(3/2016) 9 a.m., March seventeenth, 2009, I hopped out of bed, slipped into my jeans and green t-shirt, and sauntered into the kitchen to greet the day. This was no ordinary day. No, this day was St. Patrick’s Day, and not only was I in St. Patrick’s motherland to celebrate (Galway, to be exact), but the sun was out and the mercury was at a steady
sixty-five degrees, both rarities in the great Emerald Isle. It’s worth mentioning that St. Patrick’s day is a bank holiday in Ireland which means no classes, which means one thing to the Irish: find your nearest friends, and drink.
This St. Patty’s day was no exception. With the help of our wonderful Irish friends, myself and some of my fellow study abroad-ers concocted a traditional Irish breakfast to prep for the day’s upcoming festivities. The Irish kids prepped the rashers and beans, eggs, white and black puddings and boiled potatoes, and we Americans threw in a few pancakes
to mix it up a bit. We all got a true taste of Ireland that morning, and I still don’t know how I feel about black pudding (see definition below); needless to say, I washed it down with a lot of beer.
With full bellies, we proceeded into town to join the rest of the Galway student population at the Claddagh (Irish for stony beach), a beautiful open area near the center of Galway where the Corrib River meets the Galway Bay. On any other day of the year the Claddagh is a calm, grassy oasis with striking water views on the edge of the busy city. On St.
Patrick’s Day, however, every inch of grass was covered with blankets and students, standing, sitting, stumbling or laying, quite literally drinking in the beautiful day. Music was playing, friends were all around, and everyone was simply reveling in this rare period of solid camaraderie.
My favorite moment of the day was joining the scores of students lining the edges of the Corrib River. It was low tide, so the stonewalls rose high above the water and we all dangled our feet over the edge of the drop. The famous Old Long Walk of Steve Earle’s "Galway Girl" stretched to the left, Galway City rose to the right, and the Corrib River
flowed directly below; it was a unique experience, and I felt lucky to be a true part of Galway at that moment, surrounded by my American and Irish friends.
Full Irish Breakfast
Recipe and definitions adapted from MrBreakfast.com
- 4 Irish sausages (also known as bangers)
- 4 slices of Irish bacon (rashers)
- 1 8-ounce tube of black pudding
- 1 8-ounce tube of white pudding
- 4 large eggs
- 4 small tomatoes - cut into quarters
- 4 boiled potatoes - cooled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 can of Irish beans
- Grated Dubliner cheese
- Irish brown bread
Irish sausages are usually made from pork or a combination of pork and beef and are larger than traditional American breakfast sausages. The term banger refers to a sausage's tendency to burst or explode out if it's skin while cooking.
In Ireland, slices of bacon are referred to as rashers, and are similar to a fattier version of Canadian bacon. Irish bacon is often made from the back meat of a pig and is cooked with a ham steak methodology: it’s considered done when it's fully cooked through and browned.
Black pudding (sometimes called blood pudding) is a soft-textured sausage made from the cooked and congealed blood of pigs or cattle mixed with fillers like pork, beef, fat, oatmeal, bread, potato or barley.
White pudding is basically black pudding without blood. As part of a traditional Irish breakfast, both black and white puddings are usually sliced and then grilled or fried.
Irish beans are similar to American baked beans, but are less sweet due to the lack of brown sugar included in most American baked beans.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt about 2 Tbsp of butter.
Fry Irish bacon until cooked through and browned, just short of crispy. Remove from pan, place on stacked paper towels to remove excess fat. Transfer to two heat-resistant serving plates. Place in oven to keep warm.
Place the Irish sausages in the frying pan and cook until done and nicely browned. Transfer to oven to keep warm.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the baked beans.
Slice the puddings to desired thickness and begin frying in the frying pan. Add the potatoes. After a couple minutes, add the tomatoes. Continue to cook and flip until all ingredients are nicely browned. Transfer to the serving plates in the oven.
Finally, fry the eggs to your liking. Top with gated Dubliner cheese if desired and season to taste.
Remove plates from oven. Transfer the eggs to the plate along with a generous scoop of baked beans.
Serve immediately with Irish brown bread. Wash down with breakfast beer of choice.
Read other articles by Sharon Racine