Sophisticating St. Patrick’s Day

A couple of years ago my friend, Kim, and I set out to plan a St. Patrick’s Day-themed Gourmet Group dinner. After doing lots of research, I felt a little less than enthused, because most of the authentic food I could find consisted of basic potato soups, and even worse, most of the décor ideas involved plastic shamrocks and goofy leprechauns. We went a different route (in a different month) that year. But I have since thought a lot about how St. Paddy’s Day could be done in a little more sophisticated style. (I suppose this could be considered to be missing the point of the holiday, and if you like the regular approach to celebrating it, by all means…read no further.)

(I think I found this photo on Kimba’s site, but I’m not sure. Let me know who to credit, if you know.)

I’ve been a bit more inspired by all things Irish, since my brother’s family gave me this CD and this DVD for Christmas.

They are both fantastic, very fun, and very Irish. The High Kings have a song called, “The Rocky Road to Dublin.” That and the ancient castle which serves as the back drop for the Celtic Woman concert are the inspiration for my sophisticated St. Paddy’s day vision. I immediately thought of finding stones, either like the ones pictured above, or craggy ones that could have been an old castle wall, and covering them with moss to create an interesting tablescape.
Then I saw this picture on the Hostess blog.

And thought that might be an easier way to achieve that mossy look. I followed the resources listed for this tablescape to Sav-on Crafts where you can buy this mossy looking mat, or a few of them to put together, to use as a table runner.

Of course I have nothing against clover. I’d just prefer it were real, and in pots. A whole bunch of it together making a field of clover, would be stunning. Or how cute would it be to have tiny pots by each plate serving as placecards.

I found this clover here. (It is supposed to go in ponds, so you could always float it).

I would add gold accents to hint at the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow. Like some basic gold chargers, gold accented dinnerware, and possibly gold foil coins scattered about.
And little Irish flags on toothpicks, would look great in the appetizers or desserts.
Irish flag courtesy of 4 International Flags
And about the food, Katie at Good Things Catered has a fantastic sounding Menu, here.
So there you have it: A sophisticated St. Patty’s Day with out a leprechaun in sight. Just don’t forget some High Kings tunes for atmosphere. Maybe I’ll give it another gourmet group go, next year.
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  1. Anonymous says

    I love irish music! I have grown a fan of Celtic music over the years, and some of my favorite musicians have come out of Cape Breton NS (Canada)

    Your post is making me excited for green beer!

  2. Setting the Mood says

    These are FABULOUS ideas. Our anniversary is on St. Patricks Day and I can NEVER find elegant decor for our dinner. Thanks for sharing your insanely cool ideas!!!

  3. Ricardo Cabeza says is running a special where you get a free Drunk Leprechaun St. Patrick’s Day T-shirt when you buy another Irish t-shirt!

  4. What great ideas! I just saw the mossy centerpiece with the stones in Pottery Barn catalog last night. I love it!!!

    Have a great day!


  5. JE Melton says

    Kendra, I have a St. Patrick’s Day birthday and a mom who was serious about the theme (every year, my birthday cake was frosted in white with green sugar shamrocks, or just gree sugar, or grenn frosting with… you get the picture). She was also serious about birthday’s being a day for china and crystal, so I never had dinner with plastic shamrocks. So, it not nearly as glam as the moss and gold chargers (which I love the idea of), but she always used a white tablecloth, green cloth napkins and potted shamrocks as a centerpiece. The white tablecloth with white china was pretty minimalist, but they worked together to make the shamrocks (always in a white pot, too) just pop!

  6. Hana @ says

    wow, how fantastic. I didn’t know Saint Patrick’s Day can be put together so elegantly! Greeat ideas. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  7. Honeybee says

    I love, love, love the idea! I am quite a fan of St. Patrick’s day and look forward with much anticipation each March until it arrives. I love these ideas and am going to try some of them out! Thanks! 🙂

  8. Amy @ Living Locurto says

    Great ideas! I have a ton of clover outside that I’ll be putting in pots. We won’t be doing anything elegant, just celebrating with the kiddos.

  9. holley family says

    i just saw a commercial for the celtic women here in birmingham on the 27th and thought, wow i really like their sound!

  10. These are fab ideas. My day will be filled with kiddie events but maybe next year I’ll seek out some adult and elegant fun. We have another idea here that you may want to consider. It’s a chocolate and porter tasting. See the St. Patrick’s Day post on for some more detail on which chocolates to taste and how to set this up.

  11. Nyssa Christie says

    Fabulous Ideas!!! Your post was the inspiration for my elegant St. Patrick's day celebration, especially my table!

  12. Deirdre --a Dubliner says

    Please please do not call it St Pattys, nobody in Ireland would, Patty is a girls name we either refer to it as St. Patricks or St. Paddys but never ever St. Pattys

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