Sunday, March 13, 2016

Irish Country Tablescape

My first St. Patrick's Day tablescape - here today - is a reinterpretation of what is typically portrayed on this occasion. Most typically, you may expect an explosion of kelly green with four-leaf clovers or shamrocks, dancing leprechauns, colorful rainbows, and pots of gold. Instead, I have assembled a low-key, casual Irish Country table setting, which can even be used beyond the feast of its celebrated namesake.
Tracing family roots on my father's side, our ancestors arrived in the US, just before the Revolutionary War, from County Tyrone, Ulster Province, Ireland. Geographically situated in the northern area of Ireland, County Tyrone borders the largest lake in the British Isles, Lough Neagh. This history and geography was the springboard of my inspiration for today's tablescape. Imagine a quaint village, with farmers and fishermen, serving from farm to table, and the scene is set.
Hard-working folks would likely have a humble setting at the table. My table base is covered with a natural cotton cloth and matching napkins, all with frayed edge trim. Layered on center is a gray-green cable knit throw, with individual plate service consisting of celadon salad on ironstone dinner. The muted palette reminds me of the blurred lines between land and water on a foggy morn, or between the seasons' landscape from winter to spring. The bird motif on the plates, along with a single oxalis (shamrock) plant, are the only indications of the hope of spring to come in the otherwise soft palette.
The shamrock's history is steeped in Irish lore. The three leaf triad was a symbol of luck in the Celtic religion. St. Patrick, when introducing Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century, used the triad as a symbol of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
Tidbits and tipples: a winning combination of cheese and grapes, wine and ale or, as an alternative, seltzer. Who's to say if the time of day is mid-morning or midday; after all, we are speaking of the Irish!
After the tidbits and tipples, the ironstone and utensils in the cutlery tray assure service for the next round of food and drink fanfare - maybe the traditional corned beef hash and soda bread. The large, round bread board at table's center makes serving a cinch.
I have never been to Ireland, though I would love the opportunity to visit and explore. In my mind, I would expect the landscape of Ireland to very much be muted, like this tablescape, as winter fades into spring. The natural browns of the cloths and woods, even the glasses & ale crock, hint of brown grasses expected this time of year. The gray-green colors on the table remind me of things seen in nature - lichen on trees logs, benches and rocks - with the slightest hint of a more vivid green coming from the oxalis plant. I imagine cabled sweaters - like the throw - cozy for both mornings and at night, especially for those who spend their time outdoors.
You may have noticed I nonchalantly labeled this tablescape as Irish Country. We have French Country, Romantic Prairie Country, American Country, so why not Irish Country? It's a laid back, casual, easy style, no matter what country's 'country' label you attach to it. :)

Regardless of your ancestors' origins, March 17th is the one day of the year where everybody can be Irish, no blarney! Do you celebrate the wearin' of the green? How so?

Tablescape Source List:
Tablecloth, Napkins - 9' X 12' drop cloth, pre-shrunk and cut to 66" square, along with 8 napkins, 14" X 15" - Lowe's
Cabled throw - Pottery Barn
Amber glasses - Libbey, 1970s vintage
Flatware, Ironstone plates, pedestal & cafe au lait (vessel for grapes), Celadon salad plates, European bread board and seltzer bottle, American cutlery tray, English ale crock, and glass float - all antique and vintage items from my personal collections
Wine bottle/soy candle - locally crafted
Oxalis plant - Kroger's


(A special thanks to Cindy for featuring this post at Amaze Me Monday #155!)

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Rita C. at Panoply

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