What do you do on St. Patrick’s Day? Go to an Irish pub. A group of us met up at Flannigan’s Harp and Fiddle in Bethesda ( http://flanagansharpandfiddle.com/ ). The pub is rather small and it was packed. My daughter had friends who reserved a space for us. It was what I had expected. Crowded. Green everywhere. Loud and smiling people. There was even a band playing, including a fiddle player. I had to sample the range of Irish drinks. I had a Harp (lager), an “Irish car bomb” (Guinness and a shot of Baileys Irish Cream), and a “Black and Tan”. It was a fun time.
“Black and Tan” Note: In America it’s a popular drink poured with equal parts dark Guinness and lighter colored Harp beers. Since the two liquids have different weights they don’t blend and form an eye-catching display in the mug. In Ireland, though, Black & Tan has a different connotation. That was the color of the uniforms worn by the British paramilitary troops that were formed around 1920 to put down the Irish after the failed Easter Uprising. These soldiers had fought in the bloodiest trench battles of World War I and were not about to be put off by rebels wielding rusty hunting rifles and pitchforks. So, if you are in Ireland, don’t order a “Black and Tan”. Better to order a “Half and Half”.