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This St. Patrick's Day, Slainte

Slainte is a drinking term in Ireland, similar to "Cheers." This St. Patrick's Day, celebrate the Irish in you and slainte.

This Thursday everybody is a little Irish. On St. Patrick’s Day, my completely Irish mother refers to our family as the "O’Webers." My completely German father knows not to challenge her.

He even helps her prepare the corned beef and cabbage in the morning. It cooks all day and in the evening, our family sits down to a traditional Irish feast of potatoes, carrots, soda bread with Irish butter, and, of course, very tender corned beef and cabbage.

For dessert, always Irish coffee with brown sugar and homemade whipped cream.

But, the best part is the entire “O’Weber” family sitting down to dinner together for the first time since Christmas. We sit down and enjoy a meal that celebrates our heritage. This year, my 91-year-old Irish grandmother will be at the head of the table. She will probably even enjoy a pint of Harp. 

These are the kinds of holidays I will want to remember years from now. Sure, there have been plenty of St. Patrick Day’s during which I have enjoyed pints and pancakes at 6 a.m. As respectable individuals are sitting down to the desk in their offices, I have been on my third round of Irish ale. The details of those St. Patrick’s Days are a bit hazy.

The ones I do remember are the ones I didn’t indulge too much.

When I was eight, I did an Irish jig all the way down Connecticut Avenue with the rest of my Irish dancing troupe. I wore my traditional uniform; a dress adorned with hand-embroidered Celtic designs, heavy tights, and a white ribbon in my hair.

I don’t wear the dress anymore, but I still like to kick up my half-Irish heels on March 17th. Those dance classes were fun and that parade made me feel special. It is also a skill that has stuck with me for a couple of decades. Apparently, the Irish jig is not an antiquated way to boogie down either; Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts offers Irish dance classes for all skill levels from ages five to 13.

It may not be dancing down a major avenue in Washington DC, but for the fourth year in a row, is holding their St. Patrick’s Day Fun Run. The four-mile run will begin at 6 p.m. on March 17th and there are free t-shirts to be had on a first come, first serve basis. RSVP ahead of time and they will set one aside for you. Feel free to bring your pooch too and don’t forget the day is more fun dressed in green!

is also hosting a run on St. Patrick’s Day. Their 5K begins at 6:30 and ends with a celebration including a variety of Irish beers and traditional Irish cocktails like Irish coffee and “carbombs.” With that sort of incentive, a few miles will be a piece of cake.

Speaking of cake, remember not skimp on another delicious aspect of the holiday—the food. On St. Patrick's Day, on Maryland Avenue is offering an Irish Mist-infused golden raisin bread pudding with custard. Yum. They will also be serving up shepherd’s pie, Guinness beef stew, and a hearty serving of traditional corned beef and cabbage.

A traditional menu for those of you who aren't fortunate enough to have an Irish mother. I, on the other hand, will be digging into my corned beef at home.

Slainte, Annapolitans.

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