while my family isn’t actually irish, my super pale skin, auburn hair, and green eyes mean that everyone assumes that i have a coat of arms* and a castle somewhere. but since my favorite beer is guinness and my preferred drinking experience is sitting in a pub with friends, going to ireland has always been a dream for me. i have always dreamed that i would fit right in.
i don’t think i was wrong.
having lived in boston for almost ten years, i can say with confidence that i know my way around an irish pub. spending saint patrick’s day running around in dublin truly felt like being at home, and made my husband incredibly homesick. i admit to having a few pangs myself. (hello, family and friends! we’ll be back soon!)
but a fair warning for my fellow travelers: while i was thrilled to be in dublin, and it was a blast to see the gorgeous, colorful streets and sights like saint patrick’s cathedral and trinity college and (naturally) the guinness factory, spending st patrick’s day in dublin isn’t exactly the ideal setting to enjoy ireland. for one thing, pretty much all the irish people leave.
can’t say i blame them. the streets were absolutely overrun with drunk tourists, wearing all manner of red beards, leprechaun hats, and shamrock paraphernalia, shouting at their friends and shoving their way through the crowd to get a better view of the parade. the best times for sight-seeing were in the morning, while everyone was still sleeping off their hangovers and we were free to wander the quiet streets without interruption.
one thing we didn’t get to do nearly enough of is eat irish food. traveling to a foreign country and back is a lot to do in a weekend, and this was our shortest trip yet – we only had one full day in ireland, which really limits the number of meals (especially when lunch is basically just a lot of guinness). it seemed appropriate, upon arriving back in budapest, to put together a simple irish dish to enjoy with our evening meal: irish potato torte. this (non-photogenic, but delicious) dish is like a cross between a lasagna and a gratin – layers and layers of potatoes, cabbage, cheddar cheese, bacon, and onions, baked to bubbly perfection.
need i say more? the only adaption i made to this recipe was adding a diced white onion and sauteing it in butter, then adding it to the bacon and cabbage mixture. feel free to omit this if you’d rather follow the original, but the onions give it a touch of sweetness that i really enjoyed with the bacon.
enjoy with corned beef and a perfectly-poured glass of guinness – and i hope you had a wonderful (and safe) saint patrick’s day.
*jones does have a coat of arms – because it’s welsh. but that sort of ruins my point.