Today Halloween is a holiday fiercely celebrated throughout Ireland as a result of its Celtic roots. The last Monday of October is actually a bank holiday in acknowledgment of Halloween.
Derry in Northern Ireland holds an annual Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival which has evolved into one of the most celebrated Halloween events in all of Europe. The Festival starts more than a week leading up to Halloween with fun-filled events that range from ghost bus tours and zombie laser tag to freaky fun houses and gothic balls in a jamboree that culminates with a spooktacular fireworks display.
The County of Meath where Samhain is believed to have originated features a two-week reenactment of this historic pagan festival that includes mask making, storytelling, song and a buffet of traditional Irish Halloween cuisine.
The city of Limerick has a Halloween Spooktacular gothic family festival which features many days of live performances, competitions, games, a food market in what they define as a “vintage carnival experience”.
If Halloween is your favorite holiday, then consider taking an Ireland Vacation right around mid-October so you can experience an authentic Halloween celebration. And if you can’t make it around this year, don’t you worry. Authentic Ireland has some traditional Ireland Halloween recipes to satiate your Irish Halloween hunger.
Colcannon is a vegetarian Irish Halloween dish that is simple to prepare and delicious to consume. In the olden days, Colcannon was served with a ring and a thimble concealed inside.
3 lbs russet potatoes
2 minced shallots
½ cup of chopped scallions
4 cups of chopped fresh kale
4 oz butter
½ cup of half n half
A bay leaf
Salt & Pepper
Peel and boil the potatoes with a dash of salt until they are fork tender. Then drain.
Return the pot to the stove and set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pot and once it’s hot, add the greens. Cook the greens for 3-4 minutes, or until they are wilted and have expelled some of their water. Add the chopped green onions and shallots and cook 1 minute more.
Pour in the half n half, mix well, and add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium. Use a fork or potato masher and mash the potatoes, mixing them up with the greens.
Before serving, season with a pinch of salt and sprinkle with bay leaf and add a knob of butter in the center.
Like with Colcannon, Barmbrack was often served with numerous objects baked into it that are supposed to predict certain fortunes for its consumer. If you choose to cook your barm brack the traditional way, be sure to wash any objects thoroughly!
100 g (3/4 cup) raisins
100 g (3/4 cup) sultanas
100 g (3/4 cup) currants
50 g (1/4 cup) glacé cherries, halved or quartered, or stoned, chopped dates
50 g (1/4 cup) candied peel or the zest of 1 lemon
300 ml (1 cup) hot, strong black tea
1 egg, lightly beaten
225 g (1 3/4 cups) self-raising flour
200 g (1 1/4 cup) light brown sugar
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
Put the raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries and candied peel in a large mixing bowl, one that will be big enough to accommodate all the ingredients later on. Pour over the tea and allow the fruit to soak for a minimum of 30 minutes but overnight is best.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 450 g (1 lb) loaf tin with parchment paper.
Add in the beaten egg, flour, sugar and mixed spice to the fruit and tea mixture. Stir well until everything is combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Let it cool before slicing.
If you’re really looking to celebrate this Halloween, substitute 50 ml of the tea with 50 ml of Irish Whisky.