Sunday, March 17, 2013

Croagh Patrick and Soda Bread

In honor of St. Patrick's day, I thought I'd share some photos with you that I took of when we visited Ireland back in the year 2000. This is Croagh Patrick, supposedly where St. Patrick drove away all the snakes. According to Wikipedia,
"Croagh Patrick comes from the Irish Cruach Phadraig meaning (Saint) Patrick's stack. It is known locally as "The Reek", a Hiberno-English word for "rick" or "stack". Croagh Patrick has been a site of pilgrimage, especially at the summer solstice, since before the arrival of Celtic Christianity. St. Patrick reputedly fasted on the summit of Croagh Patrick for forty days in the fifth century and built a church there. Popular legend says that at the end of Patrick's forty-day fast, he threw a silver bell down the side of the hill, knocking the she-demon Corra from the sky, and banishing all the snakes from Ireland.......In modern times, a small chapel was built at the top of the summit  and dedicated in 1905."

This is a sign at the bottom of the summit regarding the pilgrimage.

Information on Croagh Patrick.

A drawing of the church on top of Croagh Patrick.

We arrived there about 3:30 pm. There was a small gift shop that we visited. We only came across the people who worked in the shop. Then we stood outside and read the signs for the pilgrimage. We only walked a few steps up the pathway, but since I had knee surgery just 6 months prior to our trip, I wasn't going to even attempt to make the trek. I was surprised when an elderly couple passed us by and started up the hill. Although it was only about 4:00 pm, it was starting to get dark and it looked like rain. They wouldn't get back down till 7:30 and that is if they walked at a steady pace AND didn't take time out to pray once they reached the top!

I don't remember if someone told us, or if we read this, but twice a year, (maybe on the solstice?), the setting sun is perfectly positioned in the sky to look as if it is a ball of fire rolling down the Croagh Patrick. That certainly would have been a sight to see!

And finally, here is the perfect recipe for Irish Soda Bread, given to my sister (and now to you) from a true Irishwoman.

Irish Soda Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
This makes 2 loaves (9x5 loaf pan)
Grease pans with butter for a better crust (This is in addition to the butter that is called for in the recipe)
NOTE: For moister bread, pour boiling water over raisins in a separate bowl, let sit for a few minutes until raisins plump up. Drain well, then add to batter.


6 cups flour (DO NOT SIFT)
2 cups raisins (SEE NOTE ABOVE)
2 cups sugar
6 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 eggs
32 ounce sour cream
2 Tablespoons butter

Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients and raisins and blend well. Pour into greased loaf pans. Bake for at least 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Make a pot of tea, get some butter, and enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!


Mama Zen said...

I would love to visit Ireland someday!

Brian Miller said...

that would be so cool to watch that ball roll down...put me on that list with mz...i wanna go...

Linda said...

I would enjoy the opportunity to visit Ireland one day. The soda bread sounds great, thank you so much for sharing.

Eva Gallant said...

I have had soda bread and it is delicious!

Valerie said...

My ex-mother-in-law made fabulous soda bread. There's nothing quite like an Irish breakfast.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

A visit to Ireland must have been quite amazing. I would love to travel Ireland one day.

Al Penwasser said...

What? No beer?

labbie1 said...

Lovely! And I would love to try the soda bread! I can only imagine what it must be like to watch the sun roll down the hill...I bet it is stunning!

PS I sent you an email...

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Although I abhor the pilgrimages, I can certainly appreciate the historical significance of the area.

Abbey Crafton said...

I will try this recipe out on my son! Weve got family from the Emerald..well there plus Scotland n England......I think I come from a lineage of gypsies.....ah well, a Scots is just an Irishman who couldn't swim, as they say. Lovely images.
of the Abbey