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.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for St. Patrick’s Day Products

Spring is so close we can almost feel it! We’re decking out our homes in spring hues: yellows, pinks and, of course, green. And as the calendar states, St. Patrick’s Day is heading our way, too. That means green is doing double duty with our decor. But it’s getting us excited for the season change, so here is this week’s Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for St. Patrick’s Day Products.

st-pats-door-decorDecorate a door or wall of your home with a Spring Floral Swag. It features colorful blossoms and foliage cascading down from a themed image. For use indoors or on a front door protected by a storm door. Butterfly, 12″W x 3-1/4″D x 18-1/8″H. Plastic and metal. St. Patrick’s Day, 8-1/2″W x 3-7/8″D x 18-3/4″H. Easter, 8-1/2″W x 3-1/2″D x 20-1/4″H. Plastic, vines and metal. Ready to hang.

green-storageUtilize space in your closet or under your bed with this 3-Pc. Storage Organizer Set. The set of Closet Organizers gives you more ways to store shoes, sweaters, jeans and more. Each easily hangs from a rod using the fabric-magic closure on top. Each Storage Box includes a window for labeling and an attached lid for easy storage. A handle on front makes it easy to grab. Nonwoven polyester.

pub-plaqueNEW! The Personalized Irish Plaque proudly puts your heritage on display. This charming wall decor features fun and traditional sentiments along with your family name. The wooden plaque is adorned with Celtic symbols, shamrocks and vibrant shades of green. Irish Pub and Shamrock Pub Sign, 10″W x 15″L. Irish Blessings, 15-3/4″W x 11-3/4″L. May Your Pockets, 15-3/4″W x 10-1/2″L. Ready to hang.


wall-clockBuy them all for a charming display, or select your favorite and hang it as a focal point. Each Vintage Metal Wall Clock is designed to resemble a pocket watch with a distressed painted finish and a delicately detailed face. Requires 1 “AA” battery. Small Pink Clock, 6-1/2″W x 1-1/2″D x 6-1/4″H. Small Teal Clock, 5″W x 1-5/8″D x 5-1/2″H. Small Black Clock, 3-3/4″W x 1-3/4″D x 6″H. Large Green Clock, 8-1/4″W x 2-1/2″D x 11-1/2″H. Ready to hang.

monster-feetSoft and adorable Toddler Monster Feet Slippers will delight any child. They can stomp around and pretend to be a huge creature! Plush furry slippers have scales down the back, as well as big monster toes. Nonslip grips on the fabric soles provide traction. The fabric-magic closure adjusts for the perfect fit. Polyester and PVC. Imported.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

7 Cities That Go All Out for St. Patrick’s Day

You might still be recovering from your St. Patrick’s Day parties this weekend, but we’ve got the low down on the 7 top cities that put all others to shame.

New York, NY New Yorkers have been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a parade for more than 250 years. Every year between 150,000 and 200,000 people march in the parade, let alone watch the parade. About two million people are expected to show up to watch the marchers hike up Fifth Avenue this year.

Boston, MA Ireland is well-represented in the United States, but the northeastern part of the country seems to be the most Irish, so it would be fitting for Boston to have the first St. Patrick’s Day observance in 1737. According to parade organizers, they now hold the second largest parade in the country with as many as a million spectators every year.

Chicago, IL In Chicago, to honor the Irish, the Chicago River is dyed green. If you’ve never been to Chi-town, the river weaves through the center of downtown, so on St. Patrick’s Day, if you look up, you’ll see skyscrapers and if you look down, you’ll see green water – or green ice, if this winter never ends.

Off the Beaten Path

Columbia, SC Though it’s only been on the parade calendar for 32 years, in Columbia, SC about 40,000 people show up at the city’s Five Points to celebrate all things Irish. It might not be as big as New York or Boston’s parades, but it’s one of the biggest Irish celebrations in the southeast.

 Savannah, GA In Georgia’s oldest city, the fountains will run green in honor of the Irish. It’s not just a day of festivities – it’s an entire week of festivities that started March 10th, and it has been compared to a small Mardi Gras. 500,000 people are expected to attend the party. The city has been celebrating the holiday for almost 200 years.

Unusual Celebrations

New London, WI

Every March in the Cheese State, leprechauns change the name of New London, WI to New Dublin and its population expands from 7,000 to about 30,000 to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. While that’s only a fraction of what the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York attracts, things do get a little crazy for an entire week of celebrating the Irish.

Hot Springs, AK

The town of Hot Springs, AK boasts of hosting the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade route is 98 feet long – this year Duck Dynasty’s Mountain Man will kick off the parade and actor Jim Belushi will lead it. This March 17th marks the parade’s eleventh year and organizers expect to attract about 30,000 revelers. Hot Springs is also home to the Arkansas Blarney Stone.



St. Patrick’s Day: A Brief History

St-Patricks-DayToday St. Patrick’s Day is filled with a lot of green, parties and everyone claiming to be Irish for the day. However, it wasn’t always this way. St. Patrick’s Day dates back to the early seventeenth century and was originally a day celebrating the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.

St. Patrick
Unlike St. Valentine, we know who St. Patrick was. He was born in the fourth century and was kidnapped by Irish raiders from his Roman Britain home at the young age of 16. While captive, he was “told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest,” reports Wikipedia.

In 432 a.d. and now a bishop of the church, St. Patrick was called back to Ireland to help teach the Irish people Christianity. It is believed he used a shamrock to explain the doctrine of the Trinity. On March 17, 461 a.d. St. Patrick died and was buried at Downpatrick.

One story associated with St. Patrick is that he drove all of the snakes out of Ireland with his flute.  Unfortunately, this story is only a myth. Many believe this story was created as a metaphor. St. Patrick is known as the person who converted Irish pagans to Christianity—hence he drove the “evil” from the land.

Irish Feasts and U.S Influence
In Ireland this national holiday was celebrated in the ninth and tenth centuries with a feast, but wasn’t an official national holiday until 1903. By the 1970’s Ireland started celebrating the holiday on a much larger scale. Philip Freeman of Luther College in Iowa, tells National Geographic, “St. Patrick’s Day was basically invented in America by Irish-Americans. Today, the U.S. tradition of St. Patrick’s Day parades, packed pubs, and green silliness has invaded Ireland with full force.”

Irish-American history expert Timothy Meagher also told National Geographic the reason for such a strong American-Irish impact on the holiday, “It becomes a way to honor the saint but also to confirm ethnic identity and to create bonds of solidarity.”

Blue not Green?
In the early years of celebration, St. Patrick’s Day was associated with the color blue—not green. Sky blue was associated with St. Patrick’s Order established in 1783. According to ABC News sky blue was assigned to differentiate from the Order of the Garter (dark blue) and the Order of the Thistle (green). Green came into the picture slowly because of his use of the shamrock to teach the Holy Trinity. By 1798, during the Irish rebellion, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on March 17th in hopes of catching public attention. After this statement, green became the dominate color associated with the holiday.

Lots of Guinness
If you think it wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without a pint of Guinness you aren’t alone. According to the brand, 13 million pints are consumed around the world on March 17th. This is double the average daily consumption which is around 5.5 million. Beth Davies Ryan, the global corporate-relations director for Guinness says, “Historically speaking, a lot of Irish immigrants came to the United States and brought with them lots of customs and traditions, one of them being Guinness.”

Do you have your own St. Patrick’s Day tradition? Let us know in the comments below.

Irish Tradition or Magical Leprechaun?

from Monika Thorpe

Every year when the exciting St. Patrick’s Day holiday comes around it makes me stop and think of the Chicago river here and how in the world they get it to turn such a bright and brilliant green?  For over 40 years the Chicago Journeyman Plumbers make this tradition happen with some secret dye that starts off orange.  Unless it really is leprechauns making this magic happen- could it be?  It does seem odd that no other city has been able to copy this. 

Here at Lakeside we wish all our wonderful customers the luck of the Irish and to have a Happy St. Patrick’s day!