Saint Patrick’s Day

Patrick`s Day Window

Lá Fhéile Pádraigh Dhaoibh go léir! Happy St Patrick`s Day to you all!

And I celebrated…
…with a run, of course!

St. Patrick’s Day means a day off work for many of us here in Ireland. It may be true that some people still spend that day in the pub. Others are certainly out and about at parades. Then there’s the traditional sort who spent Patrick’s Day just as we did growing up: Mass in the morning, shamrock pinned to our good coats, dinner at 1 pm and a gaelic match of some description in the afternoon.

Of course, being the contrary sort, I did none of these things today. Instead I decided the time had come to take on Killer Hill.

Killer Hill is 5km of winding, rising, undulating hell. I haven’t run it this year at all. I depend on decent daylight for that and, even though the weekend would surely afford me that, I prefer to spend those runs on grass. So, it was time to woman up and take it on.

I took the camera along too. Just so I might snap a little shamrock for you all. But Mother Nature was not so benevolent in her shamrock dispersals this side of the country. In fact, I only encountered two bunches. And both of them were being worn my an elderly couple.

Mind you, they made an interesting sight. They harked back to another era. She, with her neatly pressed dark red wool jacket, skirt and tan tights while he was in a lightly pin stripped suit: their Sunday best. They could’ve come straight out of the Ireland of the Seventies.

There were lots of people about too, of course, and plenty of traffic too. The weather seemed to suit everyone, with little wind, some sunshine and temperatures hovering happily around the 12 degree mark.

And it all helped to take the pain out of my uphill struggle.

Downhill was a breeze of course. Luckily I realised that I’ve rather a bad habit of switching the brakes on when heading downwards. This time I just gave into the hill and enjoyed the sensation of actual running as opposed to my normal shuffly jog mode.

Oh, and I’ve been running this past week. Don’t mistake my Dalkey blogpost or my beetle-like meanderings as a sign of me slacking off. I am happily out of the illness and injury mode and I’ve run four times in the past week.

But I am definitely running inside my comfort zone a lot of the time. No change of pace, no intervals, no hills just comfortable four mile jogs. And that’s something that will have to change.

Anyway, 6.3 miles done today and Killer Hill conquered. Hopefully, this marks an improvement in my training habits.

St. Patrick’s Day was traditionally a time for sowing the spuds, or giving the lawn its first cut after the winter months. Maybe it will prove the time for me to implement improved training patterns.

Back at the Chook House, the Teens had no interest in attending the local parades. So we celebrated with food instead. No, not bacon and cabbage or corned beef.

But Spiced Root Vegetables with Lime and Mint. It’s from the wonderful Domini Kemp,you’ll find the recipe here and it’s both easy and delicious.

Spiced Root Vegetables with Lime and Mint

Spiced Root Vegetables with Lime and Mint

And can’t you see the Irish flag lurking in there? We had it with boiled potatoes, of course, and steak (yes, Irish beef steak)

Happy St Pats

And for dessert, we bagged this perfect little St. Patrick’s Day cake from our local bakery.

I’m off all sweet stuff for Lent, but it’s a Patrick’s Day tradition that we can break Lent for that one day.

Some traditions are worth holding on to. And sometimes, it’s worth starting new ones.

St. Patrick`s Day


This was the view through my windscreen yesterday as I wound my way through Irish country roads. Yep, the guy in green is Saint Patrick. And its because of him that every small town in Ireland was clogged with traffic. Families churned out in their droves to follow their local parades headed up by the man himself.  And so my trip, which should have taken two hours, took almost twice that long. Tied for time as ever, I missed my running slot. And  I`m blaming St Patrick.

The quinntessentially Irish scene unfolded as I found myself at the top of a line of traffic awaiting clearance from an harrassed Ban Garda. Note the crowds huddled in warm jackets, the puddles on the road and of course, the ubiquitous Irish pub. All the elements we Irish love to give out about. And yet they`re the things most of us miss if we`re living abroad.(Okay, maybe not the puddles, though.)

Is there anything more miserable that St. Patrick`s Day parade in Ireland? The floats are generally of the highly amateur variety. The majorettes look frozen and forlorn in their too short skirts. The marching bands seem limited to the same old hokey Irish tunes and then there`s the tractors. What`s so exciting about watching a tractor passing?

These were the things I contemplated as I sat in my car watching my time for running ebb away before me.

All`s not lost, though.I`d clocked in a hill run on Saturday. Five point something miles, according to my garmin.

And I totted up my Garmin totals from the begining of the year. Not including my abysmal mileage of March, I have run 108 miles since the begining of the year. Yep, not the best. I can see clearly on the Garmin Connect calendar long stretched where I`ve gone a week at a time without any run at all. Sickness and the Spanish trip set me back and it sure is hard to haul my sorry ass back out onto the road again with those breaks.

In fact, today is a National Holiday in honour of St Patrick. And out on the road is exactly where I plan to be. But not yet. I am watching a steady drizzle of rain from the comfort of my own bed right now. There is no way in hell I am running in that.

March 18 2013 met

The ever helpful weather people show a more optimistic picture with their rainfall radar painting a reassuringly green picture of Ireland with hardly any rain at all at all.I should be good to go in an hour or so.

Just gonna have another little snooze first…

Maybe all`s forgiven, Paddy, `tis grand to have the day off.