Excited to announce our 2018 Irish Tours!

For many of us, summer is drawing to a close. Schools are back in session, traffic has resumed it’s daily grind and the memories of our 2017 vacations are behind us – however, we are now giving you something to look forward to! – yes, our plans for next years Irish vacations are complete and we are excited to showcase them to you and our website is ready to accept bookings for our 2018 tours! Who-hoo!

…and we have a brand new tour to announce into the bargain! Yes, after three years of painstaking research we are glad to reveal our ‘ Southern Elegance Ireland Tour’ for 2018. Many of you have been asking whether the Shamrock & Peach will tour Cork and Kerry – well, now we will, but with lot’s of other goodies and luxury touches added for good measure…

Our now famous Legendary Ireland tour will include some of our favorite luxury resorts including the Lodge at Ashford Castle, the Lough Erne Resort and the Slieve Donard Resort. While our accommodations in our Southern Irish tour include Mount Juliet Estate, Hayfield Manor, the beautiful Malton Hotel in Killarney and the one and only Ballymaloe House in Co. Cork. We are seeking to find the best and most unique accommodations in Ireland and are working with our favorite chefs to make our guests feel like each day exceeds beyond all expectations.

Going to Ireland is on the bucket list for many people and that’s why we make each day extraordinary when you tour with us. Please check our our website and email me!

Judith@shamrockandpeach.com

Here is the link to our website for our new Southern Elegance tour:

http://www.shamrockandpeach.com/tour_2__southern_elegance_irish_tour

…and for our Legands tour:

http://www.shamrockandpeach.com/tour_1__legendary_ireland_tour

Joy in the Journey!…and see you in Ireland!…let’s dream!

Judie the Irish foodie

 

Wild Foods Walk in the grounds of Ashford Castle

Chef Jonathan Keane and his team forage daily on the 350 acre Estate at Ashford Castle and were willing to share their experiences with Shamrock and Peach tours this summer.  Eating Wild foods is growing in popularity in Ireland and so has the idea of working with what we have. Certainly, a value my parents taught me and I feel ingrained in the Irish psyche.  There’ nothing like the flavor of fresh wild greens, flowers and berries just hand picked that day.  Our guests got to taste this first hand when dining at Wilde’s restaurant.  One of the culinary highlights of our meal at Wilde’s restaurant was the wood sorrel sorbet.  The tangy acidic herb  (also know as sourgrass) has a tart green apple flavor and it was the perfect palate cleanser with our feast.

May you enjoy the bounty of fields, forests,  gardens and coast!

Joy in the Journey

Celtic Culture on the isle of Mull

Sitting in a wee pub in Tobermory on the island of Mull, also know as the Western Isles of Scotland, I was transported back home to Ireland. With only 12 miles of water between Scotland and Ireland, the people of the narrow water are held together closely, not just by geography, but also by culture.  Our red headed bar tender was from Donegal in the North of Ireland and we were later entertained by a musician (also from Donegal) singing modern and  popular Irish songs to the early hours of the morning. The locals were only getting going around midnight when we left and we knew the craic (Gaelic word for a good time) was only getting going!

At the bar sat the fishermen, and we knew that the fish had to be good, – and it was. Our guests all said it was the best fish and chips they had ever tasted, with flaky meaty flesh and perfectly crispy batter as we enjoyed a farewell luncheon booked at Macgochans Pub , sitting, viewing the bay in Tobermory in idyllic surroundings.

The joys of Scotland – the other Gaelic land!

Take me back to Tobermory!

Judie the Irish foodie

Congratulations to Rory McIlroy and Erica

Built in 1228

800 years of history

Shamrock and Peach would like to congratulate Northern Irish Golfer Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll on their recent marriage and wedding at Ashford Castle, in Co. Mayo.  It’s just lovely to see a fellow countryman enjoy so much success and still maintain the Irish values of humility and generosity. I loved reading how the couple met in 2012 and did not date until 2015 and Rory appreciated the fact they were friends first before going out together.  The fairy tale wedding was this past weekend at the 800 year old Ashford Castle built by the Anglo-Norman de -Burgos.  The castle has had several owners since including the famous Guinness family.  The Castle is nestled in 350 acres of gardens and woodlands and the perfect setting for this grand affair.

Shamrock and Peach tours are gearing up to visiting the Castle staying at the Lodge at Ashford this June.  Here a few pictures from our stay last year!

Keep up the great work Rory and we will be raising a toast to you this June!

Joy in the Journey!

Judie the Irish foodie

Welcome first day of Spring! (St. Bridget Feast Day in Ireland)

The first day of Spring (Feb 1st) has been important in Ireland from the Neolithic period.  In Ireland the lighting of fires and candles invited the power of the sun in the period between the cold Winter months and Spring!  Can you believe it folks….? We’re almost there and I am ready for the warmth of the sun and the buds of Spring to appear.

The relics of St. Bridget and Columcille are said to be enclosed in Downpatrick in the same grave as our National St. Patrick.  I loved this photography shared on the Friends of Saint Patrick’s website today of a group of students from John Brown University in Missouri placing a St. Bridget’s cross on the grave.  The hanging of the St. Bridget cross on the front door is symbolically asking Gods protection on livestock and homes in many homes in rural Ireland.

Those of  you who have been on Shamrock and Peach tours are familiar with Dr. Tim Campbell and this quote he often shares around the grave side.

“In Downpatrick, three saints one grave do fill, Patrick, Bridget and Columcille”

Welcome Spring and and let the feasting of St. Bridget begin!

Judith the Irish foodie

 

Neeps and Tatties Patties (Burns Day Grub)

Veggie Burger with a Scottish twist

Burns Day Dinner

In honor of Burns Night, and the celebration of the famed Scottish poet, Robert Burns, may I present to you ‘Neeps and Tatties Patties’…

An authentic Burns Night Supper includes whisky, haggis, Neeps and Tatties (Potatoes and Turnips). However, my family are taking a different approach tonight and going with a ‘Veggie Burger’ with mashed turnip, sweet potato and oats; a really tasty and nutritious alternative to haggis!  I think even Rabbie himself would agree it’s a great substitution… so Cheers to you Rabbie (and we will be raising our glass tonight in your honor)

…and, let me say, there’s no substitution for Scotch ‘whisky’ so please, rest easy in your grave tonight… we get it…

Burns Night Dinner Jan 25 2017

Burns Night Celebrations

Here is the recipe….

Neep’s and Tattie’s Patties (Vegetable burgers with Oats, Turnips and Sweet Potatoes)

 

  • ¾ Lbs sweet potatoes (cut in half lengthwise)
  • ¾ lbs small turnips (cut in half lengthwise)
  • 1 cup quick oats (1 minute oats)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups of cooked black beans (mashed a little)
  • 1 large shallot (finely diced)
  • ½ cup mixed fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, chives)
  • 1 tsp natural sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • semolina flour (about ¼ cup to roll Patties)
  • Coconut oil (about 3 Tbsp to sauté)

How to make them

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place cut sweet potatoes and Rutabaga’s flesh side down.  Roast for about 35-40 minutes or until soft.  Set aside to cool and then remove the skin from flesh.
  2. To make the patties in a large bowl combine the sweet potatoes, rutabaga, cooked black beans, shallots, mixed herbs, salt, pepper, paprika, hot sauce and cumin.   Use a potato masher to evenly incorporate all the ingredients together.
  3. Process the large oats slightly in the food process and then add to the mixture stirring to combine and thicken the patties.
  4. Divide the mixture into 8 round balls and then flatten to create a disk shape. Dip each patty in to semolina flour.
  5. Add coconut oil to the pan and begin to cook the burgers in batches 3-4 minutes each side adding more oil as needed. The patties should have a brown crust.
  6. Serve warm and enjoy!

We still have a few spaces on our Historic Scotland Tour May 29th to June 4th 2017 ,please check out our website and send me an email…

http://www.shamrockandpeach.com

Judith@shamrockandpeach.com

Scottish hugs xxxx

Judith the Irish foodie

Irish Culinary Halloween Traditions

In hope of keeping Irish traditions ‘alive’ at the Feast of the ‘dead’ wishing you all a very Happy Halloween!  As as we prepare for tonight’s trick or treating and the family culinary traditions that make this celebration memorable,  I am also reflecting on my childhood.  In Ireland Oiche Samhain, or Samhain Night , marks the end of harvest and the beginning of winter.  Irish Culinary traditions include Colcannon (potatoes and curly Kale and Spring Onions), Barnbrack (yeasty bread with fruit) and apple pie.

The most fun part of our Irish culinary traditions is the hiding of symbolic items in the food we serve. Oh, the suspense of who would receive what?  The items included money wrapped in aluminium foil (symbolizing good fortune), a ring (symbolizing an upcoming romance or marriage), and a rag (symbolizing poverty), a thimble (symbolizing the person will not marry).  So tonight wherever you are wishing you happy memories with those you love in this ‘feast of the dead’ and beginning of winter.  I hope you may even add some Irish culinary traditions to tonight’ Halloween feast?

Judith the Irish foodie!

Celtic Thunder Legacy Tour Winners

Celtic Thunder at the Fox

Legacy Tour

Congratulations to our winners Carla Poff and Amy Balogh!  Ryan’s favorite Irish Bread for breakfast is in fact “potato bread’!  We enjoyed an incredible concert last night at the fabulous Fox Theater attending the Celtic Thunder Legacy Tour.  The music was a combination of traditional Irish songs and some modern contemporary pieces, all with a humorous twist. We were all captivated by their stories and music and the theme of ‘home’ and the transatlantic links between Ireland and the US; the songs that make us cry, songs of immigration and of loved lost with the triumph of the new world and hope for tomorrow. The finale brought the house down when all five cast members appeared on kilts and danced to a foot stomping tribute to Ireland.

If you get a chance to catch Celtic Thunder on tour, let me encourage you to do so.

http://www.celticthunder.com/

So, thanks to the Fox Theater and Celtic Thunder for partnering with Shamrock and Peach.  I even got to straighten my curly hair for the occasion and got to take off my chef whites for a girls night out!  We really enjoyed Celtic Legacy Tour 2016 and look forward to your return to Atlanta in the future!

fox-four-selfie fox-one fox-three-optimist

Here’s to all things Irish!

Judith the Irish foodie!

Celtic Thunder Legacy ticket giveaway

celtic-thunder-press-1200x628

I am so excited to announce to my blog followers a chance to go and see the Legacy Celtic Thunder tour at the Fox theater next Thursday night!

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the original members of Celtic Thunder; Ryan Kelly.  Although he studied accountancy at Queens University, Belfast and is a qualified Chartered Accountant by trade – music and theater has always been Ryan’s true passion and he longed for a break, as many of us do! Well, turns out the break came when his brother encouraged him to go and try his hand at the auditions in Dublin back in 2007, and it may have seemed far-fetched, but, he landed the role, and the rest is history. A real inspiration to all of us!

Ryan and I talked about the success of Celtic Thunder and why Irish Culture and music is so loved throughout the world. Ryan artistically described how the Irish have become a nation of travelers and story tellers and set our roots in other countries. We shared a common bond of family, friendship and the love that brings us back home to Ireland – and that’s the feeling many people here express to me all the time. A longing to return to Ireland to explore their roots, to see where their ancestors came from, and to enjoy the culture!

Ryan loves to run and has played Gaelic football and basketball at a national level.  We joked how he likes to run to burn calories after enjoying a full Irish breakfast; his favorite meal of the day.  Yes folks, we are talking about the famous Irish Fry, and for those of you who have been to Ireland, you know what I mean. A hearty combination of Irish bacon, sausages, black pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms and best of all the distinctive Irish breads namely, potato bread, soda bread and brown bread with lots of creamy Irish butter.

So, the question is…which of these Irish breads do you think would be Ryan’s favorite?

A. Irish Brown, also known as Wheaten Bread

B. Potato Bread, also known as potato farls, or

C. Irish Soda bread

To enter the drawing, simply follow the link below to my website and go to the ‘contact‘ drop down in the top right corner. Click on it, fill it out and send me your answer.

www.shamrockandpeach.com

I will announce the winner from among the entries promptly, and you could be on your way to see Celtic Thunder at the Fabulous Fox theater, courtesy of Shamrock and Peach!…good luck to everyone, and send me your entries!

 

Joy in the Journey!

Judith the Irish foodie

Announcing tomorrow’s ticket giveaway to Celtic Thunder

Shamrock and Peach is excited to announce a free ticket giveaway to go and see the Celtic Thunder Legacy tour at the Fox theater on October 13 2016.

The giveaway will be based on a personal interview I had with Celtic Thunder star Ryan Kelly.  Ryan is from the Moy in Northern Ireland and we had so many shared food memories from our homeland.  Tomorrow we will be launching the quizz question to my readers and the winner will receive 2 complimentary tickets to the Fox Theater.

So…stay tuned! Tell your friends, and get ready for a chance to this incredible show at the Fabulous Fox Theater!

Judith the Irish foodie