Off To Ireland To Cook A Stew

A short while ago I shared news about the World Irish Stew Championship being organized in County Sligo this week as part of the Gathering initiative.

On a whim I entered my recipe for Guinness Beef Stew.  Believe it or not, my recipe was chosen for the homecook’s portion of the competition.   I was completely amazed and thrilled. I’ll be flying to Dublin today and then traveling to Sligo to compete.

County Sligo

Image Credit

A trip to Ireland to cook a stew is definitely a prize beyond my wildest dreams. I couldn’t believe my luck when my husband’s work schedule cooperated, allowing him be off to take care of our four little ones. And into the bargain I will be visiting Sligo, one of the most scenic counties in all of Ireland.

When I was a little girl we visited Sligo for a short family break one weekend.  We stayed at a hotel on Rosses Point, beside a spectacular sandy beach overlooking Sligo Bay.  When we reached the hotel I discovered I had forgotten my suitcase.  My two sisters wore their trendy 1970′s maxi dresses to dinner at night. I wore practical corduroy pants with a red sweater my mother bought in Sligo.  All weekend other guests assumed I was the boy of the family.

And that’s not the only time I reached my destination without sight nor light of my suitcase.  Most people can blame their airline for such incidents, but in my case it’s usually some silly oversight on my part.

View of Ben Bulben mountain from Drumcliffe, the burial place of W.B. Yeats

Image Credit

On our trip to Ireland two years ago, I once again arrived without my suitcase.  Unfortunately my bag has very sensitive rollers. It only needs the slightest touch to glide across a hardwood floor.  As my husband grabbed bags from a stack of six awaiting loading, a slight nudge caused my bag to slide away and topple over behind the bed.

And there it lay, all forlorn hiding in the bedroom awaiting my return.  And there I stood, with nothing but the clothes on my back when I arrived in Ireland.  Lucky for me I have two sisters living in Ireland.  I felt like a teenager as I raided their wardrobes.  Don’t worry, I didn’t find those trendy 70′s maxis.

My bag is now packed for my trip. Let’s all say a prayer it makes the journey all the way across the pond to Ireland.  This time I plan to arrive in Sligo with a suitcase and a change of clothes to my name.

A big thanks to Debbie Chartoff, a travel writer for based in Louisville, for her words of encouragement when she reviewed my trip in her feature article today.

I promise to take lots and lots of photos of Ireland to share with you this week.  Keeping my fingers crossed a little bit of sunshine will break through the clouds to illuminate some good shots.

In the meantime, please excuse me if I don’t add very many new posts this week.  I have a few stories prepared to share, but posting them will depend on internet connection at my destination.

And so during this first week of May, the Kentucky Derby won’t be the highlight for this Louisville girl.  Instead of focusing on horses, I’ll be cooking stew in Ireland.


Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom


Winner Of The Signed Copy Of “The Selkie Spell”.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in this week’s giveaway for a signed copy of “The Selkie Spell”, a wonderful book by Sophie Moss.

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and learning about all the creatures and characters of Irish folklore you find intriguing.


And a really big thank you to Sohpie Moss for her fantastic post about Irish Folklore and Fairytales, and for graciously providing a signed copy of her book for our lucky winner……


Susie Lindau


Susie wrote:

“I relate most to the Leprechaun. My parents bought

chocolate filled coins and hid them on St. Patty’s Day

 every year because we were McCartans and I did

the same for my kids!”


Congratulations, Susie.  I will send you an  e-mail  to arrange to send your prize.

A big thanks to everyone who participated and have a wonderful weekend.


Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

Winner Of The My Ireland Box Giveaway

A big thank you to everyone who participated in our St. Patrick’s Day giveaway for the prize of an April craft gift box from My Ireland Box.


My Ireland Box - Craft Box

The randomly chosen winner of this lovely surprise is:




She shared her love of Irish foods with us in her comment:


“I think of Barrys Tea and Tayto crisps when I think of home!

Happy days!”


Congratulations, Mary.  I will send you an  e-mail  to arrange to send your prize.

A big thanks to everyone who participated.  I so enjoyed reading all of your comments, thoughts and memories of Ireland.

And a great big thanks to Katharine from My Ireland Box for sponsoring this giveaway.  We really appreciate your generosity.

Thanks again to everyone, and have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day.


Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig

(St. Patrick’s Day Blessings)

Irish American Mom


My Ireland Box – A Giveaway For St. Patrick’s Day

My Ireland Box is a subscription service providing monthly Irish craft or artisan food surprises from Ireland.  To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, My Ireland Box graciously provided one craft box as a prize for Irish American Mom’s readers.

Before getting into the details of our giveaway, let me first introduce you to this novel gift idea.



What Is My Ireland Box?


My Ireland Box is a curated gift box subscription service, delivering the best of Irish crafts or Irish artisan foods each month.  It is a gift that keeps on giving for as long as you wish, and a perfect gift choice for those who love all things Irish.


How Does It Work?


Step 1:  Select from either Irish Crafts for Women (available to the USA, UK, and EU) or Irish Artisan Food (available to the UK and EU only). Both are curated and carefully chosen to offer you the best Ireland has to offer.

Step 2:  Select your subscription length. You can choose a prepaid gift of one box, 3 boxes (one box for 3 months), 6 boxes (one box for 6 months) or 12 boxes (one box for 12 months).

Step 3:  Be surprised each month.


Who Are The People Behind This Great Idea?



Katharine Keane Barrett

Katharine Keane Barrett and Thomas Barrett
, a husband and wife duo, who live in Dingle, County Kerry set up My Ireland Box in 2012 as a result of their love of Irish designed crafts and artisan foods.  Thomas was a currency trader by profession and Katharine a qualified solicitor, when they left the corporate world in Dublin in 2007 and returned to Katharine’s native Dingle, County Kerry .  Surrounded by gifted craftspeople and food producers, the idea for My Ireland Box was soon born.

Merging their experiences in the corporate world and their passions for the Irish tourist industry, they launched My Ireland Box.  By creating a subscription gift service they introduce subscribers to wonderful Irish handmade and artisan products and to those who make them!


My Ireland Box - Craft Box


What Surprises Await In My Ireland Box?


Teardrop-wine1-150x150The monthly craft box includes a selection of 1 large or 2-4 Irish made or designed home goods, accessories, jewellery, stationary or beauty products and the value of the box is at least €30, and it’s usually more.

My Ireland Box Food promises a variety of delicious Irish made artisan tasty treats of at least €20 or more in value.  Unfortunately for those of us in America, the food box is only available in the EU and UK.


The story and information on each Irish craft maker whose product is featured is included.  What a wonderful way to introduce Irish made products to those who may not be able to easily discover or access them.



How Do I Enter The Giveaway?


To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Saturday, March 16th at noon.  Tell us what crafts come to mind when you think of Ireland, or simply tell us what you love about Ireland.

A winning comment will be chosen randomly.  Remember to leave your e-mail so that I can contact you should you win.  Your e-mail won’t be published or shared, just used to contact our lucky winner.

The winner will be announced on Saturday March 16th, so Katharine can pop the winner’s gift box in the mail in time for April delivery.


My Ireland Box - Gift Box

And so, if you have visited Ireland or simply want to enjoy authentic Irish gifts, why not  surprise yourself with thoughtfully chosen and lovingly made Irish goods every month, and subscribe to My Ireland Box.

And don’t forget to leave a comment to enter this fabulous giveaway!



Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)


Irish American Mom


P.S.  Irish American Mom does not have a business relationship with My Ireland Box, and received no remuneration for this post.  My Ireland Box graciously provided this prize free of charge.  I am featuring this wonderful gift idea as a way to promote and support Irish business and crafts people.

Winners Of The Handmade Christmas Angel Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered the Handmade Christmas Angel Giveaway this year.  I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments explaining your personal angel stories.

The winner of this set of three crochet angels is:


Chris B.


Congratulations.  I will send you an  e-mail  to arrange to mail your prize.

Thanks again to everyone, and have a wonderful Christmas.


Nollaig Shona Daoibh

(Merry Christmas)


Irish American Mom