Spectacular Scotland

Shamrock and Peach Tours are celebrating our 10th year of being in business with a brand new exciting tour offering, going to the Highlands of Scotland.  We have been working on launching our new Scottish tour for several years now and I cannot say how excited we are with all of our incredible accommodations and all the places we will be seeing. To me, it’s kind of like a bucket list itinerary including luxuries such as staying at the spanking new and fabulous  Kingshouse Hotel in the heart of Glencoe with spectacular mountain views and highland stags roaming around ( this is the place where Jame’s Bond’s famous movie Skyfall was filmed) – and the equally new 5 star Ness Walk Hotel in Inverness, not far from the famous Spey Whisky trail. We’ll also get to visit Rosalyn Chapel, the Kelpies and Holyrood Palace while staying in Edinburgh – all delightful and wonderful sights to see! – We will pack it in, and it will be incredible.

The website is taking bookings for 2021 as our tour for next year has already sold out.  I am very proud of my Irish homeland but Scotland is Spectacular!.  My husband and I did a dry run of our tour earlier this year and I am happy to share just a few of his pretty amazing pictures!

Shamrock and Peach

Judith x

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Cracking Good Easter Wishes

Wishing everyone a cracking good Easter as we celebrate today!  Yesterday my friend brought over three day old baby chicks for me to dote over. These new born balls of fluff sat peacefully, although loudly chirping, in my hand as I cradled them.  The chicks are named “true blue and green whitings”, and are to me a symbol sign of new life and new beginnings this Easter morning.  I also got to cook up some freshly laid eggs for breakfast this morning, and we were all so enamored by the beautiful pinks, powder blue and yellow shells.  These chicks really made our family feel like Spring is here after such a rainy cold winter and I hope they bring you hope and joy!

Joy in the Journey

Shamrock and Peach (Judith)

Featured in Irish Country Living!

As a girl, growing up on the farm in County Armagh, we always had a copy of the Irish Farmer’s Journal in our home. My father loved to read all the latest on sheep and cattle whilst my mother loved to read the magazine and all the interesting articles and recipes. It is essential reading to this day, and is for most of the Irish rural families dotted across the green landscape of Ireland, it is a staple of weekend life. A cup of tea, and the copy of Irish Country living

So, it was really an honor for me to be featured last weekend in Irish Country Living, the magazine portion of the newspaper. I was just so pleased with the article and felt it was a true interpretation of my story and just excellent journalism. (Thank you so much Ciara Leacy for truly ‘getting it’)

For my faithful blog followers who have followed me over the  years I hope you enjoy reading my story about the birth of both Shamrock and Peach Foods, and Shamrock and Peach Tours. Here it is..

toot, toot, toot!

Enjoy….

Page one feature story

Page two feature story

Shamrock and Peach

 

Judith x

The Voice of the Irish – Calling Saint Patrick Home

Saul's Church

The site of the original barn that was given to Patrick by the Irish Chieftain

With only a few days until St. Patrick’s Day I wanted to follow up on my story from last week about the journey of our patron saint, as this is such a great story, and worth telling, so here we go…

When Patrick returned to Ireland, the land of his previous slavery, he landed just outside Downpatrick, in County Down where he promptly converted a local chieftain to to Christianity. The chieftain was so impressed that he donated a barn for St. Patrick to live and worship in and this primitive building became the very first church in Ireland in the early 5th century.

In 1932, Saul’s church was then built on the very same spot as the original barn to commemorate the first place of worship established by St. Patrick in Ireland. It’s a very special place to visit and in the words of Dr. Tim Campbell who guides our tour groups to the site “it’s a thin place” and a stillness that encapsulates a sense of wonder. For those of you who have visited here with me you can recall these feelings and if you have not visited I encourage you to put it on your bucket list. Still a few spots open on my two Legendary Irish tours this summer…

Here are the dates:

June 17th to 23rd $2495 per person sharing (6 nights and 7 days)

June 30th to 7th $2895 per person sharing (7 nights and 8 days)

https://shamrockandpeach.com/legendary-ireland-tour/

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Judith  (Shamrock and Peach)

 

A Voice from the Sea – Ireland is calling

St. Patrick's Call to Ireland

“the voice of the Irish” calling

The Irish sea was a place of terror for young Patrick who had been violently ripped from his family in ancient Roman Britannia by a band of Irish pirates and hauled off to a place that the Romans called Hibernia (meaning – the land of perceptual winter). He worked as a slave in what is now County Antrim in Northern Ireland, but hope was not lost. Through a God inspired dream, Patrick had seen a boat, and his possible means of escape from his years as a slave to Miliucc, the Celtic King of Antrim. This gave Patrick the courage to get up, leave his place of bondage and run away in hope of finding this sought after ‘dream boat’, which he eventually did after many dangerous days of travel through the ancient oak forests of Ireland.

Arriving at the south coast, after a long and difficult journey, Patrick boarded a ship, after convincing the captain to take him with them, and sails to Gaul – modern day France. Once in Gaul, he was back in familiar Roman ground and after sometime managed to find his way back to Britain and his northern home after many years of enslavement and hardship.

For many, this might mark the end of a fateful journey, but for Patrick, it was only the beginning as he encountered another dream where he was called back to the very people who had enslaved him. The story goes that one  night he dreamt that he was visited by an angel called Victorious, holding “countless letters” who hands over the mail to Patrick. As the letter is opened Patrick is stabbed in the heart by a voice near the Western Sea crying “We beg you to come and walk among us once more”. The voice of the Irish, fate was calling…

Our next adventures take us to Downpatrick and the landing of our patron saint back in Ireland that would see him transform from captor to apostle. Stay tuned!

Shamrock and Peach

Judith

Love Chocolate…. continued….

Dreamy Irish Chocolate Desserts

Shamrock and Peach Tours Chocolate dessert memories

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I am still dreaming of Irish Chocolate! Today I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite chocolate desserts that we had the opportunity to taste and devour last year whilst leading our Shamrock and Peach Tours.

Irish chefs are creating world class chocolate desserts made with chocolate from homegrown Irish companies, which is kind of a new thing. In Ireland, we are known for our wonderfully pure and wholesome dairy products and herds who enjoy a grass fed diet producing milk that is rich, yellow and naturally salted by our clean and pure sea breezes. So, guests who come to Ireland are falling in love with more than just Ireland….. our chocolate alone is worth the Journey!

Yum!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish Foodie)

Love Irish Chocolate… continued

In pursuit of the best Irish chocolates we turn to Dingle Town in County Kerry,a stop on last summer’s Shamrock and Peach Southern Elegance tours. The Wild Irish Chocolate Shop, situated on the main street in Dingle, had an assortment of fudge, marshmallows, toffee, truffles and one of the largest selection of chocolate bars I have ever seen… (in fact you can choose from 47 different varieties).  Dingle is not the only place to purchase Wild Irish Chocolate brand when you are visiting Ireland so take my advice and try it for yourself, with varieties of bars like seaweed and lime splash and White Chocolate Cranberry you will need to leave extra room in your suitcase.

On the countdown to Valentine’s Day this is one of the Irish chocolate stops I will be dreaming about and look forward to returning again this summer to enjoy Wild Irish Chocolates (all handmade in Co. Clare, Ireland).

Love it!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish foodie)

Love Irish Chocolate

Are you just like me and in love with chocolate?  Of course you are! – This week is Valentine’s, and in celebration I am blogging about some of my favorite Irish Chocolate experiences. For us Irish living abroad there are always two requests we have for friends and family who are coming over to the USA to stuff into their luggage before they leave, and they would be – Irish Chocolate and Irish Tea! Make room in those suitcases and fill them with goodies please!

Yes, chocolate is considered one of the foods I adore, so, being Valentine’s day I am excited to share some dreamy, creamy memories.  Here we go…

During my travels throughout Ireland I am always excited to discover new artisan chocolate-tiers springing up all over the country and many of my favorites are in my bucket list to visit this coming year. Last year, Shamrock and Peach Tours had the chance to stop at Hazel Mountain Chocolate in the Burren, in County Clare and considering the ambiance, landscape, never mind the to ‘to die for’ coffee and chocolate ,it did not disappoint!  Tomorrow I am following up with another favorite (and this time with a stop in Dingle)…

Love that chocolate, and check these guys out!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish foodie)

Blue Cheese and Bacon Tatter Cups for the Super Bowl

Tater Cups for Super Bowl

Roasted Potato Cups are so delicious and you can pick your own filling?

Super Bowl 53 is in our hometown of Atlanta this weekend and the buzz is in the air! The sun is shining, it feels like spring, the traffic is horrible (what’s new?) and all the great and good are descending on the ATL for the annual fest of football and quirky ads on TV…

Being an immigrant, we have grown accustomed to the pageantry that surrounds this most American of tournaments every year, and now quite enjoy the spectacle, and of course THE FOOD! – yes, it’s a great excuse to eat with friends and completely ignore the game until the funny ads come on, but then again, who’s counting!?

Each year I like to bring something fun and unusual to the Super Bowl party, and this weekend my offering are these wonderfully delicious and head turning potato cups. Easy to make, and very delicious. I’ve added some kale options for the ladies to feel good, and bacon and blue cheese for the guys…because they don’t care!

Great recipe, hope you enjoy!…and go…um, whoever!

Potato Cups (Kale and Mushroom/Bacon and Blue Cheese)

(recipe for 4 will be 3 potato cups per person)

  • (for the potato cups)
  • 4 Baby Potatoes (red and gold varieties)
  • 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • (for the Kale and Mushroom)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp of finely chopped shallots
  • 3 oz of mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • Handful of leafy kale (de-stemmed and chopped)
  • 1 oz of Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 3 Tbsp of Mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • (for the Bacon and Blue Cheese)
  • 4 slices of bacon (finely sliced)
  • 2 oz of blue cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
  • 3 Tbsp of Mayonnaise

How to make them

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees f.
  2. Cut each potato in half. Using a melon baller to scoop out a hole in the center in the cut side of each potato half.  Use a knife to slice a small piece of the skin side of each potato so they will stand straight when plating and serving.
  3. Brush potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake on a roasting pan cut side down for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.
  4. To make the mushroom and kale filling sauté the mushrooms and shallots in olive oil and then add the chopped kale cooking for about 2 minutes to soften. Remove from the heat and stir in the mayonnaise.  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To make the Bacon and Blue Cheese filing sauté the bacon until it is brown and crispy and then add the garlic and cook for less than a minute. Drain off any excess fat in the ban, stir in the crumbled blue cheese, and mayonnaise.
  6. Fill cups with prepared fillings and enjoy!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish Foodie)

http://www.shamrockandpeach.com

To all Wild Irish Woman everywhere, St. Bridget and Roots of Hospitality

Pouring a Guinness

To Wild Irish Woman everywhere and the story of St. Bridget

Ireland’s legendary hospitality has many roots but on the first day of Spring, February 1st, we remember St. Bridget or Mary of the Gaels.

St. Bridget of Kildare is buried in Downpatrick, County Down beside our St. Patrick, and legend has it that Bridget defied her father, the King at royal matchmaking and gave away food to those in need – not the done thing. This started a life of hospitality, and Bridget would devote herself to giving and loving those all around her with the gracious gift of hospitality. Under a great oak (the sacred tree of the druids) Bridget founded her monastery in Kildare. It was here the sick were tended to, travelers were fed and poets, craftsmen and farmers were welcomed and their trades nurtured. you go girl!

This poem is associated with St. Bridget:

I should like a great lake of finest ale

For the King of Kings.

I should like a table of the choicest food

For the family of heaven.

Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,

And the food be forgiving love.

So I lift my glass to you St. Bridget for all you have taught us, and may your legacy continue in the hearts of the Irish in every corner of the world! To those who have not visited the shores of Ireland you will find a a hundred thousand welcomes, Cead Mile Failte awaits you!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish Foodie)

http://www.shamrockandpeach.com