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Easy Irish Afternoon Tea

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Experience the charm of an Irish Afternoon Tea. From savory bites to sweet treats, find inspiration for a tea gathering filled with Irish delights.

Tea cart setting for an Irish Afternoon Tea

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As St. Patrick’s Day nears, thoughts turn toward the green grassy hills of Ireland. If you happen to be a tea lover, an Irish Afternoon Tea isn’t far from your mind.

When they can come, my mother, my siblings, and I would love to gather for tea in March. It’s a cozy time to share Irish tea and stories of our ancestors and ready ourselves for spring.

Here, you will find beautiful ideas for celebrating all things Irish, gathering your friends around a generous tea table, and serving Irish fare common to the Emerald Isle.

To begin with, consider what time you want to host your tea, whether for one person or a gathering of friends.

Irish teapot, stand, and floral arrangement

photo credit: teatimemagazine.com

3 Irish Tea Times

Ireland has three official tea times.

  • Elevenses – Served at 11:00 AM with scones and biscuits (cookies), enough to hold you over until lunch. Don’t forget to have some clotted cream, custard sauce, marmalades, and jams for the scones.
  • Afternoon Tea includes light, sweet items between 3:00 and 5:00 PM.
  • High Tea is served at 6:00 PM and is often called supper or dinner. It is more popular in the North than the South and includes substantial fare like meat, fish, breads, fruit, and that most special Irish cheese.
Vertical view of Shamrock Tea Set for Irish Afternoon Tea on a tea cart
The tea set is Galway-based Royal Tara Fine Bone China. Unfortunately, they are no longer in business.

Irish Afternoon Tea Table

An afternoon tea table can be as simple as a small occasional table, moved to the garden, as in our Summer Afternoon Tea post, or a setting on a tea cart, as I’ve done here, or at your breakfast or dining table.

This is the time to bring out crisp linens, china, and a 3 tiered stand if you have one. I also love to include simple arrangements of shamrocks on my table that are easy to find at most grocery stores.

My father brought home Irish linens from a recent trip to Ireland that we love to use, and if you’re fortunate enough to have a Shamrock tea set, there isn’t a better time to put it to use. We put my mother’s set to use from Christmas on.

Any teapot and teacups, or crisp linens, or scraps of lace, Irish or not, will do just fine when you’re serving authentic and delicious teatime snacks.

Celtic music softly playing in the background is a beautiful touch.

3 Tier Stand with sweets for an Irish Afternoon Tea

photo credit: teatimemagazine.com

Teatime Food for an Irish Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea can be as simple or elaborate as you choose.

It can be a gathering of two or of plenty. While tea is, of course, the main event, teatime treats are usually expected. Our article on How to Serve an Easy Afternoon Tea is helpful when planning your tea and even tea courses.

For me, Irish scones are a must. But it’s also nice to have a selection or two of tea sandwiches and tea savory finger food as well.

And tea sweets can be as simple as a plate of shamrock shortbread cookies or an Irish cake.

Irish shamrock teacup with black tea

Tea for Irish Afternoon Tea

Ireland’s choice of tea is strongly flavored black tea, most often served with milk and sugar. Here are a few ideas for tea to serve. For more tea choices, you may want to see our 8 Top Teas for Afternoon Tea.

More Afternoon Tea Recipes and Ideas You May Also Enjoy

Ideas for Teatime in Ireland

Here are a few ideas and resources you might want to consider while planning your Irish Afternoon Tea.

Teatime in Ireland

Irish Afternoon Tea Recipes

Irish Afternoon Tea


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