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Irish eyes smiling in Harare!

And this year, roughly a month after the feast of lovers, Zimbabweans — at least those living in the capital city — are turning green with a vengeance marking the feast day of St Patrick, patron saint of the island of Ireland.


St Valentine’s Day this year fell, rather inconveniently for many, on a Monday and celebratory functions occurred in Harare between Friday February 11 and Saturday February 12. Many restaurants and hotels created romantically-themed menus and food-wine combinations in anticipation of a high-spending period.
And it’s not a dissimilar scene for “Paddy’s”.

The prestigious Greendale Good Food&Wine Appreciation Society, which traditionally meets on the first Friday of the month at different venues is having an additional special lunch on Thursday March 17, appropriately at the fairly new Irish-themed O’Hagan’s Bar and Grill at Borrowdale Village.

Owners of the franchise have promised an authentic Hibernian menu, lots of Guinness Stout, Kilkenny Ale and Irish whiskeys, both from the Republic of Ireland and British-run Ulster, with a Dublin sing-along.


That same night, the Mashonaland Irish Association, founded in 1890, immediately after the Pioneer Column arrived here and proudly claiming it’s the oldest-established expatriate Irish society in the world, will hold a reception for Irish passport holders at Blue@2, a wine bar and gastro-pub in a two-storey former colonial-style dwelling set in a couple of acres at Avondale, run by the Hartmann family, dispossessed tobacco farmers from Doma.

On the following Saturday, MIA will stage its annual golf competition at Wingate Golf Club, Teviotdale, built by the Jewish community when they couldn’t legally join mainstream golf clubs and named after Brigadier Orde Wingate, a pro-Zionist British Army officer, killed in an air-crash in Burma, when leading his famous heavily bearded Chindits guerilla fighters against the occupying Imperial Japanese forces.

The night before St Patrick’s Day, on March 16, The Cage Bar and Grill in the grounds of Mabelreign Country Club is hosting what it calls a St Patrick’s Night, featuring “Oirish stew with plenty of potatoes”, Irish music and karaoke.

On Friday March 18, Spook House, at Msasa is celebrating St Patrick’s Day with several events including a “drink your way around the world with shooters” session.

Sunday March 20 sees the main Mashonaland Irish Association function: a lunch for several hundred hosted at Wild Geese Lodge, also in Teviotdale, on the outskirts of Harare, overlooking the Mazowe Valley goldfields, farms and citrus plantations.

Wild Geese was the home of Sally Carney, widow of local author Daniel Carney, who wrote the best-selling book of the same name about white mercenaries In Africa. It was made into a gripping film starring Richard Burton and Roger Moore.

Irish freebooting and freelance mercenary troops, operating throughout Europe from the Middle Ages were traditionally called Wild Geese.

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