D is for Dublin

Well, another week has rolled around and this week we’re heading to Ireland to learn about Dublin. And Donegal, Dingle and (London) Derry. Ireland is one of my favourite countries in the world but we missed it last year in favour of Italy. We are hoping to take the kids to Ireland sometime in the next few years since it would be a great place to go with kids. I love the music, the landscape and the friendliness of the people. Hopefully my children will someday love the place as much as I do. We got started on that goal this week.

I got a bit of a head start on Dublin last weekend at my daughter’s dance class. I saw that there was an Irish dance class starting at her studio shortly after her preschool class ended, so we went to the instructor and asked a few questions about Irish dance and get a quick demo of a few steps. Then this afternoon after school we put on some Irish music and did an Irish harp craft.

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My kids really liked the music so we found some more music online. We found a site called livetrad.com which had some great, casual traditional music as well as dancing. My kids played their pretend harps and played some Tupperware drums and my daughter tried imitating some dance steps. It got a little scary when the kids insisted that mom and dad try a few steps too. It’s a good thing that preschoolers are such a forgiving audience.

Our menu for Dublin week went well with the cold rainy weather outside. I found a recipe called Dublin Coddle, which is a sort of stew made with potatoes, onions, carrots and sausages. The story behind it is that wives would make it on Friday nights and it would cook slowly on the back of the stove until Dad would come home from the pub. I also made Irish soda bread and a recipe for Irish flag salad I found on the Dubliner cheese website. It’s probably about as Irish as a recipe on a maple syrup bottle would be Canadian, but it was a colourful blend of oranges, spinach and yummy white Dubliner cheese and lightened up the meal a bit. Guinness would have been the obvious beverage choice, but neither my husband or I are fans so we went with Harp instead. We did get some Guinness in, though, in the form of a Guinness chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert.

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The verdict? Well, the simple meat and potatoes meal met with much less resistance than some of the more exotic meals I’ve tried. My daughter cleaned her plate once again and my son actually ate quite a bit once he got started. My husband and I were too busy eating to have time to say too much. But I think the chocolate cake was the definite hit of the night. I gave the kids each a pretty small slice since it was really rich and dense and they each asked for seconds.

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Overall, we had a great time with Dublin week. The kids really got into the music and dance and they’re now asking questions about Ireland and wondering when we can go there together. Hopefully we’ll be able to visit soon!

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