5 Famous Irish Writers to Read this St. Patrick’s Day

Ireland is home to some of the greatest writers in history. From novelists to playwrights, there’s an argument for Ireland having one of the greatest literary traditions in the world. Celebrate Irish history before the St. Patrick’s Day festivities begin by learning a couple facts about five of the most iconic Irish writers and their timeless literary achievements.

5 Famous Writers to Read on St. Patrick's Day

Dublin, Ireland – Where James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, G.B. Shaw and Bram Stoker were born.

Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker is most famously known for his masterpiece, Draculabut few people know that he was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland in 1847. Stoker attended the famous Trinity College in Dublin with a degree in Mathematics, and spent the majority of his working life as a civil servant, small-time theatre reviewer and theatre manager. In his spare time, he wrote and published several horror tales, first as short stories and then as novels. It took him decades to finally write what is known today as one of the most iconic horror novels, which was finally published in 1897. Unlike many great writers who are only appreciated after their death, Stoker found instant success with Dracula. He died in London in 1912.

5 Famous Irish Writers to Read this St. Patrick's Day

Statue of James Joyce on Earl Street — Dublin, Ireland

James Joyce

An obvious contender for the title of “Best Writer of the Twentieth Century”, James Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1882. Coming from humble origins, Joyce managed to work his way into University College Dublin, where he focused on studying modern languages. Publishing his first short story at the age of 22, Joyce left Ireland to travel and experience the world, earning his way by teaching English in foreign countries, which wasn’t difficult given the fact that he would learn over 17 languages in his lifetime. All this time, he wrote, and in 1914 he published his first collection of short stories, Dubliners, following the well-received book with a novel, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It wasn’t until 1922 that he published his masterpiece, Ulysses, which completely redefined the modern novel.

George Bernard Shaw

Initially aspiring to be a novelist, George Bernard Shaw eventually found his calling as a playwright. Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1856, Shaw suffered through several failed attempts at writing novels before he fell in love with the theatre. Starting, like Stoker, as a critic, he began writing his own plays and found major success. Man and Superman (1903), Major Barbara (1907) and Pygmalion (1913) are just a few of his most famous works. In 1925, Shaw was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, one of four Irish writers to ever receive the award and the second after W.B. Yeats (1923). Years later, Shaw would also receive the Academy Award for best screenplay, adapting his play, Pygmalion, for the 1938 film.

5 Famous Irish Writers to Read this St. Patrick's Day

Statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square — Dublin, Ireland

Oscar Wilde

Born in Dublin in 1854, Oscar Wilde was essentially destined for success. The proud son of a knighted father and a linguist mother, Wilde excelled in his studies, eventually earning a prestigious scholarship to Trinity College in 1871. He received some of the college’s top honors during his studies, earning himself yet another distinguished scholarship, this time to the University of Oxford, where he would go on to collect even more awards. Drawn to poetry, Wilde started publishing poetry collections while delivering lectures on topics such as classics, literature, and most notably, aesthetics. During this highly productive time, he also wrote some of his most famous literary works, including The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), his best novel, and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), his most iconic play.

C.S. Lewis

Those who aren’t familiar with the name C.S. Lewis have likely heard of his most famous fantasy epic, The Chronicles of Narnia. Born in Belfast, Ireland in 1898 (as Clive Staples Lewis), he fought and was wounded in WWI, and eventually went on to receive a degree from Oxford University. He spent most of his life teaching at the university level, became an esteemed writer and lecturer of Christianity, conversed on a regular basis with J.R.R. Tolkien, and finally wrote the series that would drive his legacy, beginning with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe in 1950. As great a theologian as he was a fantasy writer, Lewis finished his career teaching at Cambridge University until his early death in 1963.


Find all kinds of great books for the entire family at Lakeside. And don’t forget to enter Lakeside’s Shamrock Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $50 Lakeside Gift Certificate!

St. Patrick’s Day: Crafts to Get Your Green On

Winter is on its way out (we hope) and that means that St. Patrick’s Day is just a few weeks away! While it’s too early yet for corned beef and cabbage, it’s not too soon to start fun crafts to celebrate the Irish holiday. Here are few St. Patrick’s Day crafts to get your green on.

pot-o-gold-hatLeprechaun Loot This is probably the most fun craft-turned-party-favor you’ll find for St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a leprechaun hat that doubles as a pot of gold! A few plastic food containers, paint, construction paper, and a bag of chocolate gold coins will make you look like a crafting hero and entertainer extraordinaire. For a tutorial, check out Paper Plate and Plane’s blog.

felt-shamrockElegantly Green For easy pinch-protection, a felt shamrock is the go-to embellishment for any outfit! This is another craft that will make use of your heart-making skills. Splendid Amy guides you through a few snips, a couple of stitches and the tiniest bit of hot glue to make the sweetest shamrock to put on a hat, a headband or to wear as a pin! This craft will have you counting down the days to March 17!

3-d-shamrockHoly Trinity If you got a lot of practice cutting out hearts for Valentine’s Day, you’re primed for a fun and easy shamrock craft! Crafty Morning came up with a simple way for children to craft paper into a piece of 3-D art! All you need are green construction paper, glue, scissors and a paper mount for your masterpiece.

shamrock-menShowy Shamrocks If the idea of spring has you feeling a little whimsical, help your little ones change toilet paper rolls into little shamrock men! This will keep their hands and brains concentrated on carving shamrocks out of green construction paper to dress up the cardboard tubes for playful decor on St. Patrick’s day. Follow Sweet and Lovely Crafts detailed instructions for a craft-filled afternoon.shamrock-votive

 

St. Patrick”s Day Glow Extra jars or upcycled glass candle holders can be the object of a delightful St. Patrick’s Day craft! With craft glue and green tissue paper, your shamrocks will give your St. Patrick’s Day decor a warm glow! Mess for Less takes you through each step to make these simple yet classy crafts that children will love to make.

 

shamrock-cardShamrock Salutations For faraway Irish friends, send some shamrock salutations with homemade cards! A heart rubber stamp, glue, glitter, and paint turns a simple piece of paper into a St. Patrick’s Day keepsake for loved ones you want to reach out to on March 17. Child Made Tutorials lays out all of the instructions on how to make a heart into shamrock as well as shows you the sparkling finished product.

shamrock-braceletPlayful Pipe Cleaners When life hands you green pipe cleaners, make shamrocks! Lacy from Catholic Icing twists and shapes pipe cleaners to make adorable favors to hand out on St. Patrick’s Day. To take it a step further, turn the shamrocks into something wearable! Beinglds.blogspot.com has a sweet step-by-step on how to make shamrock bracelets with those pipe cleaners. With these awesome accessories, no one will get pinched on St. Patrick’s Day.

At the Lakeside Collection, we love a good party! Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or the 4th of July, we have ideas and products to help you celebrate every holiday!

Fascinating Facts About St. Patrick’s Day

st-patricks-dayOn St. Patrick’s Day most Americans claim to be Irish for a 24-hour period.  It’s not a bank holiday, but it’s a holiday people take very seriously. It has a long history, but all the traditions and customs have changed over time — some of which are unexpected. Here are a few fascinating facts about St. Patrick’s Day you might not know.

Color of a Nation Just about everyone knows you have to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or you’ll get pinched. There are many explanations on how this came about. One theory is that it’s worn by fairies and immortals and by farmers to help their crops grow. Another reason is that the Irish tricksters –leprechauns– can’t see you if you’re wearing green. If you’re not wearing green they can see you and they’ll pinch you. A more plausible explanation is that St. Patrick used the three leaves on a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity so people started wearing green shamrocks. However wearing green started, it evolved into a symbol of pride and nationalism and why we wear green to honor the Irish now.

Mythical Creatures Here’s a little known fact about the leprechauns: they’re protected by European law to prevent extinction. The leprechaun is on a list of items in an area near Carlingford, Ireland designated to preserve the community’s heritage, culture and folklore. It is on a site where a leprechaun was allegedly spotted in 1989.Corned-Beef-and-Cabbage

Fol-caloric Fare For St. Patrick’s, corned beef and cabbage grace the plates of revelers, but you won’t find it in Ireland. It’s actually an Irish-American dish derived from an Irish tradition. In Ireland, they eat bacon and cabbage. Their bacon is a bit different from what we are familiar with. It’s “back bacon” which is a traditional British cut. It’s boiled along with cabbage and other root vegetables. Pigs and cabbage were easy to procure in Ireland, but cows were not. When Irish immigrants started to settle in America, beef was what was available. There are a couple of explanations for how corned beef replaced bacon: some say in the early 20th century Irish laborers were lured to bars that offered a free meal of corned beef and cabbage. Others say early Irish immigrants were drawn to their Jewish comrades’ corned beef because it was comparable to the back bacon they were accustomed to.

Ritual Processions Cities all over the country hold parades every St. Patrick’s Day to honor the Irish. However, the St. Patrick’s Day parade did not start as an Irish tradition. It’s a religious holiday — a day of feast — and in Ireland the day is spent at church and with the family. The first record of St. Patrick’s Day parade was in 1762 when a group of Irish men marched to a tavern in lower Manhattan in New York City. Today it’s the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade; it attracts more than two million spectators every year.green-beer

Pie-Eyed St. Patrick’s Day falls during Lent, the six week period before Easter in which people of Christian denominations give up indulgences. St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is used as a break from the fast in which people can partake in excesses like drinking alcohol or eating chocolate; however, until the 1970s, by law pubs in Ireland were closed for the holiday. So, though it’s a big drinking holiday in the United States, beer is not quite as important for St. Patrick’s Day revelry in Ireland.

The Lakeside Collection has ideas and products to make every holiday memorable! Whether you need ideas for hosting a St. Patrick’s Day shindig, or you’re looking for kitchen gadgets for your 4th of July cookout, look to LTD for unique products at unbeatable prices.

5 St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

You have less than two weeks to get your plans set for St. Patrick’s Day! It’s only here for one day, so let’s make it count. While the adults are easy to please — slap a shamrock on them, serve them green beer, and dish up corned beef and cabbage — kids need some special attention. We’ve been putting together a list of crafts to keep them busy and happy. Here are 5 St. Patrick’s Day crafts we think your kids will like.Pot-of-gold

Pot of Gold You can’t celebrate the Luck of the Irish without a pot of gold! This one is adorable, reusable and easy to make (we love easy!). All it takes is painting a terracotta pot painted black, rainbow-colored pipe cleaners and chocolate disguised as gold. When St. Patrick’s day is over, you can plant a few flowers to sprout for Easter.

Leprechaun-traps2Leprechaun Traps Leprechaun traps may be an all-day project, but they’ll be worth it! Mrs. Byrd left no stone unturned when she came up with these ideas — not only did she make traps, but she also made shamrock ladders (which could be extended to make shamrock bunting) — and almost all of her crafts are made with repurposed items from around the house! So cute and so environmentally-friendly!

leprechaun-footprintsLeprechaun Footprints Leprechaun footprints are a hoot for little kids! If you’re strategic about the placement of them, you might be able trick your little ones into believing a leprechaun is on the loose and he’s lost his shoe! Or you can let them in on the fun and let them make their own. All you need is a hand, green finger paint and paper.

Pot-of-ShamrocksPot of Shamrocks We already have a pot-o-gold, but we couldn’t resist these pots of shamrocks! This one is fun because your kids can actually grow little clover plants. Chica and Jo used them as place cards by cutting out shamrocks from green construction paper and gluing them to toothpicks, but they can be made without a specific purpose other than growing shamrocks!

 

bag-o-luckBag o’ Luck Couldn’t everyone use a bag o’ luck? Pink Pistachio makes it look so easy but it’s a project you can spread over a couple of days — collect the perfect stones, paint them gold, add sparkly shamrocks, and put them all in a muslin bag with shamrock prints you made with apples! It’s a simple idea with a lot of components, but it makes adorable favors for our favorite Irish holiday!


We’re excited about St. Patrick’s Day — The Lakeside Collection has loads of products and ideas to get you excited about it, too! But this is just March — we take every holiday seriously! Keep checking back for more inspiration for every season.

St. Patrick’s Day: Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Soda-BreadSt. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner — a day in which millions of people wear green, attend parades and drink green beer. We love to honor the Irish — it makes sense since about 33 million Americans claim to have Irish heritage. There are dozens of ways to experience Irish culture, food is how we’re honoring the Irish today. Irish people love their soda bread — so much so, it’s served at almost every meal. It’s no wonder — it’s delicious and incredibly easy to make.

Soda bread has just four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. Technically, because it uses baking soda rather than yeast to rise, it’s considered a quick bread — like zucchini bread or muffins. In the 19th century, yeast was hard to come by in Ireland and baking soda was cheap so it was the obvious solution for the need for bread. But, not only was it the means to an end, people could make it quickly because it requires no rising time and it could be baked in a big pot similar to a cast iron Dutch oven and set on the coals of a fire rather than baked in an oven. Add all of these benefits to a delicious bread and you have a win-win-win! Try out our recipe for soda bread this St. Patrick’s Day and you’ll want to make it every day, too!

Irish Soda Bread

Soda-BreadIngredients:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ⅔ cups buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425℉. Line a round cake pan with parchment paper.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Stir in the buttermilk until everything just comes together — do not over mix it! It will look messy, but it’ll work itself out in the oven. Gently form a ball. Place it in the cake pan and cut a cross into the top of the loaf. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and return the bread to the oven for another 15 minutes or until it’s golden brown.

Soda-Bread

 

This bread is so easy and so good, you really have no excuse not to make it, but let St. Patrick’s Day be your reason to make it! Enjoy your bread and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Soda-Bread

St. Patrick’s Day: Fun Facts About Shamrocks

ShamrockStart thinking green! St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and we’re thinking about all the ways we can work green into our outfits so we don’t get pinched! Of course the simplest way to do that is to pin a shamrock to our shirts — they’re cute, classy and subtle. We only think about them once a year, but they’re so cute, we thought we’d try to get to know them a little better. Here are 5 fun facts about shamrocks.

Shamrocks and Clovers Shamrocks are young clovers. In fact, that’s where we get the word shamrock or seamair óg which means “young clover” in Gaelic.  Basically, clovers are shamrocks in March and later in the year, as they grow and reach the reproductive stage, they flower. Ireland is the perfect climate for clovers because they can’t handle hot summers or cold winters — cool and wet weather is what makes them thrive.

Shamrock2Shamrocks As Plants There are many types of clovers and they’re very common. If you’re a dedicated gardener and you find them in your flower bed, you’ll likely pull it as it’s widely considered a weed. However, some farmers keep them in their fields intentionally as they help with fertilization.

The Great Shamrock Shortage In 2010, a severe winter caused a shortage of shamrocks. To remedy the supply shortage for St. Patrick’s Day, plants similar to shamrocks were used instead. However, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen made sure to deliver a real shamrock to President Obama.

The Shamrock and St. Patrick St. Patrick was a 4th century Christian missionary. The shamrock has three leaves — St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. It is now the most prominent symbol of St. Patrick’s Day as well as Ireland.

St-Pats-wreathDrowning the Shamrock  On St. Patrick’s Day, you drown your shamrock for good luck. According to Irish Culture and Customs, this is only to be done with the last drink of the evening, perhaps after your big Irish feast: take the shamrock you’ve been wearing, put it the glass of whatever you’re drinking (perhaps Guinness or Irish whiskey), make a toast, drink your drink and throw the soggy shamrock over your shoulder.
Now that you have a frame of reference for the honored shamrock, you can decorate with shamrocks and wear your young clover with pride and knowledge! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Getting Ready for St. Patrick’s Day: Product Picks

We are counting down the days until spring — it’s still a little too far away for us, but we have a few things to distract us from the lingering cold weather. Luckily, St. Patrick’s Day will give us something to get excited about to break up the cold days before spring officially arrives. Here are a few St. Patrick’s Day product picks to bring some whimsical cheer to our homes before the snow melts.

st-paTS-GARLAND

Give your whole house pinch protection by draping shimmery Lighted Holiday Garland on your bannisters and doorways! Adding a little green tinsel gives your house a festive look without doing too much work.

St-Pats-wreath

Ireland is known for being fun and friendly and here’s a wreath to match! While you may not be able to get to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day, you can certainly bring a little Ireland to your home.

st-pats-leprechuan

Give your home a little Irish curb appeals with these adorable Die-Cut Garden Flags! Before your guests even reach your doorstep, they’ll be feeling the Irish warmth of your home.

St-pats-banner

Holiday Kitchen Coordinates add festive cheer while you cook and clean. Dress up your kitchen for St. Patrick’s Day with these charming pieces. Whether you’re planning a day of crafting or a you’re whipping up St. Patrick’s Day treats, these accessories will add a little luck o’ the Irish to your afternoon in the kitchen.

st-pats-door-mat

Welcome guests with a few shamrocks and leprechauns before they walk through the door with the Interchangeable Doormat! It’ll dress up your outdoor decor as well as bring cheer to everyone who walks into your home.