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Archive for February, 2010

St. Patrick’s Day: Here and on The Emerald Isle

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In our previous posts, we talked a lot about Irish folklore, the origins of St. Patrick’s Day, and how we love to celebrate here in the United States with green beer. But how about the real differences between the celebrations both in the United States in in Ireland? Let’s take a closer look on how both countries celebrate this special day.
In Ireland
St. Patrick’s Day is considered to be the National Holiday of the country and is widely celebrated throughout the nation. Parades, feasts, and festivals are all part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration and in many cases, festivals go on all week long celebrating Irish culture and history. Many Irish speakers are brought in to educate others on traditional Irish culture through participation in events throughout the country. Also, like in other parts of the world, parades as well as the wearing of shamrocks and green clothing are widely practiced. For the church in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is regarded as an official church holiday by both the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Church, honored through religious masses, rituals, and feasts.

In the United States
For the US, St. Patrick’s Day is a time of celebration and of course, parades. Some of the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parades include the ones in Savannah, Georgia, New York City, New York, and Scranton, Pennsylvania. Wearing green, dyeing public fountains and bodies of water green, decorating with shamrocks, and drinking green beer are often part of the celebrations that occur throughout the nation. However, unlike Irish celebrations of the holiday, St. Patrick’s Day in the US is not as heavily regarded as a religious. Both Irish and non-Irish peoples tend to celebrate this occasion through the nation.

Having Fun With Playful Pooch, Denver Dog Boarding!

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We’re all about supporting other Colorado businesses, especially ones working for the good of our furry friends! Playful Pooch is a dog daycare and dog boarding center located in Denver, CO. With over 7,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor dog care and training areas and one very talented and friendly staff, you know your pooch will have quite the smile on his or her face!

The staff absolutely loves dogs, so you can rest assured knowing your dog is in good hands while you’re out-of-town. They’re even a member of the Pet Care Services Association, with various-sized kennels so both small and big dogs will be so comfortable. Your dog will feel just like he or she is right at home! We’ll hope you’ll visit the Playful Pooch site and take a look around, and perhaps board your dog there the next time you’re out of town.

Ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Part 3

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Now that you know all about who St. Patrick was, we’ve discussed the date of March 17th, uncovered the “green” mystery, the shamrock, the celebration and the green beer.  Now we will discover the remaining folklore of the Blarney Stone, the pot of gold and the leprechaun.

The leprechaun is an Irish fairy.  He is said to stand only 2 feet tall and is dressed somewhat like a shoemaker.  He is rather old looking and is said to be aloof and unfriendly as he lives alone and makes shoes.  Leprechauns are noted for having a hidden pot of gold and you can track it down by listening carefully to the sound of a shoemakers hammering.  If you can catch the feisty leprechaun you can force him into telling you where the pot of gold is.  But be very careful, he uses trickery and if he gets you to look away he vanishes and so does your hope of finding the pot of gold!

Travel to the Irish village of Blarney and you can visit the Blarney Castle where the famous Blarney stone can be found.  They say the Blarney Stone holds magical properties but exactly what they are no one knows.  One legend claims that an old woman cast a spell on this stone to reward the King who saved her from drowning.  It is said that when the King kissed the Blarney Stone it gave him the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly.  This stone is visited my thousands of tourists each year and for those who wish to have the same spell of speech they must climb the tower, stretch both backwards and downwards and if you’re lucky enough you can Kiss the Blarney.

Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.  Should you need to bring a St. Patrick’s Day hostess gift be sure to check out our Irish gifts for St. Patrick’s Day gifting.  We offer Irish gift baskets, Kiss Me I’m Irish cookie bouquet and we even have the family dog covered with our St. Patrick’s Day Good Dog gift basket.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day – Part 2

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Welcome back to the blog to read more about the history of St. Patrick’s Day.  Today here in the USA we celebrate St. Patty’s Day in a huge way.  Our history states that the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade happened right here in NYC not in Ireland.  The New York City area was the home to many Irish immigrants back in the mid 1700’s and in 1762 NYC had its first parade celebrating St. Patrick.  After that each Irish settlement enlisted its members to celebrate in a grand style reliving the days of the old country in dance, drink and celebration.  In 1848 the Irish settlers decided to pool their efforts and have one extremely large celebration to honor St. Patrick and that tradition continues today.

Each year more than 3 million people line the 1.5 mile parade route to view over 150,000 participants in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  This parade is the world’s oldest civilian parade and is the largest parade in the USA as people stay and many stand for over 5 hours to watch it.  Not to be outdone, Chicago began to dye the Chicago River green beginning back in 1962, a tradition that continues today.  The largest celebration of St. Patrick’s Day remains in America however Japan, Singapore and Russia are now home to some grand productions of Parade celebrations as well.

Now here’s some trivia for you all so you can impress your drinking buddies while celebrating this year!  Have you ever wonder why the color green is associated with St. Patrick’s Day?  Well wonder no longer; Looking at the calendar, you notice that spring falls just 4 days later on March 21st and we all know that spring represents the renewing of life (new growth, new grass, new flowers etc.).  Just as spring begins new life the Irish settlers began new life in America, the color green is significant in the renewing of nature around us and therefore the renewing of spirit and life in the United States.  So the color green has been significant to the St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Now how about that Green Beer everyone talks about?  Is it really easy to make and if so is it just a drop of green food coloring as you expect it to be?  Well there are different recipes but I will stick to the “frat boys” one because when it comes to drinking beer; these boys have mastered this one!  They suggest using a clear mug and light colored beer for best results and to add exactly 6 drops of green food coloring to the bottom of the glass then pour the beer on top.  Less than six drops gives a more olive color green and not the brilliant emerald green that is desired.  So to learn more facts about St. Patrick’s Day come back and visit us again for our final Part 3.  (Remember everything Irish is in 3’s!)

Looking to send the perfect St. Patrick’s Day gift?  Check out our line of Irish gifts, has baskets, cookies and even St. Patrick’s Day dog gifts!

Ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Part 1

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Ever ask yourself who is St. Patrick, why March 17th and how do you really make green beer?  Well we did a bit of searching and came up with a few answers that are sure to enlighten your friends this year.  Today we will answer the first two questions; who is St. Patrick and what’s with the date!

Back in the end of the 4th Century a man was born named Maewyn Succat.  He was born to English parents and was not an Irishman.  History states that as a youngster growing up in South Wales he was kidnapped by pirates and then sold into slavery in Ireland.  For 6 years he was imprisoned and he dreamed of seeing God.  History continues to say that God told him to escape from his captures and to go to Britain which he succeeded in doing.  He then travelled to France where he joined a monastery and studied for 12 years under St. Germain and later became bishop (Saint Patrick).  He felt the calling of God again and it was to return to Ireland to tell them about God.  For 20 years he travelled Ireland preaching and teaching and many times he was arrested and imprisoned and each time he was able to escape.  At about the age of 76 St. Patrick died on March 17, 461AD and later the day was then named St. Patrick’s Day in honor of him.

Over the years fact and fiction have blurred together but how did the 3-leaf clover, the color green, the leprechaun, pot of gold and even the Blarney Stone get in here?  I will give you the answer to the first one but you’ll need to come back again for more answers!  Legend states that he taught the Trinity by using a 3-leafed clover (shamrock).  Ireland also claims the lucky number 3.  Not only as in the shamrock he used to describe the Trinity, but numbers play an important role in Celtic symbolism and 3 is the most sacred number.  It can signify past, present and future; or behind, before and here; even sky, earth and underworld.  There are 3 well regarded accomplishments in Ireland they are a clever verse, music on the harp and the act of shaving faces.  Everything in Ireland comes in 3’s even down to telling a good story as it is based on threefold repetition.  Using this form of storytelling allows the ability to intensify the story and to exaggerate the story which is why quality pub talk can rarely resist a third adjective, especially if they wish to exaggerate a point!

Visit us again for Part 2 of Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!  If you looking to do a little St. Patty’s Day shopping for your Irish friends, be sure to check out our Irish Pub Gift Basket and get to the task of celebrating it in style!

Sweet And Meaningful Valentine’s Day Ideas

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Valentine’s Day is almost here and if you’re still stressing about what to get your sweetie, don’t worry – has you covered. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend this year and still want to do something romantic and thoughtful for that special someone, try out any of these great gifting ideas that don’t cost much.

The Way to a Valentine’s Heart…
…is through the stomach. Instead of taking your valentine out for an expensive dinner, opt to make something at home, but save the dessert until last so you and your honey can enjoy some quality time together in the kitchen. Try baking up something sweet with that special someone, like cupcakes or even heart-shaped brownies. Baking together will be the perfect ending to the perfect Valentine’s Day.
Show Your Valentine Your Artistic Side…
…by making that special someone a homemade card with a handwritten message on the inside. Woo your valentine by including a romantic letter, a photo of you two together, or even a poem you’ve written to show that special someone just how much you care. It’s super inexpensive – and your valentine will get something to always remember this special occasion by!
Get Up and Jive With Your Valentine… a great mix CD you made as a Valentine’s Day present. Include songs that focus on love, or ballads that remind you of your special someone. If you and your sweetie have a dedicated song that you think is “your song”, then be sure to include it on there too. Have some talent? Record a song on your computer that’s sung or played by you and then put it on your mix CD as the final track. Or, you can always just record a special message just for your valentine.

The History of Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is the only holiday that is best celebrated in pairs!  You can’t mention February without thinking of the day that falls right in the middle; Valentine’s Day.  So as I sat down to write this blog today, I thought how did this day of love begin?  Who were the key players and why is it all about love?

As history states Valentine’s Day was named after St. Valentine and unless you do some research all you will know is the TV commercial version of a cupid and an arrow.  History claims several versions of this romantic holiday and here’s my favorite.  Valentine was a priest who served in Rome during the third century.  The Emperor Claudius II loved to send his soldiers out into war for very long stretches of time.  This made for soldiers who were married very unhappy as they missed their wives and young families.  With unhappy soldiers, they became lonely and homesick and therefore did not do their jobs well.  This just wasn’t going to do for Emperor Claudius II so he then made the law that no solider could be married.  To the Emperor, this made sense; they couldn’t miss something that they didn’t have.  Valentine noticed the very injustice that the Emperor was doing so he decided to try and bring happiness to the soldiers and in secret began to marry young lovers.  Of course it didn’t take too long for the Emperor to hear of Valentine’s deeds and ordered that Valentine be put to death.  As any great love story goes Valentine does find his one true love as well.  For during his time spent in the Emperor’s prison he fell deeply in love with the prison keeper’s daughter.  She came to visit him many times and his love for her grew deeply.  Valentine was put to death on “Valentine’s Day” February 14 around 270 AD and just prior to his death he passed a love letter to her which he signed “From your Valentine”.  And the rest they say is history.

How will history be written in your romance novel? is here to help you with our beautiful edible Valentine’s Day gifts, Valentine’s Day floral arrangements and even Valentines Gift Baskets for dogs!  We even offer the very best in Valentine’s Day Candy Baskets and Valentine’s Day Cookie baskets as well.  The Beatles sang it best with “Love is all you need”, but will it get you in the door?  Stop by for a visit; we can still ship via ground if you order by this weekend.