Living where we live (deep in the Midwest), we’ve pretty much come to dread the months by the names of December, January, February, and sometimes March. And this winter, in particular, has been especially dreadful. Sub-zero temperatures, snow up to our knees, icy winds that could cut right through steel…. Yeah.
However, we’re glass-half-full types, so we’ve decided to take a positive spin on this frigid time of year. No, we’re not learning to love winter. We’re happy just finding ways to hate it a little bit less. We share those reasons with you, below.
1. Sweaters, sweaters, and more sweaters
The warmer, the woolier, the better. Those Irish fishermen’s wives sure knew what they were doing when they picked up their needles to knit the original Aran sweaters. May we suggest some perfectly delightful men’s Irish wool sweaters and women’s Irish wool sweaters to keep you toasty? Take that, Old Man Winter!
2. Irish Coffee
The original Irish coffee was invented in the 1940s for a specific purpose: to warm up travelers arriving at Shannon Airport in the days when a transatlantic flight meant 12 long hours in a lumbering plane. We can travel from the U.S. to Ireland much more quickly these days, but that warming, bracing brew is still what the doctor ordered.
2 ounces Irish whiskey
4 ounces hot black coffee
1–3 teaspoons brown sugar
1-1/2 ounces cold heavy cream
In a small, prewarmed mug, dissolve the sugar in the coffee. Stir in the whiskey. Slowly pour in the cream over the back of a spoon so the cream forms a distinct layer on top. Don’t stir—sip through the cream. Ahh.
3. Movie Night
It may be blizzarding outside, but there’s (almost) no better way to pass the time when we’re stuck inside than curling up with a good movie. Our friends at Irish Central recommend a few great Irish ones.
“Waking Ned Devine”
A charming comedy set in a tiny, rural Irish town. When lottery winner Ned Devine is found dead—lottery ticket in hand and all—the townsfolk band together to fool the authorities into thinking Ned is alive, so they can receive the cash and share it.
A beautiful, romantic, original musical set in the streets of Dublin. Glen Hansard of The Frames plays a street musician who meets a fellow musician and Czech immigrant (Marketa Irglova). Together they work through pain, the past, and new love through captivating music. Hansard and Irglova won the Oscar for Best Original Song (2007).
“In the Name of the Father”
An Oscar-nominated film based on the real-life experiences of Gerry Conlon, the alleged leader of the Guildford Four. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Conlon, a Belfast man wrongly imprisoned for the 1974 IRA bombing of a pub in the U.K. Nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, “In the Name of the Father” shows one man’s 15-year struggle for his innocence and for truth.
A story about an Irishman’s love of his land from director Jim Sheridan. Bull McCabe (played by Richard Harris, who was nominated for an Oscar for the role) is a farmer in Ireland’s rural west. When his field is threatened to be sold to an outsider, Bull will do anything in his power to stop it from happening. An unforgettable film about the conflict between “old” and “new” Ireland.
“My Left Foot”
A true story about an Irishman who overcomes his disability to become an amazing painter, poet, and writer. Another film from Jim Sheridan, it documents the extraordinary life of Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis), a working-class Irishman born with crippling cerebral palsy. With the encouragement of his mother, played by Brenda Fricker, Christy learns to write and draw with his only functional limb—his left foot. Both Day-Lewis and Fricker won Academy Awards for their roles.
“The Quiet Man”
A beloved classic starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. This romantic drama from director John Ford tells the story of Sean Thornton, a retired American boxer who relocates to Ireland to reclaim his family’s farm, and Mary Kate Danaher, the fiery Irishwoman he falls in love with. Though its portrayal of Ireland may be a bit outdated, the film is a genuine tribute to Eire, and it’s both an American and Irish favorite.
A legendary Irish film about a group of down-and-out Dubliners who form a soul band. Jimmy Rabbitte has dreams of creating the ultimate soul group, and succeeds in bringing together a bunch of talented, eclectic characters. But eventually personalities clash, and the survival of the band is threatened. This adaptation of the Roddy Doyle novel featured a relatively unknown cast at the time, but was welcomed with critical acclaim and a successful box office run.
Stay Ever Irish (and warm!),