Good Friday in Ireland

Imagine – only religious programmes on television, no shops open, no cinemas open, no sporting events, no meat or treats to eat and no alcohol. In the past in Ireland Good Friday was a day of penance, fasting, and prayer. People didn’t eat until midday and then, all they had was some bread and water. Many people went to church to complete the Stations of the Cross and families visited the graveyards to pray for their dead.

Nowadays most of these restrictions have been lifted. Although it is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar, it is not a holiday in the Republic. Banks and other public institutions are closed, but shops stay open. 

And – no alcohol can be sold on Good Friday; pubs are closed, and nightclubs close at midnight on the night before (Holy Thursday).  However, if you are a travelling, you can buy alcohol at the airport and on trains. You’ll need a ticket to prove it, though!!

So – are all the pubs closed? No, if the pub serves meals or is in a popular tourist spot, you can eat there and drink non alcoholic drinks. So as they say,’ there’s nothing as queer as a pub with no beer’.

Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday  


1 cup milk
2 TBSP yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, melted, cooled
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
4 eggs
  5 cups flour
1 1/3 cups currants or raisins
1 egg white Glaze:
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1- 2 tbsp milk


In a small saucepan, heat milk to very warm.  Pour warm milk in the bowl of mixer and sprinkle yeast over. Mix to dissolve and let sit for 5 minutes.

With mixer running at low speed, add sugar, salt, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and eggs. Gradually add flour, dough will be wet and sticky, and continue kneading with dough hook until smooth, about 5 minutes. Detach bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30-45 minutes.

Return bowl to mixer and knead until smooth and elastic, for about 3 more minutes. Add currants or raisins and knead until well mixed. At this point, dough will still be fairly wet and sticky. Shape dough in a ball, place in a buttered dish, cover with plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the refrigerator. Excess moisture will be absorbed by the morning.

Let dough sit at room temperature for about a half-hour. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces (in half, half again, etc., etc.). Shape each portion into a ball and place on baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 400° F.

When buns have risen, take a sharp  knife and carefully slash buns with a cross shape all the way across the top. Brush them with egg white and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F, then bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack. Whisk together glaze ingredients, and spoon over buns in the cross pattern made earlier. Serve warm with butter, if possible.

7Have a Happy Easter from the ACET Team!!

Improve your Listening at ACET


In class the other day a student said that spoken English is ‘too fast’ for him to understand. It was important to let him know that he was not alone as listening comprehension is considered to be the most difficult skills to develop.


At ACET we acknowledge that although listening to English spoken slowly can help you in the early stages, you need to get used to English spoken at normal speed, too. Here are some tips ACET teachers give their students:

•Listen a little every day; don’t go a day without practising your listening.

•Remember it is not necessary to understand every word. Usually it is enough to get a general sense of what people are saying. 

•Remember to concentrate on the stressed words, which usually carry the main meaning of the sentence.

•Listen to music in English; songs of all types are a great way to develop your listening skills.


•Watch films as often as you can and try not to use the subtitles. You’ll be surprised at how much you understand.

•Use audio books and graded readers with CDs. Try listening to the CD only, without reading the book.

•Get a group of friends together and have regular meetings to practise speaking and listening to each other.


•Try to expose yourself to different varieties of English which will help you get used to different accents and vocabulary. You may not know this that most English speakers are not native speakers, so try to listen to English spoken by people whose first language is not English.

Suggested sites to improve listening skills:

The most important tip of all – never give up!!



No Double Trouble at ACET

nCan two wrongs ever make a right??

We hear songs titles, such as – ‘Ain’t no sunshine when you’re gone’ or ‘Can’t get no satisfaction’.


This is called a Double Negative – using no or not when you should use any. The two negatives cancel each other out and give a positive meaning.  It does not intensify the negative.

However, there is a double negative that is grammatically correct.  We use it to add nuance or subtlety to our statements.  Examples:

A: “What’s Sarah’s new boyfriend like?”

B: “Well, I won’t say he is unattractive.”

What does it mean? Is he unattractive or attractive?

A: “Did you enjoy the film?”

B: “Well, I didn’t dislike it.”

Did I like it or not?

Using not and a negative prefix (un/dis etc) suggests the speaker has some doubts or reservations that would not be there if the speaker had responded: “I think he is quite unattractive” or “I didn’t really like the film.” What about “Don’t go without me!!” or “He is not unlike his father”.

What do they mean??

So unlike the song titles mentioned at the beginning, Tom Jones’ song “It’s not unusual” is grammatically correct!!

Test Yourself:

Don’t get into trouble with your double negatives.

nDo you think it is old-fashioned to worry about the use of double negative in modern English usage?

Have your say! – Don’t not join in the discussion!!


Learning English Dos and Don’ts by ACET students!

Olivia's class March 1 2013The aim of our blog is to counter the dos and don’ts of learning English. We will also make a recommendation to everybody who wants to improve efficiently the language of Shakespeare.


  • The most important thing is to allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. the next piece of advice is to try to speak as much as possible with English speakers.
  • Without a doubt reading books or newspapers and watching TV or films are very helpful to improve your knowledge.
  • All in all concentrating and enjoying the language are the key of success.


When you want to learn English, there are some things you shouldn’t do.

  • You shouldn’t be shy. It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake because even English speakers make them. But they could help you, when they correct your mistakes.
  • It’s also important that you don’t stay at home or be isolated. When you’re learning the grammar, don’t avoid doing a difficult exercise.
  • And the most important thing is that you shouldn’t give up.

Although it is difficult to lear English, you have to build your own successful experience. We recommend that you keep going. Believe in yourself and your English will go from strength to strength.

And… remember to HAVE FUN!

From Olivia’s Upper-intermediate class: Miriam, Marie Laure, Nicolas, Montserrat, Ybone, April and Ines! 🙂