Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Wearing of the Green/Irish Oatmeal Bread

This morning as Emma and I walked, she taught me the words to the first verse of "The Wearing of the Green", a song from the Irish Rebellion of 1798. For background, read Wikipedia's "Irish Rebellion of 1798" and Penal Laws in Ireland at Tea at Trianon. Here are the complete lyrics:

Oh! Paddy, dear, and did you hear
The news that's going round,
The shamrock is forbid by law
To grow on Irish ground.
Saint Patrick's Day no more we'll keep
His color can't be seen
For there's a bloody law agin'
The wearing of the green.

I met with Napper Tandy
And he took me by the hand
And he said "How's poor old Ireland?
And how does she stand?"
She's the most distressful country
That ever you have seen,
They're hanging men and women there
For wearing of the green.

Then since the color we must wear
Is England's cruel red
Sure Ireland's sons will n'er forget
The blood that they have shed.
You may take the shamrock from your hat
And cast it on the sod,
But 'twill take root and flourish still
Tho' underfoot 'tis trod.

When the law can stop the blades of grass
From growing as they grow,
And when the leaves in summer time
Their verdure dare not show,
Then I will change the color
I wear in my caubeen,
But till that day I'll stick for aye
To wearing of the green.

But if at last our color should
Be torn from Ireland's heart,
Her sons with shame and sorrow
From the dear old sod will part.
I've heard a whisper of a country
That lives far beyond the say,
Where rich and poor stand equal
In the light of freedom's day.

Oh, Erin! Must we lave you,
Driven by the tyrant's hand?
Must we ask a mother's welcome
From a strange but happy land?
Where the cruel cross of England's thralldom
Never shall be seen
And where in peace we'll live and die
A-wearing of the green.

After our walk, Emma baked a loaf of Irish Oatmeal Bread to take to a St. Patrick's Day tea at the home of some friends. She added pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and dried cherries to the recipe. It made a hearty, tasty loaf, and it was still warm when we got to our friends' home. Emma took her Irish music, and the girls sang a lot of Irish tunes after they had their tea. Here's the recipe for the bread:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups oats
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 egg
1/4 honey
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon melted butter

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add oats and raisins, if using. Beat egg lightly, then add honey and milk and beat until well-blended. Add dry ingredients and stir just until all is moistened. Turn into greased 9" X 5" loaf pan. Brush top of loaf with melted butter and bake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Makes 1 large loaf.

Next time, Emma wants to try increasing the honey and the oats.

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