Easter Traditions In Ireland


Easter is one of the most celebrated religious festivals worldwide… today we are looking at some of the traditions here in Ireland!

To our ancestors, an Irish Easter was a time of religious contemplation, fasting, feasting and dancing. Holy Week, the week that includes Good Friday, used to be a full seven-day period of extreme denial. Black tea, dry bread, potatoes with salt (but no butter or buttermilk) and perhaps a little porridge made up the daily fare of this difficult week until Friday when some families denied themselves anything other than dry bread and water.

Coming as it did after a five week period of semi-fasting, when salted herring and a bit of milk might have additionally been allowed (but no meat), Holy Week was tough. So tough that the Holy Week fast was officially relaxed to two days by the Church authorities in the mid-19th century.

Good Friday

Since medieval times, all bread baked on Good Friday was marked with a cross, in remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion on this day. The custom survives in the Hot Cross Buns we eat in modern times.

This most simple of Irish Easter traditions can be witnessed every day of the year; the custom of marking home-made bread with a cross persists all over Ireland.

Eggs that hatched on Good Friday were thought to produce particularly healthy birds while eggs that were laid on this day were, like bread, marked with a cross and then saved for eating until Easter Sunday.

Depending on the date of Easter, it was also traditional to sow corn on Good Friday, but this would only be done if the potato seed had already been planted.

Easter Eve

Dried fish, and particularly herring, varied the meagre diet of our rural and coastal ancestors for the six-week fast from meat. By the time Easter Saturday arrived, hungry minds were avidly anticipating a good meal of roasted or boiled meat. Pity the poor herring! Having provided such sustainance, the population made it the scapegoat for their hunger in a ceremony known as Whipping the Herring.

Butchers, happy in the knowledge that they would soon be selling meat again, were usually the organisers of the procession which involved hanging a dead fish from a pike and carrying it through the streets. Everyone was invited to whip it as it made its journey to the nearest river where it was discarded in the waters.

On the way back from the river, the procession would carry a dead spring lamb, dressed in ribbons and flowers.

This Irish Easter tradition was known across the island and persisted right into the 20th century.

Easter Sunday

The fast of Lent finally came to a close on Easter Saturday so the next day was a day of feasting. Lamb, veal and chicken were part of the festive fare of the well-to-do. They might also be on the menu for the neighbours of a generous farmer who was prepared to share his livestock. But for the majority, the centrepiece of the feast consisted of corned (salted) beef, a baked Easter ham or boiled bacon served with cabbage and potatoes.

The day began with eggs. And plenty of them. The average Easter breakfast for a man consisted of six eggs. Yes, Six! They might be fried or boiled. If the latter, natural colourings from herbs or lichens were added to the boiling water to dye the shells which were then kept to decorate the May bush, another Irish custom.

Children had their very own Irish Easter traditions known as the clúdóg. This involved calling on neighbours and family to collect gifts of eggs, potatoes, cakes, bread and butter, and milk or flavoured water. The children would then gather in a field, a makeshift ‘den’ beneath a tree, or a fireside (if the weather was poor) to cook their eggs and enjoy their feast.

Other Irish Easter traditions were the rolling of hard-boiled eggs down the nearest hill, giving roasted potatoes to any beggar who called at the door, and the Cake Dance.

This latter custom dates back to medieval times but may be much older. It wasn’t only held on Easter Sunday. It was a means of celebrating, so might also be held to mark the beginning of Summer, the bringing in of the harvest or any other excuse for fun on a fine sunny evening.

The focus of this tradition was a cake, usually a barm brack (a current loaf) with animals, birds and fishes marked out on its raised crust. This cake would be placed in a prominent position and fussily placed on a piece of Irish linen or other fine white cloth, and then the music would start up and the dancing begin.

Depending on the locality or the sentiments of the day, the winners might be the couple who danced longest or were judged to have been the most sprightly. They were declared to have the right of ‘taking the cake’ and could share it with their friends.

The Cake Dance was one of the most popular and widespread of Irish Easter traditions and continued to be a feature of the season until well into the 20th century.


Fun Activitity To Do In Dublin City Centre This Easter

Wax Museum

It’s almost that time of year again… Easter Holidays! Keeping the kids entertained whilst they are off school can be a challenging and daunting task but there are some fantastic affordable options available in the heart of Dublin guaranteed to keep the children (and adults!) entertained.

Home to some of the most famous national, and international stars, the Wax Museum (located in Fosters Place, Temple Bar) is an ideal and fun activity for all the family and provides a welcome opportunity to pop into Dublin city.

Over the Easter break, from Saturday 28th of March to Easter Sunday 5th of April, the museum will have a fun Easter egg hunt going on. Easter eggs will be scattered in hidden locations throughout the museum for kids (and maybe adults too!) to hunt for. It’ll add an extra element of fun to a tour already brimming with fun and excitement!

But of course they also have plenty for the adults. Easter is coincidentally a time of year that quite a few events of note in Irish history occurred. You can visit our Easter 1916 Rising exhibit to see the brave men and women who fought for our country’s independence. Sticking with the theme of significant events in Irish history, you have to check out the Good Friday Agreement room. Inside stand the politicians who set their differences aside to come together and sign the agreement that signalled the end of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.

Aside from the seasonally relevant exhibits and going’s on, they also have a large variety of exhibits to suit everyone’s taste. Irish history, culture, children’s world, science & discovery zone, chamber of horrors, wax factor studios and much more, they really do have something for everyone. Be sure to visit over the Easter break with the whole family and let them know Temple Bar Hotel sent you!

For more information on the Wax Museum, click here.


St Patrick’s Day Traditions & Celebrations

Saint Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching and we have decided to look at some of the traditions of the annually celebrated day.

Saint Patrick’s Festival or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration occurring annually on 17 March, the death date and most commonly-recognised patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick.

Celebration & Traditions

On Saint Patrick’s Day it is customary to wear shamrock and/or green clothing or accessories (“the wearing of green). St Patrick is said to have used the Shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. The wearing of the “St Patrick’s Day Cross”, especially in World War I era, by the Irish, was also a popular custom. These St Patrick’s Day Crosses have a Celtic Christian Cross made of paper that is “covered with silk or ribbon of different colours, and a bunch or rosette of green silk in the centre.”

The colour green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s. Green was adopted as the colour of the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick, an Irish brotherhood founded in about 1750. However, when the Order of Saint Patrick – An Anglo-Irish chivalric society – was founded in 1783 it adopted blue as its colour. In the 1790s, green became associated with Irish Nationalism when it was used by the United Irishmen. This was a  republic organisation – led mostly by Protestants but with many Catholic members – who launched a rebellion in 1798 against British rule. The phrase “wearing of the green” comes from a song of the same name, which laments United Irishmen supporters being persecuted for wearing green. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick’s Day grew.

St Patrick’s Festival Today

The first St Patricks Festival was held on 17 March 1996. A year later, it became a three-day celebrated event, and by the year 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long and over 500,000 people attended the parade. In 2009 almost one-million people took part in various celebrations across Dublin, which included, outdoor theatre performances, fireworks, concerts & more.

The topic of the 2004 Saint Patrick’s Symposium was “Talking Irish”, during which the nature of Irish identity, economic success, and the future were discussed. Since 1996, there has been a greater emphasis on celebrating and projecting a fluid and inclusive notion of “Irishness” rather than an identity based around traditional religious or ethnic allegiance. The week around Saint Patrick’s Day usually involves Irish language speakers using more Irish during Seachtain Na Gaeilge (“Irish Language Week”).

As well as Dublin, many other cities, towns, and villages in Ireland hold their own parades and festivals, including Cork, Belfast, Derry, Galway, Kilkenny, and Waterford. The biggest celebrations outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, County Down, where Saint Patrick is rumoured to be buried. In 2004, according to Down District Council, the week-long Saint Patrick’s Festival had more than 2,000 participants and 82 floats, bands, and performers and was watched by more than 30,000 people.

The shortest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world takes place in Dripsey, Cork. The parade lasts just 100 yards and travels between the village’s two pubs.

Celebrations around the world

  • The White House fountain goes green.
  • Sydney Opera House goes green.
  • The pyramids and Sphinx in Giza, Egypt is lit-up green.
  • Amman Citadel Jordan is lit green.
  • Romania’s Parliament Palace is illuminated in green.
  • HMS Belfast is lit-up green.
  • The Las Vegas “Welcome” sign is turned green.
  • The Armadillo, Glasgow is turned green.
  • The Pacific Science Centre, Seattle is turned green.
  • The Chicago River is dyed green.
  • Parades in America, Russia, England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Poland and many more.

Whatever your plans for St Patricks Day, make sure to check out http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/ for information on upcoming events and be sure to visit Temple Bar Hotel, in the heart of Dublin city which embodies the atmosphere of Irish culture & society.

St Paddys Day 2015


Pancake Tuesday!!!


Its one of our favourite food-related days of the year… PANCAKE TUESDAY! But where did this world-wide phenomena originate  from and why do we decide to eat pancakes on this one specific day of the year? We looked at the meaning behind Pancake Tuesday and discovered some interesting facts from around the world.

Pancake Tuesday is actually known as “Shrove Tuesday”, the day before “Ash Wednesday” when traditionally Lent begins. Being before the last day before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one sacrifices for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations, before commencing the fasting and religious obligations associated with Lent. The term Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.


Like many other European holidays, the pancake day was originally a pagan holiday. Before the Christian era, the Slavs believed that the change of seasons was a struggle between Jarilo, the god of vegetation, fertility and springtime, and the evil spirits of cold and darkness. People believed they had to help Jarilo fight against winter and bring in the spring. The most important part of Shrovetide week (the whole celebration of the arrival of spring lasted one week) was making and eating pancakes. The, round pancakes symbolised the sun. The Slavs believed that by eating pancakes, they got the power, light and warmth of the sun. The first pancake was usually put on a window for the spirits of the ancestors. On the last day of Shrovetide week, some pancakes and other food were burnt in a bonfire to the pagan gods.


In Ireland, the UK, Australia & Canada, Shrove Tuesday is known as “Pancake Day” or “Pancake Tuesday” due to the tradition of eating pancakes on the day.

Catholic and Protestant countries (outside those mentioned above) traditionally call the day before Ash Wednesday “Fat Tuesday” or “Mardi Gras”. The name predated the Reformation and referred to the common Christian tradition of eating special rich foods before the fasting season of Lent.

For German American populations, such as, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, it is known as Fastnacht Day (also spelled Fasnacht, Fausnacht, or Fosnacht).

In some parts of the United States with large Polish communities, such as, Gudisdienstag, preceded by Gudismontag. According to the Duden (semi-official dictionary of the German language), the term derives from “Gudel”, which means a fat stomach full of food.

In Iceland the day is known as Sprengidagur (Bursting Day) and is marked by eating salted meat and peas.


Valentines Traditions from Around the World!!!

For the romantic week that’s in it.. we have decided look at some Valentines Day traditions from around the world.


In this part of the world its all about spoiling the man… not the other way around like most western cultures! Japanese women are known to be shy & reserved when it comes to expressing their love with romantic gestures. However, on February 14th each year, the women are at the forefront of showering their men with gifts and affection, most popularly, chocolates to express their love and commitment.

South Korea;

Similarly to Japan, on Valentine’s Day it is more common for women to shower their men with gifts as a sign of their love and affection. In return, women receive gifts on “White Day” from men which is on March 14th. The romantic traditions don’t stop there… one month later on April 14th, they have “Black Day”, when people who are single and didn’t receive any gifts on Valentines Day meet up at restaurants to eat “jajangyeon”. Jajangyeon is a dish made from white Korean noodles with a black bean sauce, referred to as black beans. Some say this tradition of eating black noodles with other single friends is a celebration of the single life, while others view it as being more of a consolation dinner or mourning of being single.


In Taiwan, the Japanese/South Korean tradition of Valentines Day and White Day is reversed, in the sense that men give women gifts. The women then return the favour by giving the men gifts on White Day.

Denmark & Norway;

Largely imported from the west “Valentinsdag”, as it is known or Valentines Day was not widely celebrated in the past but has been more celebrated in more recent years. However, they have managed to come up with their own quirky tradition that locals have embraced and made popular on this day. “Gaekkebrev” are funny poems or rhyming love notes that men send to women anonymously on Valentines Day, giving them clues who it is from which they then have to guess. If she guesses correctly then she receives an Easter egg on Easter Sunday or if she is wrong then she must give her “admirer” an Easter egg.


Welsh people celebrate “St Dwynwen’s Day” (the patron saint of love) on January 25th and is there equivalent of Valentine’s Day. On this day it is customary for men to gift their loved one with love-spoons, an age-old tradition that started when Welsh men (possibly originating among sailors), would carve intricately decorated spoons of wood and would then present them to a lady that they were interested in courting or marrying. The designs they carved on the spoon handles were symbolic too. For example, keys would signify a man’s heart, wheels his hard work, and beads his preferred number of offspring and so on. The love-spoon tradition is still in existence today.


In the 1700’s, on the eve of Valentines Day, single women would place/pin five bay leaves, one at each corner of their pillows and one in the centre, with the belief that it would bring them dreams of their future husbands. Another variation of this tradition was to sprinkle bay leaves with rosewater and leave them across their pillows saying “Good Valentine, be kind to m. In my dreams, let my kind love see”. This tradition is still thought to be used every once in a while.

In Norfolk (England), they have a “Santa Claus” of sorts know as “Jack Valentine” sometimes known-as “Old Father Valentine” or “Old Mother Valentine”. This lovable but mysterious character is said to knock at the door of little children on Valentine’s Eve and leaves them treats and little presents. Although it is not known how or when this tradition originated, it is still quite commonly practiced today.


Dubbed as one of the most romantic countries in the world, it comes as no surprise that France too carries on its own Valentines tradition. Their most popular tradition was called “une loterie d’amour” that translates into “drawing for love”. This practice involved single men and women of all ages entering houses that were located directly across from one another and calling each other out until everyone was paired with someone of the opposite sex. If the men didn’t like their match, they would simply leave the woman for another man to call. As part of the tradition, the women that didn’t get paired up got together for a ceremonial bonfire in which they tossed pictures & objects of the men who rejected them, whilst swearing and hurling curses at the opposite sex. This tradition truly exemplified the phrase “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!”, so much so, that the French government officially banned the practice all together because of how rowdy and uncontrollable the event tended to get.


Seven Random Facts About Temple Bar!!!

Over the last few weeks (unless you are living under a large stone!) you may have noticed “Seven Random Facts” have been taking over people’s newsfeeds via social media… So we at Temple Bar Hotel have decide to divulge “Seven Random Facts” about Temple Bar.

  1. The Vikings settled here in Temple Bar in 795. Remains of their settlement’s fortifications can still be seen at Dublin Castle. Some 800 years later, the English diplomat and provost of Trinity College, Sir William Temple, had his residence and gardens here in the early 17th century. By the end of the 17th century the area had acquired the name it still goes by today, Temple Bar.

  2. Temple Bar was long written off when state transport company CIE started buying up property here in the 1980’s with the view to building a huge bus depot. While waiting for planning permission by the city, CIE decided to let out the empty premises at cheap rates. Attracted by the bargain rents, artists, fringe boutiques and alternative eateries started to shoot up all over Temple Bar.

  3. Street markets play a key part in the Temple Bar experience. The Temple Bar Food Market on Meeting House Square is a Dublin institution. Every Saturday from 10:00 to 16:30, Dubliners flock here to pick up Irish farmhouse cheeses, fresh oysters, local meat products, organic vegetables and handmade chocolates. The Temple Bar Food Market is the place to go for artisanal Irish food products, either as great presents or to furnish a picnic in nearby Phoenix Park or St Stephen’s Green.

  4. Temple Bar is easily the most ‘European’ part of Dublin. Whatever the weather, you will find trendy Dublin types sipping their Espresso on the pavement in front of one of the many cafes and snack bars. During the day and at night, life in Temple Bar takes place in the streets – More so than in any other part of town.

  5. 114 hours and 20 minutes. That’s how long it took Dave Browne to break the Guinness world record for longest continuous guitar playing session in The Temple Bar pub. He played 1,372 songs in total, and if he’s anything like other Dublin cover musicians, at least 200 of those were ‘Galway Girl‘.

  6. You get excellent pubs and bars all over Dublin, but only in Temple Bar will you be able to literally step out of one pub and straight into the next one without as much as hitting the pavement in between. The pubs of Temple Bar are always busy and you are almost guaranteed to never have a dull moment.

  7. Music is in the air all over Temple Bar, from traditional Irish folk music, to the latest international bands and DJs at Buskers Bar & Alchemy Nightclub. If you prefer a quieter form of entertainment, why not join Dublin folks queuing up for a theatre, play or a performance at the New Theatre or the Projects Art Centre. Alternatively, you can watch an Irish made film or an international art house movie at the Irish Film Institute.

    For more information or facts about Temple Bar, check out http://www.dublin.info/temple-bar/


Valentine’s Day!!!

Saint Valentines Day, also known as “Valentine’s Day” or “Feast of Saint Valentine” is a day celebrated annually on 14th February.

Although many may view Valentines Day as a gimmick, the day itself has become increasingly popular through the years and for many it is an opportunity to celebrate love and all that it embodies! Valentines Day is not a myth and indeed there is a history to back-up this popular annual event.

The popular belief about St Valentine is that he was a priest from Rome in the third century AD. Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men were bad soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret. When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. There, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”.

Valentine’s Day is a very old tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman festival. The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February, officially the start of their springtime. It’s thought that as part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box. They’d be boyfriend and girlfriend during the festival and sometimes they’d get married. Later on, the church wanted to turn this festival into a Christian celebration and decided to use it to remember St Valentine too.

Throughout the ages, St Valentine’s name started to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved and gained momentum over the last number of decades and established itself as one of the most popular days in the year for people to send cards, book a romantic meal & book a romantic break etc.

Although Valentines Day is predominantly a day to celebrate all things love-related, internationally, Valentines Day is celebrated for many various reasons. Valentine’s Day in Finland & Guatemala is known-as “Friend’s Day”, a time to appreciate friends in some social circles and cultures, they focus on celebrating friendship opposed to romance. Similarly in the United States they use Valentines Day to show their appreciation to their family & friends.

Why not celebrate Valentine’s Day this year with the one you love in the heart of Dublin City Centre in Temple Bar Hotel with our fantastic offer which includes a three-course dinner with bottle of house wine in The Whiskey Corner Restaurant & VIP passes to Alchemy Nightclub & Venue for only €59 for two people! (subject to availability)

Valentines 2015 - Artwork Valentines Menu 2015 - starters, main Valentines Menu 2015 - desserts, sides