Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 Keeper of the Shamrock Cloth: St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans

Hello, readers! Today I'm bringing the luck of the Irish to the table, along with a little history to share in the details.
First, there's a background story of my vintage shamrock table topper used today. The cloth has been traveling among bloggers since 2010, when Marigene of In the Middle of Nowhere used it. She then sent it on to Kathleen of Cuisine Kathleen, who hosted a St. Patrick's Day blog crawl for a number of years. Marigene's stipulation was for the cloth to then be sent to another blogger each year to make an annual appearance. In 2013, Rett of the Gazebo House was the first recipient after Kathleen. In 2014, Mary of Home is Where the Boat Is added the little leprechaun to the fun, and he's been traveling with the shamrock cloth ever since!
Below is the sequence of keepers of the cloth since Mary's post in 2014. Each of the bloggers' posts (as well as those previously mentioned above) are linked to their original posts sharing the cloth.
Pam contacted me a couple months ago asking for my address, and I became the 2020 Keeper of the Cloth! Can you believe this is now its tenth year?! I was totally up for the tablescaping challenge. Shenanigans is in my Irish ancestry!
I played around with dishes on hand, and decided on my Majolica dinner plates resting on Mackenzie-Childs Courtly Check chargers. The base cloth is a textured white cotton, and the shamrock topper is set on the diagonal. The white napkins are folded in the bishop's cap (as shown in this video, here), and rest upon Courtly Check napkin rings.
The bowls layered on the plate were purchased directly from Ireland. I love the Celtic knots on the outside (see leading photo in this post), as well as the single knot inside, surrounded by vines of tiny shamrocks. The Celtic knot is also part of the vintage cloth's motif, at each corner. Green stemware, flatware and little green mints complete each place setting.
A little more history on St. Patrick, Bishop and Patron Saint of Ireland: his historical imagery is that of a bishop (hence, the napkin fold); however, his history began in England, in the 5th Century. As a teen, Patrick (his name taken as a priest) was kidnapped from his family by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave, to herd and tend sheep (hence, the flock grazing on the table).  
Patrick escaped four years later, returned to Britain, became an ordained priest and, later, bishop. His mission led him back to Ireland, where he worked tirelessly for over 40 years, converting pagans to Christianity. He often used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. He died on March 17, 461.

What started as the "wearing of the green" - a cluster of shamrocks on the right breast to show Irish heritage and connectedness to St. Patrick - has, well, gotten a little out of hand as the years have gone by. Oh my....a little day drinking with the leprechaun could soon have the situation spiraling a bit out of control. Let the shenanigans begin!
As night falls, the more serious leprechaun (who's tending the sheep) tries to maintain control, while the shenanigator leprechaun jumps on the pedestal and goes full tilt on the sheep!
Oh boy! Looks like the shenanigator wants to take the serious guy for a ride....
Oh no! Now the shenanigator thinks he's a self-ordained bishop, donning the napkin hat!
Well, let's hope this night ends well, and that all the shenanigans don't end up with the shamrock table topper turned into a toga! How in the world would I explain that to next year's keeper of the cloth?! Speaking of next year, who will be the next keeper of the cloth?

All shenanigans aside, I'll close with the following Irish prayer. This little gem was something I picked up at an estate sale, originally purchased by the owner in his travels to Ireland. It is framed with wild, dried Irish flowers, and sits on my bedroom dresser.
Thank you for your visit today! I hope if you're a shenanigator this St. Patrick's Day, you survive all the fun and take the luck of the Irish with you each day.

St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans Source List
Table Topper, Shenanigator Leprechaun - vintage, traveling through the blogging years
Tablecloth - DKNY - HomeGoods
Majolica Plates, crystal tumblers, silver julep cups, white napkins, serious leprechaun, sheep - vintage finds (one sheep was gifted, new)
Celtic Bowls - Carrolls Irish Gifts
Chargers, napkin rings, small pedestal - MacKenzie-Childs
Green flatware - Horchow
Green Stemware - Dollar Tree
Rita C. at Panoply


  1. Rita, you have done the traveling shamrock cloth proud! This is such a fun post with all of the shenanigans going on with the leprechaun...I know Mary will be amused! Your table is fabulous with the majolica plates resting upon the courtly check chargers. The Celtic knots bowls from Ireland couldn’t be more perfect. The bishop fold napkin resting upon the courtly check napkin rings is most creative. The green flatware and stemware add more charm to the table. The addition of the sheep and the serious leprechaun adds more whimsy. The story of St. Patrick is most interesting and I am so glad you added it. This might be my most favorite tablescape that you have shared. I will be looking forward to the next keeper of the cloth!

  2. Such a lovely post Rita. Love your shenanigans. The Majolica plates are lovely with the MKC. Lovely idea using the MKC napkin rings for the bishops napkin fold. The Traveling Shamrock cloth and Leprechaun has really made the rounds. You along with the other ladies have made it so proud. The green goblets and those sheep are a finishing touch. Love the story of St. Patrick you provided. Enjoy your ☘️ Irish heritage.

  3. Rita, imagine my delight when I opened your post and discovered that you are the Keeper of the Cloth this year!! Your table full of shenanigans is delightful! The bowls from Ireland are beautiful, and your Courtly Check pieces compliment the Irish greens so well. I loved reading about the history behind this popular holiday, and aren't you clever to use the bishop's hat fold for your napkins! I hope a shenanigator doesn't visit my house, he sure looks like trouble! Let the day drinking begin, "hic!" Great job ❤️☘️❤️

  4. Shamrocks, sheep and leprechauns, oh my! Tip o' the hat to you for St. Paddy's day.
    Loved it all! I didn't know the Bordallo Pinheiro plates came in green - I have them in a pretty blue. You have a cute sheep collection.

  5. What fun to see you as The Keeper of the Cloth for 2020! This post brought back fond memories. The little Leprechaun doesn't seem to age! Your combination with the Courtly Check and majolica is perfection for me, Rita! Love seeing this table. Thanks for a stellar post!!! Happy St. Pat's!

  6. Cute post...I remember reading a few posts about this table topper - what a fun idea and you have displayed it like a true Irishman!! Love the bowls, so pretty! And you have demonstrated that our favorite CC pattern goes with everything, every holiday, any celebration!!!

  7. Oh what fun! Keeper of the cloth. Your tablescape is pretty and festive as are the other years of the traveling cloth. Visiting from Grace at Home.

  8. Holy crap what a gorgeous table. I love the layering you did! The MC black and white set against the gorgeous green? Love it! I also am literally laughing...the shenanigator? I am going to be giggling about that word all day. Thanks for the smile!

  9. Aww Rita, I love your shenanigans in your scape. You have certainly made everyone proud as the Keeper of the table topper this year. It's always fun to find the "keeper" when opening a blog post and I let out a sigh and think, perfect!!!! Love the wee bit of history with your post and used it in your story. Bravo Rita!!!!

  10. I left a comment yesterday and I must have thought I hit the publish button. This is wonderful, Rita. I love your humor, wit, and creativeness. Your historical information is interesting, too.
    I'm crazy about your layering with the MKC chargers, Majolica plates,Irish bowls with Celtic knots, green stemware and flatware placed on the cloth laid on the diagonal. Stunning presentation!
    The Leprechaun riding the sheep is so cute and all his shenanigans are amusing and interesting. You outdid yourself! Great post.

  11. How fun that you're the Keeper of the Cloth, Rita! I loved reading about the shenanigans and seeing your pretty tablescape. The MKC chargers look perfect with the cloth, and the flatware is perfect. Your Celtic bowls are stunning pieces to enhance your table. Ireland was the dream vacation of my late beloved and I and we enjoyed it so very much. Great job, Rita!

  12. Rita, this is wonderful. You have totally outdone yourself. I love everything about the post. And the MKC chargers are perfect but your Celtic bowls top anything of MKC. The Iris Prayer at the end is lovely. Happy March days to you, Rita.

  13. This is so cute Rita. I love all the fun shenanigans going on here. Your table setting is beautiful as always.
    Well done with the traveling table cloth. Happy Friday.

  14. A really cute, fun table Rita. Makes me excited for our upcoming two week trip to Ireland this summer. And yes, I plan to do some tableware shopping!

  15. That leprochaun gets around, doesn't he? So darling -- the whole set-up. The MKC black and white are a nice contrast for the green and the tablecloth is just perfection. What a wonderful tradition for you to continue! And the Celtic prayer is a perfect finish.

  16. Rita,
    The Tradition of the traveling tablecloth continues!
    You have me swooning with your lovely black, white and green Irish Tablescape!
    Thank you for continuing the Tradition!
    Always inspiring!

  17. What a fun tradition and I love your styling.

  18. Keeper of the Shamrock Cloth does sound terribly important! I can just imagine the shenanigans you get up to, Rita. =) Your tablescape is lovely; all set for a lovely meal. I have always loved that Irish Prayer....can't really ask for much else, really.

  19. Well, this was so much fun!!! what a wonderful tradition of the traveling shamrock cloth, I love hearing about it. The leprechauns are such an unruly crowd. Don't let them get you into trouble! Love the MC plates with the gorgeous green majolica. Someday I want to see how you hang from the ceiling to get those great shots!!

  20. Oh my goodness, I remember when Marigene first did that! How fun to see it all decked out with your gorgeous table and the fun leprechaun just adds to the fun!

  21. Rita this is wonderful! Sarah Anderson sent me over here from IG when she saw my Traveling Teacup, and I must say it's SO fun!! 10 years - that's amazing! I think I read Kitty's post a while back, and now I'm going to read them all! �� Thanks for your lovely table and fascinating history! I'll stop back in again soon!