The Wearing of the Green

Living as I do in Hamilton’s Corktown, I like to acknowledge the areas’ Irish history at this time of year.
The first Hamilton map to identify “Corktown” was published in 1842. Corktown received its name from County Cork in Ireland, the major embarkment point for many Irish Canadians.
The best land in the growing town of Hamilton had already been taken by the time they arrived, so many Irish immigrants found themselves crowded into poor housing in the least desirable part of town. While the area was boggy, it was also sociable. Here, on rented ground, the newcomers erected rough shacks, and later, more substantial frame houses. They cultivated garden plots and kept milk cows, pigs, chickens and goats to reproduce their lives at home.
To make ends meet, the Irish families did what they could and received little pay for long hours of work paving roads, laying sidewalks, digging foundations, construction, and so on.
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In honour of these hard-working folks who built my lovely home in 1900, I celebrate them each year on Saint Patrick’s Day – a cultural and religious celebration occurring annually on March 17th, the death date of the patron saint of Ireland (c. AD 385–461).
The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.On St. Patrick’s Day it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing or accessories (the “wearing of the green”). St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.

People who have an Irish background may hold Irish themed parties and serve traditional dishes, and I emulate their lead each year by preparing an Irish feast for my family with dishes such as Colcannon, Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread. and Sweet Onion & Beer Soup (recipe: ).
In the meantime, I have also assembled a gallery of my jewellery creations featuring shamrocks, celtic knots, and many shades of green to help you celebrate “The Wearing of the Green” on St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!
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Ale, Hail, the Gang’s All Here!


Tomorrow will be my 6th anniversary with my wonderful husband, Andrew. Yes, we were married on Halloween, and no, we did not wear costumes!

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Our plan is to celebrate by dining out at one of our favourite restaurants, Brasa Brasilian Steakhouse in Niagara Falls,

Since that means an abundance of grilled meat will be on the menu, I thought I’d keep things lighter and meatless tonight. The main dish will be my Sweet Onion and Beer Soup – a recipe that has become a beloved part of our annual St. Patrick’s Day menu, but something equally appropriate on a cool evening like tonight!

Sandra’s Sweet Onion and Beer Soup


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large sweet onions, such as Walla Wall, Maui, Vidalia, or Mayan, cut into thin slices
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 12 oz can of beer, preferably a slightly sweet one such as a Belgian ale or wheat beer, or a hard cider may be substituted
  • 4 cups no-salt-added chicken broth


Heat the oil in a 5-quart pot (preferably one that’s wide and not too tall), over medium heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are completely soft. Adjust the heat as needed so the onions do not brown.


Add the butter, stirring to incorporate as it melts. Increase the heat to medium-high and then add the beer.


Once it comes to a boil, cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the beer has reduced. Stir in the broth, then cover the pot and reduce the heat so the liquid barely bubbles at the edges.


Cook for 25 minutes, stirring a few times, then taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Divide the soup among individual serving bowls and then serve right away (as if you will need to be told that, once you smell this wonderful soup!).

Serve each bowl with a lightly toasted slice of bread topped with melted cheddar on the side, or grilled cheese sandwiches for a more hearty meal.