Will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today? I don’t have any Irish ancestors but like so many people around the world, have long celebrated the day in one way or another. A dear friend has taught me that life is short, and it’s good to capture and celebrate as many moments, both big and small, as you can.
One of my childhood memories is the eating of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. My mother would boil them all together, which left them (in my opinion) a bit tough. The monochromatic flavor also had me wondering what the heck the Irish were thinking to make this their traditional saint’s day meal. Fast forward ten years and a friend takes me to her culinary school for a Patty’s day dinner. The cabbage is still boiled, as are the potatoes but the corned beef is cooked in apple cider, giving it a sweeter flavor and the vegetables are doused in butter, making them far yummier than the cabbage and potatoes of my youth. I began to use those recipes for my own cooking to honor the 17th. Eaten only once a year this meal is delightful, if a bit unhealthy.
Both historical and contemporary romances set in England abound, and there are plenty of Scottish romances (especially Scottish romances with the word “Highlander” in the title). In fact, our own listing of Scots and Irish romances is dominated by the Scotland-set books. However, when I started thinking of Irish romances for St. Patrick’s Day, I quickly realized that there weren’t nearly as many out there. Perhaps some of the sad events in Ireland’s history have something to do with this. This is a shame, because Ireland is a beautiful place with a rich history that is far from 100% tragic and I hope more authors will discover it. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite romances with some tie to Ireland: