Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Erin Go Bragh!

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Irish eyes are smiling on the O’Grady side of my family from County Cork. I don’t know much about our ancestry, but I do know that we’ve been tempted by the DNA sample tests on the paternal lines. From what I understand, they’ve received a mixed review. So until one of us receives one for free, and I swab away and write about it, I’ll wait ’till I travel abroad I think. Or maybe one of you know an O’Grady from County Cork? I’m looking to enjoy some Irish Soda Bread, Green Beer and some Irish Toasts, and Corned Beef and Cabbage. Yummy. I’ll even put a little green food color in the kids milk and turn their teeth green ;) From cooks.com (I add potatoes)

Place in crock pot in order:
3 carrots, cut in 3 inch pieces3-4 lb. corned beef brisket2-3 med. onions, quartered1-2 c. water1/2 sm. cabbage, cut in wedges

Add cabbage to liquid, pushing down to moisten, after 6 hours on low or 3 hours on high. Cover and cook 10-12 hours on low, 5-6 hours on high.

1 tablespoon baking soda1 tablespoon sugar4 cups flo0ur2 1/3 teaspoons salt1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar2 cups buttermilk1 tablespoon butter

Thoroughly combine baking soda, sugar, flour, salt and cream of tartar. Make a well in the center. Add buttermilk and mix lightly and quickly with a fork.Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for one minute. Shape into a circle, about 1 1/2 inch thick. Place on a greased cooke sheet. Slask a large cross in the top.Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 40-45 minutes.Cool on a wire rack. Brush top with butter while still warm. Cool before slicing to serve.Variations: 1 cup raisins, craisins, citron or dried fruits and a few tablespoons caraway seeds may be added. 1/2 yogurt or sour cream and 1/2 milk may be substituted for buttermilk.Submitted by: CM

Happy St. Patty’s and Many Irish Blessings to everyone!

Will you eat corned beef and cabbage today? Are you wearing green? Or is today just another Monday in the long, slow slog to summer?

Today is St. Patrick's Day, a day to honor Ireland's St. Patrick, who converted the pagans to Christianity in the fourth century. But what is it really, other than a reason to drink green beer?

For Erin O'Reilly Hutton, it's many things.

As the owner of On The House, 1153 High Ave., Hutton doesn't scoff at the celebratory part of St. Patrick's Day. Like many pubs around the country, she made Saturday her official St. Patrick's Day party to cater to those who don't want to come out on Monday.

For them, she made 70 pounds of corned beef and all the green beer customers can swallow.

"(The bar) is just a corner, mom and pop place with a lot of regulars, said Hutton, 35. "Throughout the year we do fun things for them."

Hutton's mom, Josephine O'Reilly, still makes several loaves of traditional Irish soda bread every year, which Hutton's customers get to sample.

"I think people forget it's a Christian holiday," Hutton said. "They think it's a drinking holiday and they like it for that reason. "It's a real excuse to have a party. You don't need a reason, but it's nice when there is one."

At St. Mary's School in Sheboygan Falls, second-grade teacher Mary LaViolette makes a point of talking about the saints to her students throughout the school year.

In March, the choice is easy.

"We talk about all of our traditions, customs of our families, how they celebrate different feast days, different holidays, different holy days," LaViolette said. "I think we all do at St. Mary's."

The class talks about the legend of St. Patrick, about how he was brought to Ireland as a slave from Britain, escaped and became a bishop only to return to Ireland to spread the gospel, she said.

The saints have a special place in the hearts of the second-graders.

"There's always a reason … they gave to the poor, they shared everything they had, they gave up their life to God," she said. "They're all role models."

On Saturday, a half-dozen kids were at the Plymouth Arts Center decorating St. Patrick's Day themed pictures — rainbows with pots of gold — using brightly colored pastels and special green "leprechaun dust" that gave their drawings a rainy appearance when wetted down.

Leading the class was Cassy Tully, the center's educational coordinator and art teacher, who happens to be half-Irish and fully into the St. Patrick's holiday, the evidence being the green T-shirt she wore, emblazoned with her family's name and big shamrocks.

"Irish songs are usually a part of our family traditions, weddings and things like that," said Tully, 24, whose family name was once O'Toole until the "O" was dropped and the rest evolved into Tully.

"There's a castle in Ireland, the Tully Castle, and someday, I'll get there," she said.

St. Patrick's Day is also a very big deal at 52 Stafford Irish Guest House in Plymouth.

Beth Waller, a 10-year employee of the restaurant and bed and breakfast said the annual "Irishman's Walk" parade down middle of town draws between 40 and 100 people every year, depending on the weather.

"They dress up, they dress up their dogs, they pull their kids in wagons," Waller said.

The restaurant and bar started its celebration on Sunday with an Irish band from Milwaukee, as did Manning's Irish Pub in Sheboygan.

Manning's brought in an Irish band on Saturday, said bar employee Sarah Finley, but tonight's entertainment is oldies band Too Cool.

"We don't really do anything big, people just kind of flock here because it's an Irish pub," she said. "It's usually pretty big — I don't know how big it'll be on a Monday."