Swift’s Food: A Meal from the 17th Century

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to eat a 17th century inspired candlelit dinner at St Patricks Cathedral.

7.30pm, Sunday 26th November 2017



Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is delighted to present a unique culinary experience in the atmospheric surrounds of the cathedral, one of the highlights of the inaugural Jonathan Swift Festival, honouring the past Dean of the Cathedral on the 350th anniversary of his birth.

The evening will see diners treated to a 17th Century inspired candlelit dinner in the Cathedral prepared by Mary Farrell Exective Head Chef, Morton’s of Ranelagh, served family-style as it would have been during Swift’s time. Diners will also hear a talk about the author of the cookery book and the gastronomic culture of late seventeenth and early eighteenth century Dublin by writer and folklorist Dr. Deirdre Nuttall.

All the recipes featured at the dinner have been developed from Hannah Alexander’s handwritten cookbook, and are the recipes of a family known to Swift, who were living in Dublin’s Ship Street and Aungier Street from the 1680s-1730s.  Farrell and Nuttall collaborated to devise the menu, testing the recipes they discovered. Delights on the evening will include: buttered & seasoned Eel, Fricassee of chicken, Plum olives and pickled cucumbers, Hartichoke, marrows and sweet meats, Pees porridge (mushy pea puree), Saffron Bread (white yeast bread infused with saffron) and more. Served alongside the meal will be Jack Smyth Stouts and Ales, available only at the Boxty House.

Speaking about the event, Nuttall said: “Transcribing this book, which was handwritten in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries on Ship Street, just 100 metres or so from St Patrick’s Cathedral, it was hard not to wonder about the life of the woman who wrote it. The meals she was preparing were ambitious and complicated, with ingredients from all over the world. Although things had improved for middle class women in terms of access to literacy, she was living in a man’s world. We know very little about the personal lives of most of the women of the time – the many women who prepared meals for men like Swift and his peers – and yet they are the ones who created a rich Irish culinary heritage that is really only being discovered today.”

With 25 years of industry experience, Mary Farrell heads up a team of 14 staff in her kitchen who prepare foods for a diverse range of tastes and events and are particularly excited at the prospect of catering this very special dinner from the past. During the month of November Mary will highlight Alexander’s culinary legacy by adapting dishes from her recipes and featuring them in Morton’s Ranelagh. “Morton’s is a family business rooted in the Dublin area for generations” says Mary. “Through most of the last century and all of this one, it’s been fishmonger, greengrocer, butchery, supermarket, deli, off-licence and florist.”

Sponsorship for this event is provided by the Boxty House.

Tickets: €78. Advance booking is essential.

St Patrick’s Cathedral
, St Patrick’s Close, 
Wood Quay
, Dublin 8, DZ08 H6X3

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