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March 15, 2021

A Toast to the Irish

Louise Campbell

You don’t have to be Irish to be Irish!

According to a recent census, almost a third of Prince Edward Islanders are of Irish descent – a proportion which is fairly consistent throughout Atlantic Canada.  On St. Patrick’s Day, though, as recounted in song in the 1971 family movie Flight of the Doves, you don’t have to be Irish to be Irish!  That’s why each year, on March 17, the Irish population appears to shoot up dramatically.

Irish Soda Bread– perfect for a piece of smoked herring toast!

For the uninitiated, St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated on the anniversary of his death, dates back to the 1700s and commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.  In that country, it is still largely celebrated in a religious context.  In other parts of the world, though, the celebration is more cultural in nature, focused on joining parades, attending ceilidhs, wearing green, sporting shamrocks and hoisting glasses of green beer to toast the day.

Here on PEI, many people, some without an Irish bone in their bodies, devote their entire day to the celebration. In non-pandemic times, local pubs start the day-long celebration by hosting well-attended Irish breakfasts – complete with blood pudding – as fundraisers for local charities.  The music and conviviality continue then, right through the day, until long after the calendar turns to the 18th.  Long line-ups to get into the pubs are as traditional and rowdy as the parties inside.

We Islanders also share, with the fine folks of Ireland, a love of and dependence on the fishery.

We Islanders also share, with the fine folks of Ireland, a love of and dependence on the fishery.  Like ours, their traditional fishery includes cod, haddock, mackerel and herring as well as crab and lobster.  At Mary Manette, our reputation is built on tradition.  In fact, our smoked seafood – infused with flavour, woodsmoke and fresh ocean air – brings the Atlantic Canada fishing tradition direct to your table.

Ye olde bucket of herring

Invite Mary Manette to a private celebration of all that is Irish.

This St. Patrick’s Day, amid COVID-19, rousing group celebrations will not be possible. Instead, invite Mary Manette to a private celebration of all that is Irish.  Grace your table with our tinned smoked herring and mussels, corned beef, and Irish soda bread slathered with salty butter.  To the strains of traditional music, hoist some local beer (tinted green if you like) in a toast.  Because, remember, you don’t have to be Irish to be Irish!

A toast to the Irish– Mary Manette Seafood style

 

Louise Campbell

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