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Slainte: The Irish Wake

Nearly thirty-eight years ago an exuberant friend named Eddie burst into the office where I was working as assistant to a...

Sláinte: A Winter’s Tale

Just because I live in Los Angeles doesn’t mean I’m an Angeleno. Natives here love that it’s sunny and quasi-summer...

Sláinte! Love Mór

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Edythe Preet gives us the story of Áine goddess of love, and the...

Sláinte: Soup is ON!

It rained yesterday. That might not be a big thing in Ireland or New York where drenching downpours only generate brief...


In This Issue

Sláinte! My Own Personal Seanachie

George Francis Burns, the  author’s father.

Edythe Preet writes about her father’s love of literature and storytelling.  ℘℘℘ June always finds me thinking about my Father more than usual. It’s Father’s Day month, his birthday was...


Sláinte! The Irish and their Horses

Horses on the island of Inismore.

Irish horses are much more than the stuff of legend ℘℘℘ It is spring. The foals are being born. In their gawky, long-legged honor, I give you the saga of the Irish and their horses. It is a...


Sláinte! The Little Clover

Shamrock on an Irish Defense Forces U.N. beret.

Slainte columnist Edythe Preet explores the story behind Ireland’s national symbol. ℘℘℘ Telling anyone with even just one drop of Irish blood there’s no such thing as a shamrock would be...


Sláinte! The Joyous Season

Dublin's Christchurch Cathedral at Christmas. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

Ireland’s ancient Christmas traditions and the magic of Newgrange.  ℘℘℘ The winter holidays are a time to gather with family and friends, to share abundance, to feast, to reflect on joyful...


Sláinte! The Magic of Mushrooms

A fairy ring, also known as fairy  circle. Since ancient times, naturally occurring rings of mushrooms were taken as a sign of  otherworldly presences.

From fairy rings to the perfect Thanksgiving side dish, mushrooms have fascinated people since antiquity.  ℘℘℘ Alert! Savvy insider grocery tip I’ve kept secret for several decades ahead!...


Sláinte! Women Rule

"Rosie the Riveter," by Norman Rockwell.

“I was elected by the women of Ireland who, instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.” – Mary Robinson, President of Ireland, 1990 – 1997 ℘℘℘ Several months ago, when 2016’s...


Sláinte! Heroes of the Revolution

Artistic  Interpretation of First Naval Battle of American Revolution – H.M.S.  Margaretta portside, Transport Unity  starboard. Jeremiah O’Brien and his four brothers seized the British warship.

As St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world, Edythe Preet looks to March 17, 1776, and the role the Irish played in America’s bid for freedom. ℘℘℘ Pop quiz: what color ink is used...


Sláinte! Everything’s Coming Up Ginger

One or two dunks for your gingerbread cookies? Edythe Preet answers.

Ireland is known for its redheads and also, Edythe Preet discovers, for its ginger lovers. So this Christmas, make some ginger cookies, grab a glass of milk, and settle down with J.P. Donleavy’s...


Sláinte! Birds of Celtic
Myths and Legend

Sunset Raven wallpaper from  Dark wallpapers at www.dark.pozadia.org.

In Irish folklore the raven was thought to be a messenger from the other world. ℘℘℘ Autumn is upon us. The leaves have gone gold and scarlet, night falls earlier, the air turns chill, and the...


Sláinte! Eat Your Veggies

Don’t  underestimate the  importance of multi- colored veggies in the Irish diet, writes Edythe Preet.

While most people think of Ireland as a nation of “meat and potato” eaters, vegetables and dairy products are also a vital part of the Irish diet. One of my favorite Irish proverbs concerns...


Sláinte! Flower Power

Dandelion field.

The long days of summer are upon us, and gardens everywhere are in bloom. Admiring the pretty flowers will satisfy some, but Sláinte columnist, Edythe Preet, likes to eat her plants. Freshly picked...


The Meat and Potatoes of Life

These are Irish cows that will become Irish beef. (Photo: P. Harty)

An Irish saying has it that “A dinner is not a dinner at all but only an excuse for one if it does not contain a plate of meat.” It’s a good bet that America’s penchant for “meat and...


Sláinte! Love Mór

Detail of “Áine,” by Caroline Evans. Watercolor and Ink. Image: carolineevans.net

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Edythe Preet gives us the story of Áine goddess of love, and the star-crossed lovers the warrior Diarmuid Ua and Gráinne, daughter of the High King...


Slainte! A Stitch in Time

Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers.

Every year December swoops in with a blizzard of holiday parties. There are office parties, cookie trading parties, trim the tree parties, cocktail parties, secret Santa parties, and more. But the...


Sláinte: I Love Pie!

Walter Crane (1845-1915) illustrations for the popular nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence.” Crane was born in Liverpool.

In one of my favorite movies – Michael, a tale of Michael the Archangel visiting earth to help a few folk find their way in life – a particularly sweet scene shows the central characters all...


Sláinte: Forty Shades of Green

Temple House garden, Co Sligo

Back in the nineties a friend’s gorgeous garden made me forty envious shades of green. Then in 2002, I moved into a little 1950s bungalow with a big backyard that was choked with weeds, discarded...


Sláinte: Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick stained glass window from Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland, CA.

It is perhaps a love of words that endears the Irish to Saint Patrick.  Son of a West Britain Roman family, at age sixteen Patrick was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. Six...


Sláinte: Soup is ON!

The ultimate soul food

It rained yesterday. That might not be a big thing in Ireland or New York where drenching downpours only generate brief comments from the weatherman. In Los Angeles even scattered showers are top...


Sláinte! Goblins, Ghosts and Ghoulies

The Banshee is one of the most feared creatures in Irish lore.

When it comes to goblins, ghosts, and ghoulies, most folk – without a fluttering heartbeat’s hesitation – will name Transylvania as the epicenter for scary creatures of the night. There’s...


Sláinte! Music, Music, Music

Left: Ireland's most famous tin-whistler, Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains, circa 1970s. Right: Ancient harp, believed to be Brian Boru's, is housed in Trinity College, Dublin.

Edythe Preet writes that music defines Ireland’s identity. For every country there is an iconic image that immediately brings the nation to mind. The United States has the Statue of Liberty....


Sláinte! Mother Earth

Two side-by-side hills in County Kerry are known as The Paps of Anu, the Earth goddess. Pastel on paper by Patricia Harty.

Edythe Preet writes of the many reasons why Ireland is called the Motherland. Civilization began when hunter-gatherers learned to cultivate grain and evolved into permanent agricultural communities....


Sláinte! Forty Shades of Red

Ireland's St. Brigid. Photo: Google Images

Brigid – Ireland’s red-haired saint – was one of history’s liberated women. Everyone knows that in Ireland one will encounter “forty shades of green.” Lesser realized is that another band...


Sláinte! Irish Glass: It’s Crystal Clear

The House of Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve ball.

Just before midnight on December 31, 2012, hordes of people will be crunched together like so many sardines in the icy cold midwinter streets surrounding New York City’s Times Square. They will be...


Sláinte! Where’s the Beef?

Carving a delectable roast

Bird or game, it’s all about carving against the grain, writes Edythe Preet, Irish Heritage Kitchen chef and Sláinte columnist. An old Irish saying has it that “A dinner is not a dinner at all...


Sláinte! Land of a Thousand Welcomes

Irish hospitality at Rusheen Lodge, Co. Clare. Photo by Nutan.

How the tradition of hospitality to strangers has its roots in an ancient law. For more than a thousand years Ireland was regulated by the Brehon Laws. Here are a few of my favorite examples. If a...


Sláinte! Ireland: It’s the Berries!

Wild Strawberries

If you ever visit Ireland during the month of June, it’s tempting to maximize summer’s daylight hours and ramble until the sun goes down. Not a good idea. In the island’s northern latitude,...


The Fast & The Feast

Eggs dyed for Easter with onion peels.

How Ireland perfected the journey from abstinent Lent to the celebratory feast of Easter. Throughout the history of Western civilization, spring’s arrival was always a time for feasting and gaiety....


Wine: Another Irish Triumph

Wine glasses

The legacy of the Celts in Ireland and how, in the absence of grapes, they used their wine making skills to create a honey-wine. Odds are, you’re familiar with the fact that beer, stout and whiskey...



Waterford crystal ball from the 100th anniversary of the ball dropping in Times Square in 2008.

New Year – A Time of Big Portions Edythe Preet, Irish America columnist, Jan 2012 Who needs Hocus Pocus when we have global positioning satellite systems, cell phones, ipods, and full-body...


Sláinte! The Night of Cakes

Illustration by Benedetta Celada

No Christma-a-as! No Christma-a-as!” Such was the town crier’s chant in the streets of 17th-century Dublin when Ireland felt the hammer blow of Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan iron fist. Garlands of...


Sláinte! Feile Na Marbh – the origins of Halloween

Halloween festival in Derry City

Slainte! Columnist Edythe Preet explore how Feile Na Marbh or “Feast of the Dead” became Halloween- with recipes That which we know as All Hallows Eve actually began as a harvest festival...


Sláinte: Oysters Galore


Edythe Preet explores the history of Ireland’s favorite bivalve, from Mesolithic times to today’s Galways Oyster Festival. Opening an oyster can be a daunting task. Those little critters...


Dublin, City of Literature


Recipes inspired by James Joyce’s Dublin When I was young, my father’s oft repeated favorite riddle was: What is the richest country in the world? The first time he quizzed me, I wracked my...


Sláinte! Trees, Tea and ESP

Reading tea leaves

Edythe Preet explores ancient traditions of fortune telling and explains how to see the future in a cup of tea. My Irish grandmother, Margaret McCaffrey, was a psychic. “Pooh! Not possible,” you...


Slainte! Alive, Alive-Oh!

Dublin's iconic Molly Malone statue. Photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland.

Dublin’s iconic Molly Malone statue Lately, I’ve been craving oysters, crab, and mussels. I could write it off to the fact that I keep seeing rafts of the succulent treats on shopping forays....


Slainte! Ireland’s Viking Heritage

A Viking ship replica.

Edythe Preet looks at the legacy of the Vikings in Ireland, including influences that linger in Irish winter holiday celebrations. One day while searching for I can’t remember what in my foot-thick...


Sláinte!: Feasting with the Angels

Little Skellig seen through a window of the hermitage of Skellig Michael

Pop quiz: what’s the most popular Irish boy’s name? Odds are, the first one that came to mind was Patrick. Wrong. While Saint Patrick is Ireland’s patron, his name comes in at #18. Go ahead,...


Sláinte: The Bread of Life!

Irish Bread

Many scholars contend that our prehistoric ancestors gave up their hunting-and-gathering lifestyle once they learned how to bake bread. Although there is evidence that barley was sown and harvested...


Sláinte!: Irish Cowgirls and Award-winning Cheesemakers

Sue Conley and Peggy Smith

My friend Vickie’s face blossoms with one of those secret smiles when I tell her she’s a cheesy broad. Truth of the matter is, she’s a cheese guru who, given the slightest opportunity, will...


Sláinte: A Winter’s Tale

Wicklow hills on a winter afternoon

Just because I live in Los Angeles doesn’t mean I’m an Angeleno. Natives here love that it’s sunny and quasi-summer all year long. Not me. Locals think I’m crazy. Crazy like a fox, I say....


Sláinte: Rest in Peace Ted Kennedy

As my sophomore year of high school began in 1960, the country was buzzing with the coming election. An Irish American was running for president! My Irish relatives rallied to the call and even my...


Sláinte!: Bless the Buttie!

When autumn arrives, trees turn shades of ochre, orange and scandalous scarlet, scents of wood smoke waft on the suddenly chill air, and I am annually reminded of my first trip to Ireland. It was...


Sláinte!: Irish Wedding Traditions

Just when I think I have my dad all figured out, a new snippet of info comes to light, and June always finds me thinking more about him than usual. It’s Father’s Day month, his birthday was the...


Sláinte!: The Tree of Life

Though I am at most times a mild-mannered pacifist, last week I had a meltdown. But I had a good reason. I was fighting to save a tree. Every winter since moving into my Fifties Bungalow in 2002, I...


Sláinte!: Runny Honey

One day last summer while inspecting the progress of my vegetable plants, I heard something that sounded like a giant cell phone on vibrator setting. Turning in the direction of the noise and peering...


Sláinte!: Penny Wise & Tasty Too

As I sit and write this during the global economic meltdown of October 2008, I admit to getting tired of listening to all the pundits predict that 2009 is going to be a humdinger of a financial...


Sláinte!: All Hail the Humble Spud!

Back in first grade my See Spot Run primer told how Dick and Jane grew potatoes in their backyard and roasted them in an autumn leaf bonfire. If those kids can do that, I thought, so can I. Mom...


Sláinte!: Dancing at Lughnasa

An illustration of the god Lugh of Irish folklore

Of all the months of the year, only August has no ‘official’ holiday. That’s poor marketing if you ask me. Holidays generate more ‘stimulus’ to the economic calendar than any paltry...


Sláinte!: Holy Wells

The sacred nature of water was revered by our ancestors for its healing powers. It always amuses me when a phone call with someone on the East Coast includes the question: “How’s the weather in...


Sláinte!: A Charmed Life


My friend Michael says he has a charming mother. He hastens to add: “I know you think we all do, but my mother has charms other than the ones on her gold bracelet. She has the ability to stop...


Sláinte!: Ireland Conquers The World

Fado Pub in Chicago, one of the Irish Pub Company’s brands.

Pining for a pint of stout, an earful of blarney, and a toe-tapping fiddle tune but find yourself far removed from the Emerald Isle? Fret not. Edythe Preet has the answer. Be ye in an off-island...


Sláinte!: Ballinasloe’s
Great October Fair

Thousands from all over came to Ballinasloe, Co. Galway for the oldest horse fair in Europe this week end.

An Irish adage advises: Go East for a woman; go West for a horse. When I was a girl I had a bicycle. I wanted a horse. That was not in the cards for this city child, so I named my bike Lightening and...


Sláinte!: Go, Big Fan, Go

Adrienne Clune carrying firewood.

I don’t watch much television. Mainly because, despite the hundreds of channels, the menu is mostly repeats. Every so often, however, something extraordinary airs and I become (dare I admit it?) a...


Sláinte!: Comfort & Coincidence

A Wedding Day and Bloomsday Coincide Coincidences never cease to amaze me. Once is, well, coincidence. Twice, will earn a ‘hmmm.’ Three times, sends the eyebrows soaring. But when something...


Slainte: The Irish Wake

Illustration: "His Master's Nose" by Gertrude Degenhardt

Nearly thirty-eight years ago an exuberant friend named Eddie burst into the office where I was working as assistant to a Hollywood producer commanding, “Come with me right now. I want to introduce...


Sláinte! Irish Tree Tales

Ireland’s Trees: Top Left: Rostrevor, Co. Down. Top Right: Connemara, Co. Galway.

From space, Earth resembles a big beautiful marble with swirling patterns of blue (oceans), white (clouds), and green (trees).  As global warming makes weekly headlines, we are warned of the dire...