummified head resides in Drogheda. Making for a quite gruesome display to be venerated by the faithful, the saint himself gazing less-than-serenely out of the glass casket his head rests in. Maybe one of the most morbid relics in Ireland, if for its shock value only.
More Ancient Egyptians
The Ulster Museum in Belfast has a sizeable collection of mummies and the restructured and very informative display gives visitors an insight into Egyptian funeral culture. Scientific and attractive, with no hint of unhealthy interest in the long departed. There are also mummified cats, though of a more dignified variety than that in Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral – after all, the felines were regarded as being godlike by the ancient Egyptians. Cats never stopped believing it themselves …
Any Old Irish Graveyard
On a slightly disturbing note … when you are visiting Irish graveyards of a certain vintage you may stumble upon (or over) the departed as well. Old burial sites are often dug up by animals, with collapsing crypts and vaults making it all the easier for them. So do not suspect satanic doings when you see a jawbone, a hip or even a skull lying about – it just is the way it is.
Fun Samhain Recipes
from Sacred Mists Shoppe
Besoms and brooms while often misunderstood, are often used in Witchcraft and Paganism for ‘sweeping the negativity away’. Besoms are also used as a protective device and often as the role of an ‘inanimate familiar’. This sweet treat does double duty on Samhain.
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
10 pretzel rods, about 8 1/2 inches long, cut crosswise in half
2 tsp shortening
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Butterscotch-flavored chips, melted
Heat oven to 350ºF. Mix brown sugar, butter, water and vanilla in medium bowl. Stir in flour and salt. Shape dough into twenty 1 1/4-inch balls.
Place pretzel rod halves on ungreased cookie sheet. Press ball of dough onto cut end of each pretzel rod. Press dough with fork to resemble “bristles” of broom. Bake about 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes.
Cover cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place brooms on waxed paper. Heat shortening and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth; remove from heat. Spoon melted chocolate over brooms, leaving about 1 inch at top of pretzel handle and bottom halves of cookie bristles uncovered. Drizzle with melted butterscotch chips. Let stand until chocolate is set.
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One of the most famous Halloween traditions is carving a pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern. This custom originated in Scotland and Ireland, where large turnips or other fruits and vegetables were carved into lanterns and placed along the roadside to light the way to the harvest festivals. The term Jack-O-Lantern has been handed down to us from an old Irish legend about the town drunkard, an ill-tempered man by the name of Jack.
What could be more witchy fun than edible Jack-O-Lanterns! You can follow this tasty recipe, or create your own stuffing mix using your favorite ingredients according to your diet.
6 bell peppers, any color
1 pound ground beef (we like using a vegetarian alternative)
4 slices bread, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish.
Lightly mix together the ground beef, egg, bread cubes, onion, tomato, garlic, chili sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Wash the peppers, and cut jack-o’-lantern faces into the peppers with a sharp paring knife, making triangle eyes and noses, and pointy-teeth smiles. Slice off the tops of the peppers, and scoop out the seeds and cores. Stuff the peppers lightly with the beef stuffing, and place them into the prepared baking dish so they lean against each other.
Bake in the preheated oven until the peppers are tender and the stuffing is cooked through and juicy, about 1 hour.
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SAMHAIN – A VERY IRISH FEAST
The Roots of Halloween in Celtic Ireland
By Bernd Biege, About.com Guide (© 2007 Bernd Biege licensed to About.com, Inc.)
November 1st was traditionally known as samhain, literally translated the “end of summer” and pronounced something like sow-een. This was the end of the Celtic year, the start of winter, a time for reflection. And part of a sometimes confusing tradition …
From Darkness Comes Light
One of the Celtic idiosyncrasies was the concept of beginning in darkness and working towards the light. As the year started with winter, the days started at sundown. Thus the night from October 31st to November 1st was part of samhain, known as oiche shamhna or “evening of samhain“.
Samhain was one of the four “quarter days” of the Celtic calendar, along with imbolc (February 1st, start of spring), beltane (May 1st, start of summer) and lughnasa (August 1st, start of the harvest). We do not have any undisputed information about how these festivities were conducted in pre-Christian times. Samhain seems to have been a specifically Irish tradition and first mentioned by Christian chroniclers. Feasting seems to have taken the best part of a week, a few days either side of the actual samhain day.
Samhain – Preparing for Winter
The preparations concerned mainly cattle and other livestock – all members of the herd were caught, brought into enclosures or sheds near the homestead. And some were marked for death – those animals too weak to survive the winter were slaughtered. Not for any ritual reasons, this was down to purely practical considerations. And filled the larder for winter.
At the same time all corn, fruits and berries had to be harvested and stored. There still is a widespread belief in Ireland that after November 1st all fruit is bewitched and thus inedible. The pooka was said to roam free at samhain – a black, ugly horse with red eyes and the ability to talk. And with a penchant for kidnappings and copious urination on berries. On the other hand a respectful contact with the pooka could show you the future …
Communal Activities – Samhain as a Day of Reckoning
Many legends concern the big meetings at samhain – this was the time to take stock and decide upon future activities. At the Hill of Tara or on lakeshores. A general armistice during this period made meetings between sworn enemies, diplomacy and social activities beyond tribal and political boundaries possible. All debts had to be settled and horse-racing as well as charioteering provided a peaceful contest.
But spiritual activities were an integral part of the feast.
Traditionally all the fires were extinguished when oiche shamhna set in, making this the darkest night of the year. The fires were then re-lit, marking the start of the new year.
Tradition has it that druids lit a huge bonfire on the Hill of Tlachtga (near Athboy, County Meath) and burning torches were then carried from there to every household during the night – alas, a physical impossibility. Though the reputed special tax levied by the king for this “service” certainly seems believable in light of the modern Irish state’s revenue ideas …
We All Have to Make Sacrifices
Other rituals involving fire were not so quaint and definitely easier to arrange – the “wicker men”. Basically a cage made from wickerwork in a rough resemblance of the human form, then stuffed with (living) sacrificial offerings. Like animals, prisoners of war or unpopular neighbors. Which were then burned to death inside the “wicker man”. Other rituals involved drowning … Happy New Celtic Year!
But these human sacrifices should not be seen as the undisputed norm. Though sacrifices were undoubtedly made, they may only have involved milk and corn spilled into the earth. And there might even have been nocturnal human activities connected to fertility rituals. It was considered a good omen if a woman became pregnant at samhain!
The Non-Human Touch at Samhain
Not everybody joining in the samhain celebrations was necessarily human … or of our world. The night from October 31st to November 1st was a time “between years” to the Celts. And during this time the borders between our world and the otherworld(s) were flexible and open.
Not only the pooka was out and about … bean sidhe (banshee) could be killed by humans during the night, fairies were visible to human eyes, the underworld palaces of the “gentry” (an Irish title for fairies) were open to come and go. Humans could drink with mighty heroes and bed their beautiful female companions … as long as you did not make any mistakes, broke any rules or violated even the most ridiculous taboo. The problem being that the chances to foul up far outweighed the chances of a good night out – so most people opted for a quiet night in. Doors securely locked.
Last but not least Uncle Brendan might come knocking, even though he has been buried the last twenty years in New York. Samhain was also a time when the dead could walk the earth, communicate with the living … and call in old debts.
All this belongs to the conservative picture of samhain. Which has been thoroughly muddled by neo-pagans and esoteric authors detailing “lost knowledge”. To such a degree that even a Celtic god of death called samhain appeared – a pure invention.
Colonel Charles Valency is to blame for many inventions. In the 1770s he wrote exhaustive treatises on the origin of the “Irish race” in Armenia. Many of his writings have long been consigned to the lunatic fringe. But Lady Jane Francesca Wilde carried his torch in the 19th century and her “Irish Cures, Mystic Charms and Superstitions” – which is still being cited as an authoritative work.
Samhain meanwhile mutated into All Hallows E’en and Halloween. And samhain or Halloween is still celebrated in Ireland in various ways – complete with fortune telling and special meals.
St. Bridget’s Day in Ireland
|Graphic by: AvalonSky|
Merry Meet and Brightest Imbolc Blessings to all of you.
Imbolc is typically celebrated on the 1st or 2nd of February. Today is St. Brigid’s day. Today we honor the Celtic Goddess Brigid who came to be known as the Christian Saint. Her festival was originally known as Imbolc. The name Imbolc refers to the lactation of the Ewes. So today we celebrate the return of Spring. Imbolc is also known as Candlemas.
In Ireland, at this time of year, even though it was still cold and harsh, they began to prepare their land for Spring farming. In ancient Pagan times they would circle the field with torches to purify and make ready the land. In the Celtic traditions today is the day that we would remove any Yuletide greenery still in our homes and burn them to make ready the coming of spring.
Symbolism of Imbolc:
Purity, Growth and Re-Newal, The Re-Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.
Symbols of Imbolc:
Brideo’gas, Besoms, White Flowers, Candle Wheels, Brighid’s Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), and Ploughs.
Herbs of Imbolc:
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.
Foods of Imbolc:
Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Raisins, Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas.
Incense of Imbolc:
Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh.
Colors of Imbolc:
White, Pink, Red, Yellow, lt. Green, Brown.
Stones of Imbolc:
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise.
Activities of Imbolc:
Candle Lighting, Stone Gatherings, Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring, Making of Brideo’gas and Bride’s Beds, Making Priapic Wands, Decorating Ploughs, Feasting, and Bon Fires maybe lit.