With an Irish name like Kerry Heaney, I can be excused for living it up a little on March 17 by making these easy St Patrick’s Day cupcakes.

Ireland is the only country where I never have to spell my name as I happily share it with one of the major poets of the 20th century, Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney. Unfortunately, my scanty research shows that he’s not a relative.

Green cupcake St Patrick's Day cupcakes

Celebrate St Patrick’s day with a green cupcake. Photo by Skyla Design on Unsplash

There’s more than a touch of the Irish in my family.  They survived the potato famine and emigrated to Australia in the 1860s.  My grandfather told me we came from ‘where the mountains of Mourne roll down to the sea’ but he may have just been singing a song by Percy French. However, my father claimed his Irish heritage strongly and loved to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, often with a big shindig.

Saint Patrick’s Day is the Feast of Saint Patrick. It marks the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, who is the foremost patron saint of Ireland. He is credited with converting the whole of pagan Ireland to Christianity.

The Americans, who are so good at commercialising occasions, are the ones that turned the death of a Saint into a celebration of everything Irish.  The first St Patrick’s Day parade was held in Boston in 1737.

On St Patrick’s Day, celebrate with green beer. Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

5 ways to celebrate St Patrick’s Day

You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St Patrick’s Day just have a little bit of the Irish spirit for enjoyment.  Here are five ways to get wearing the green!

1.      Start by getting your name right

On St Patrick’s Day my name is Midge Cabbage leaf which is what I would answer to if I was a leprechaun. What’s a leprechaun? They are those funny short characters who know where the pot of gold is hidden at the end of the rainbow.  Now wouldn’t that be nice!

If you’d like to find your leprechaun name – here’s a leprechaun name generator.

2.      Wearing the green

Wearing the green means adding a touch of green to your St Patrick’s Day outfit. None of that sage green or anything pastel, it must the sort of bright green that matches a traffic light.

3.      Eat green cupcakes or other green food

I’ve got you covered here with a recipe for green cupcakes below. If that means eating another cupcake or two, I’ll take one for the team.

4.      Drink green beer

They tell me it’s not as bad as it looks! You’ll find green beer on the menu at many Irish pubs on St Patrick’s Day.

5.      Eat Irish food

The traditional way to finish St Patrick’s Day is with corned meat and cabbage for dinner. Although it is more traditional for Halloween, you could also make a barmbrack

More about Ireland

For some more Irish inspiration take a wander through the streets of Belfast and the wonderful St George Market with me.

St Patricks Day Green Cupcakes

Here’s a recipe for green cupcakes.


  • 250g butter, softened
  • 3 cups (660g) white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 30ml green food colouring
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups (375g) plain flour
  • 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

For the icing

  1. 500g cream cheese
  2. 375g white chocolate
  3. 250g butter, softened

Preparation method

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix food colouring with cocoa and add to mixture.
  3. Add flour alternately with buttermilk. Add vanilla and salt.
  4. Mix the bicarb with the vinegar, and gently stir into mixture. Be careful not to over mix.
  5. Divide batter into patty cases. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
  6. To make the white chocolate cream cheese icing: Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave and allow to cool to lukewarm. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in melted white chocolate and softened butter. Beat until it is the consistency of whipped cream.