Another epic Hooley at the Tierneys’ is in the books. I shared some photos and videos on Facebook and Instagram . . . and you guys had some questions. So even though it’s St. Joseph’s Day, I shall attempt to answer all your St. Patrick’s Day party queries here.

What is a hooley?

Hooley is Irish slang for a party, hence “hooligans.” We first encountered the term in the song “Courtin’ in the Kitchen” by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchaperoned wooing.

At the age of seventeen I was ‘prenticed to a grocer
not far from Stephen’s Green where Miss Henry used to go sir
her manners were sublime, she set my heart a twitchin’
and she invited me to a hooley in the kitchen

Long story short: don’t go over to her house and let her sit on your lap, she will totally get you six month hard labor. It’s a good song.

Where did you get your outfit/the husband’s shoes?

  • My Shirt: Target maternity
  • My Shoes: From a local vintage resale shop
  • My Scarf: A gift, but I think it might be from Dollar Tree
  • My Skirt: Amazon, purchased as Frankie’s St. Patrick All Saints’ Day costume
Who wore it better?

And, the husband’s shoes are custom Chuck Taylors from the Converse website. They were his Christmas present a couple years back.

You had HOW MANY people at your house?

That’s very insensitive and hurtful of you. Not all Catholics who are open life have a lot of kids. And some have experienced infertility and miscarriages.

  1. I’m sorry for your struggles.
  2. I never said all good Catholics have a lot of kids. If you do the math, this averages out to fewer than 3 kids per two adults, and since there were a few families in attendance with many more children than that (like ours) that also means there were families with fewer than three. And none. And single people. And people who have struggled with infertility and miscarriages. And <gasp> NON-CATHOLICS. All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place. (Oops. Now that’s stuck in our heads.)

How did you feed all those people? And how do you have the time to do it?

I am boring and like to make the same stuff over and over again. I have a list of party food and supplies for the hooley in a google doc that I update with notes after each year. I pull it out about a week before the party and order paper products and whatnot online. The husband goes to Costco the weekend before. We do a preliminary house and yard tidy-up over the weekend, and finish home projects we’ve been meaning to do during the week. We get Green River sodas delivered on Monday (from a local place, but this site delivers to 48 states). On Thursday and/or Friday I go grocery shopping. (This year on Friday I also had to make and serve dinner for 40 cast and crew of the High School play, so THAT was a little crazy, but fine.) On Saturday I make the make-ahead stuff and we clean and start decorating. On Sunday I make the rest and we get everything set up. It’s really just a couple days of really focused work, and we get the motivation we need to finish up various projects!

I make fancy jello, cheesy buffet potatoes (these hold up better than mashed), coleslaw (for cabbage), avocado and orange salad (for the Irish flag), and Irish soda bread. I make not-particularly-Irish bbq and hot wings, and queso dip. We also put out the fixin’s for corned beef and swiss on rye from a local deli, an Irish cheese platter, a fruit tower in green and orange, juice, lemonade, water, soda, beer, wine, and whiskey, and various snacky chips, nuts, and candies for outside around the bar.

I do a kids’ table of tater tots, chicken nuggets, string cheese, and some fruit and snacks.

Everything else, including all the appetizers and these amazing desserts, and various great main dishes, are contributed by guests. This takes away a lot of the workload for me, and also means we can easily say yes to last minute additions. I just ask them to bring something with them, and then the party is self-sustaining!

Also, it’s great if we run out of food at the end, because then people will leave. And it’s Lent, so my goal is ZERO treats left when the party is over!

Where do you put everyone? Don’t they destroy your house? What about bathrooms?

The party is mostly outside, and we are fortunate to have a big, walled yard that goes all the way around the house and allows for the self-segregation of sexes and age groups.

But we also let party goers inside. The main food table is in the dining room. Wings and queso are in the kitchen. Desserts are in the breakfast room. People hang out in the living room. We had a self-guided tour of the whole house marked out this year, and people are welcome to use all the bathrooms in the house (we do have an exterior bathroom as well).

We close up and lock the toy closet and our kids know to keep their friends out of there. We never have friends hanging out upstairs anyway (except for house tours or chapel visits or the bathrooms) and our kids help enforce that as well. The kids really want to be outside playing anyway!

This house is all tile and hardwood, which is great for parties. Our old house had off white carpet, and one rainy year we had to replace it all after the party. It was just not cleanable. But fortunately that isn’t a problem in this house! Sometimes messes happen, but we just clean them up. It’s worth it to get to bring all these great families together in honor of St. Patrick!

Did you say self-guided house tour? Can we see it?

Yes. But not today! Hopefully I can get that up in the next couple days! So, stay tuned.