Categories Tea

Host a St Patrick's Day Tea Party: Irish Recipes and Etiquette for Afternoon Tea

Ready to take pride in an Irish heritage? Gather ideas for party games, recipes, and tea party etiquette that will make this Celtic celebration complete.

Irish Party Games

Entertain guests with Irish Backgammon or Irish Don . If neither boardgames nor cards sound appealing, throw a few Irish proverbs into the conversation and see if creative guests can supply the correct ending. Here are a few Irish sayings:

  • Three things hardest to understand…(the mind of women, the work of the bees, the coming and going of the tide).
  • Broken Irish is better than… (clever English).
  • It is often that a person’s tongue… (cut his throat).
  • Top of the morning to you and the rest of the day to… (yourself).

After selecting games for an afternoon tea party, plan a menu that will feature Ireland's national color…green.

Ideas for a St Patrick’s Day Tea Menu

  • Jasmine Green Tea
  • Spring greens salad with lime vinaigrette
  • Cream cheese & chives finger sandwiches garnished with watercress or cucumber
  • Shamrock Scones served with Lime Curd
  • Fruit bowls of sliced kiwi or green apples
  • Key lime tarts/pie

Make a shopping list for necessary supplies.

The green theme of this Irish tea party should extend to the decorations as well. Set the table with white and green linens. A low bowl with floating shamrocks and ivy looks charming and is an inexpensive centerpiece. Accent the room with green candles. Don't forget the background music. This is a perfect occasion to turn on a cd of haunting ballads or lively Celtic tunes that have made Ireland famous.

Once supplies are purchased, the tea table set, and the music cued, tie on an apron and head for the kitchen.

Irish Tea Party Recipes


An afternoon tea party would not be complete without scones. On St Patrick's Day lend the ordinary scone an Irish flair.

Shamrock Scones

  • 2 C white flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 C white sugar
  • 1/2 C softened butter
  • 1/2 C buttermilk or whole milk
  • 1 egg, whisked

Mix the dry ingredients together. Then cut the butter into the mixture until it reaches a soft crumbly texture. Make a well in the center of the dough and rapidly add buttermilk. Stir gently. Mixing too long can cause dough to toughen. Roll dough into a one inch thick circle on a floured surface. To form shamrocks cut the dough into tiny hearts with a cookie cutter or a knife, then press three hearts together at the base until the seams are invisible. Voila! A three leaf clover! Place the shamrocks on an ungreased baking sheet and brush with a whisked egg. Bake for 10-12 minutes in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees F (200°C) or until golden brown.

Irish Tea Party Etiquette

Irish etiquette resembles that of many other countries. Courtesy is always the cornerstone of a tea party. That said, here are a few tips to make this Celtic celebration flow smoothly:

  • When inviting friends for a St Patrick's Day tea party, let them know whether to expect a formal or informal setting. If guests should dress in a particular color, like green, indicate this on the invitation.
  • Consider the dietary needs of expected guests and plan the menu accordingly. For example if a friend has an allergy to lime, replace key lime pie with another dessert.
  • Use the best china and linens. It is a point of Irish hospitality to make guests feel welcome. It is also an Irish tradition to have fun…so prepare to pinch any forgetful guest who neglected "the wearing of the green."
  • On the other side, as a guest, R.S.V.P. punctually. Bring a hostess gift or offer to supply part of the meal.