How to Throw an Irish Party
Any celebration can be converted into an Irish party, and not just on St. Patrick's Day. In Ireland, the only time they decorate with shamrocks, leprechauns, etc., is during the St. Patrick's week parties. For other celebrations the decorations pertain to the type of party, as for a birthday, for example. The music for your Irish party varies widely. It could be traditional Irish party songs, instrumental Irish standards or harp music for a quiet occasion. It could also be with a live band or recorded Irish favorites by the Chieftains or other famous Irish groups. The choice is yours.
Other than Irish music, the two most important ingredients are to have plenty of Irish food and drink. The most obvious difference would be a party for a woman versus a party for a man. Some of the party ideas for a woman would be a birthday, Mother's Day, wedding or baby shower; and for a man, a birthday, Father's Day, sports championship or a stag party. Of course, there would be holidays or celebrations that would combine both, such as Christmas, New Year's Eve, Valentines Day, wedding anniversary or an Irish theme party for any day of the year.
My sister gave me a suggestion of another party idea. She once participated in a sort of 'international dining club' consisting of five couples. Each couple would take turns hosting a dinner party on a monthly basis. The host couple would choose the country to feature, such as Ireland, and they would be responsible for the main course and the beverages. The other couples would each bring a course, such as an appetizer, soup, salad and dessert. This type of party is great fun and a lot is learned about the country's traditions and food. Of course, you can dress in traditional costume, too, if desired.
Depending on which type of party you are hosting, we have a large variety of recipes, from appetizers to desserts, that will help you in choosing your menu. By menu, I do not mean that the party would have to be a full course, sit down dinner, unless that is your plan. In my experience, a buffet is the most practical way to go. With everything prepared ahead, a buffet allows you, as the host or hostess, to enjoy the company of your friends and join in the festivities, whatever they may be.
Many of the authentic Irish foods and ingredients for your menu are available in our online store and in our Irish recipes section. After you have chosen the date for your party, your first decision is to choose the menu. If you will be ordering imported Irish foods, you should plan your menu as early as possible, or at least two weeks prior to your party date to allow time for food delivery. Below is a list of sample menus for a few different types of parties.
These menus are just a sample of some of our Irish food recipes and products in our online store. You may choose to accompany your meats and cheeses with savory Irish mustards, relishes, chutneys or sauces. You may also prefer to purchase ready made cakes, cookies or other products. I'm sure you will make wonderful choices.
Once you have your Irish party date and menu planned, it is time to prepare your invitations. Be sure to include the date and time, mention of the Irish theme, the menu and RSVP information, usually needed for a party with food being served. You should plan to have slightly more food servings than the number of guests because you don't want to be caught short. However, too much additional food is extra work and time consuming.
Party decorations can be purchased at any local party store or ordered on-line from ShindigZ.com. Specific holiday decorations are seasonal and it is best to purchase them as soon as possible for the best selection. It is not necessary to include St. Patrick's Day decor unless it is a St. Patrick's Day party. You will have a difficult time finding them at any other time of the year. If you feel that you must have something Irish, get some green craft paper and cut out some shamrock shapes. You could also hang orange, white and green streamers around the room, to represent the Irish flag; or buy some orange, white and green balloons for the same affect. Another idea is to purchase party plates, cups, tablecloths, napkins and utensils in a combination of the three Irish colors.
A successful party is your goal and you should have a plan in mind to keep your guests entertained, not that you personally have to do the entertaining. Unless you are going to a posh party and are dressed in formal attire, most parties in Ireland are relaxed and laid back. The Irish are very sociable and hospitable people and, I believe, the friendliest people in the world. The parties that are the most fun reflect that type of personality; just enjoying the company of their friends and having 'good crac', which is Irish slang for having a good time or fun. Keep the party lively with music, dancing or even games, such as an Irish trivia game.
Appoint someone to be the bartender to insure that the drinks are refreshed but always make sure that your guests do not drive if they have had the dreaded 'one too many'. You could even appoint someone who is a nondrinker to chauffeur your guests home. The one thing that you must avoid is to have people sitting around looking bored - it can be catching. You are not a matchmaker but, if you have invited some singles, try to have about the same number of women and men. Being the only single at a party of mostly couples can be very awkward.
Well, I hope you have a wonderful and fun Irish theme party; and I would love to hear from you letting me know how it turned out. If you have some of your own good ideas, I would love to hear about those, too.
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