Picture of corned beef and cabbage.

Traditional St. Patrick's Day Food

In Ireland St. Patrick's Day was originally celebrated as a day of prayer. Families would attend mass and then spend the day together praying and eating traditional Irish food.

Typical foods that are eaten on St. Patrick's Day are corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, accompanied by Irish soda bread which can be washed down by some Guinness. According to historians as early as 888 AD, meat was preserved with rock salt or "corn" which was an early Germanic word for rock. Corned beef was served in both England and Ireland. In fact, Ireland was the largest exporter of corned beef until 1825 making it a traditional Irish meal. Potatoes were introduced into Ireland in the 16th century and have since then become staples of Irish cuisine. One of the most authentic potatoes dishes that is commonly eaten on St. Patrick's day is colcannon. Colcannon is made by mixing mashed garlic, kale and cabbage with cooked potatoes.

In the United States eating green food on St. Patrick's Day is a tradition in many families. From green icing on cakes, green bread, green eggs, to green beer, just about anything can be found in a shade of green around March 17th every year. However, in Ireland green was always viewed as being an unlucky color. Green was always considered to be an attraction for fairies who would steal the children of the country who were wearing the color green.

Whether you are looking for some green food or just some traditional Irish food on St. Patrick's Day, there are many restaurants and bars throughout every state which will be able to provide you with your holiday cuisine needs.


Katelyn Ryan

University of St. Thomas

St. Paul, MN 55105

Links checked December 2010

Copyright © 2010 Katelyn Ryan