Thanksgiving is not a national holiday in Ireland! Celebrated by US expats and students, it is mostly a North American event, not native to Europe. But for those of Irish heritage, an Irish-American twist on the holiday makes perfect sense. We have forefathers – Irish ones.
And Irish Americans are thankful for where we come from and grateful for our roots, heritage and family. It turns out we even have an Irishman to thank for the invention of the holiday. Here are the best reasons and tips for adding a dash of Ireland to your Thanksgiving!
1. Not like this…
But first … this is *not* what we mean by an Irish Thanksgiving (thank you, Urban Dictionary!).
2. Like this … The real Irish Thanksgiving connection
Most people don’t realize how important Ireland was to the first Thanksgiving – it might never have happened without a fateful shipment from Éire! The early British pilgrims struggled to acclimatize to the cold North American winter. They were so discouraged by the challenges of living in the new landscape that they almost gave up, dreaming of a return to the homeland.
But that February, hope and sustenance arrived in a ship called The Lyon, sent by a solicitous merchant to his daughter who had emigrated to America with her pilgrim husband. Loaded with food and drink from Dublin, The Lyon revived the spirits of the settlers. The meal held to celebrate the miraculous Irish cargo became the kernel of Thanksgiving. It took another 200 years for President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, with the original Irish influence forgotten.
Although there is no native Irish word for Thanksgiving, enthusiastic Gaeilge speakers have named it “Féile an Altaithe”. The name is inspired by the Irish verb “altaigh”, meaning to give thanks, usually to God.
4. Irish blessings
Giving thanks before and after a meal is a custom both in Ireland and the US – we both call it grace! The prayer as said in Ireland reads: With our reputation for having a way with words, an Irish blessing is a meaningful way to celebrate your heritage at Thanksgiving.
5. Tasty Irish twists on classic Thanksgiving dishes
Your guests will be grateful for an Irish twist on these Thanksgiving classics.
Colcannon is a traditional Irish favorite that makes the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. A creamy mashed potato mixed with cabbage, Colcannon is both authentically Irish and holiday appropriate. Get the recipe
Mac and Cheese with Stout
How do you make Mac and Cheese even tastier? Just add delicious Irish stout! Get the recipe
Pumpkin tart with Bailey’s
Bailey’s is an Irish liqueur that tastes a little bit like heaven. Add to pumpkin tart for an indulgent after-dinner treat.
Have an Irish fry up for Thanksgiving breakfast
A fry-up at breakfast is the traditional start to a holiday in Ireland. With this food basket, you can get all the ingredients delivered to your door!
6. Or perhaps an Irish snifter
Finish your Thanksgiving meal in style with a drop of the good stuff, Jameson shipped directly from Ireland.
7. Put something Irish on the table
Add a touch of authentic Irish elegance to your Thanksgiving meal, with beautiful tableware handcrafted in Ireland. Ireland is world famous for the quality of our glassware and pottery, a great way to show off your Irish pride.
8. The coziest festive knitwear
Enjoy a comfy and stylish Thanksgiving in the best knitwear from Ireland.