St. Brigids Day Foods:
1.Colcannon for 6
1 1/4 lbs. Kale or green Cabbage,2 cups water,1 tablespoon olive oil,1
1/4 pounds peeled and quartered potatoes.1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1
cup cleaned and chopped leeks white part only,1 cup milk,pinch of ground
mace,salt and ground pepper to taste, 1/2 cup melted butter (use real
1.simmer kale or cabbage in 2 cups water and oil for 10 minutes ,drain
2.boil potatoes and water simmer till tender
3.simmer the leeks in milk for ten minutes till tender
4.drain and puree the potatoes
5.add leeks and their milk and cooked kale.
6.mix add mace salt and pepper.
7.mound on a plate and pour on the melted butter.Garnish with parsley.
1/2 pound hot cooked potatoes,i/2 pound grated raw potatoes,2 cups
flour,1 teaspoon baking soda,1-1 1/2
cups butermilk,butter for frying,salt and pepper.
1.drain peel and mash the hot potatoes
2.stir in the raw potatoes,flour and baking soda
3.add salt and pepper to taste
4.mix well with enough buttermilk to make a stiff batter
5.Shape into 3 inch patties about 1/4 inch thick.
6.fry on hot greased griddled until crispy and golden on both sides makes 12.
St. Brigids Oaten Bread
1 cup flour,1 tablespoon sugar,3/4 teaspoon baking powder,1/4 teaspoon
baking soda,1/4 teaspoon salt.,3 tablespoons butter in small pieces,3/4
cup uncooked oatmeal flakes. 1 egg,1/2 cup buttermilk
1.heat oven to 425 degrees
2. grease baking sheet
3.combine flour sugar baking powder,baking soda and salt in bowl and mix
4.Add butter bits and cut in with knife until mixture is crumbly.
5.add oats and toss to combine
6.in other bowl beat egg with buttermilk
7.make a well in the dry ingredients pour in the egg mixture and mix with
a fork until crumbs hold together.Make dough into ball and transfer to
floured surface.Knead 20-25 times add flour if sticky.
8.pat dough into 8 inch round and trnsfer to baking sheet.
9.score a deep cross into the bread but do not cut it through
10.bake 15-20 minutes till brown.
(may be formed into a wheat sheaf for feb 1 and left out over night for
Rendell,Joan Your Book of Corn Dollies.,London 1976.
Danaher,Kevin. The Year in ireland.,Mercier Press,Cork,1972.
Sandford,Lettice.,Straw Work and Corn Dollies.,Viking,N.Y.
Svinicki, Eunice.,Making Nice Things out of Straw.,
Historical Brigid-Abbess of Kildare
The name Kildare (church of the oak possibly refers to the Oak grove
sacred before Christianity in which the Abbey was set. But also when
Brigid took her vows there the dead wood of the altar grew green leaves
and lived from that time on)
Kildare was the home of a perpetual fire tended many years after the
historical Brigid died (first quarter of the 6th century). The Romans
equated the saint to minerva but this was inaccurate.
She was a multivalent(many powered ) deity in Celtic times and is linked
to the hearth,home,cattle and farm animals as well as with farm
produce.She was a healer.Patron of smiths,poets and healers-a tripartite
(three part) deity -a typical Celtic type of figure with three parts.
It is said that she found her cross on the floor of the home of a pagan
chieftain who was dying of the fever. She wanted to convert the pagan and
looking around for a method found the cross - converted him just before
There are many many short stories (which I tell)about saint Brigid.
Poem Closely Associated with Brigid
I should like to have a great pool of Ale
I should like to have a great pool of ale for the King of Kings
I should like the heavenly Host to be drinking it for all eternity.
I should like to have the fruit of Faith of pure devotion,I should like
to have the couches of Holiness in my house.
I should like to have the men of Heaven in my own dwelling
I should like the vats of long suffering to be at their disposal
I should like to have the vessels of Charity to dispense should like to
have the pitchers of mercy for their company
I should like there to be cheerfulness for their sake I I should like
Jesus to be there too.
I should like to have the three marys of glorious renown I should like to
have the people of heaven from every side
I should like to be vassal to the Lord if I should suffer distress he
would grant me a good blessing.
10th Century AD Translated from the Gaelic by Kenneth H. Jackson from
Greene,David,H. Random House,1954,p.32.
Saint Brigid a.k.a. The Mary of the Gael
her day: February 1
First Day of Spring
the beginning of imbolc:Season of light
(alternate spelling- Brighid)
Brigid means Fiery Arrow
She is patroness of cattle and of dairy work
1. A day to look for weather signs-a hedgehog a good weather sign
if he stays out of his burrow.
2.do only essential work on the day and go to the local shrine to pray.
3.Take stock of the household supplies-will it last till harvest
4.Clean the house
5. Make a special dinner for St. Brighids Eve
6. Make a Bairin-breac-yeast cake with fruit.(aka barm brack)
for the eve and invite the neighbors in.
7.Make fresh butter-Brigid is closely associated with the dairy.
8.A day for the wealthy to give food to the poor.
9.St. Brigid traveled the countryside blessing households with her white
red eared cow.
10.You need to show her welcome:place bread and fresh butter on the
window sill outside,also put out a sheaf of corn for the cow,put out
rushes for her to kneel on to bless the household,set the table in the
kitchen on the eve.
11.Make the cros Bride or bogha Bride (St. Brigids Cross)
These crosses are made of rushes-but vary in materials and somewhat in
design from region to region(see drawing).
12.The cross should be hung in the thatch roof of the house or above the
door and if you dont have a roof-apartment-on the inside of the front door.
13. Cross material should be blessed.Crosses are left in place for a full
year to be renewed on the day.
14. a large oat bread cake a Strone in the shape of a wheat sheaf or
cross is made,blessed by the priest and eaten.
15.Often a door ceremony is held with a person-eldest daughter
representing the saint knocking and asking to be let in:
it is said- go on your knees,open your eyes, and let Brighid in
answered by from within: Greeting,greeting to the noble woman.
16.After perhaps Mary Brigid is the most common name for girls in
Ireland- it is shortened to Bridie (pronounced bri dee)
(Bride in English however comes from the German but many think otherwise
the linguists insist a German root.)
17.On the eve the Bridie Boys go out with an effigy of the saint called
the Brideog-a doll dressed in white-they pick up the offerings of bread
and of butter left out.(in some areas the Brideog was the most pure girl
of the village)
18.A piece of white cloth is hung outside the front door.
19.Those coming around would say something like this:
Something for poor Biddy!
Her clothes are torn
Her shoes are worn
Something for poor Biddy
Here is Briget dressed in white
Give her a penny for her night
She is deaf she is dumb
She cannot talk without a tongue.
Here comes Brigid dressed in white
Giver her something for the night
She is deaf,she is dumb
For Gods sake give her some
20. A silk ribbon is left out for the Saint to bless it is used to cure
illness. the ribin Brighid St.Brigids Ribbon.
21. To say over the cross:
Brighids Girdle is my girdle
The Girdle with the four crosses
And go out three times
May whoever goes through my girdle
Be seven times better a year from now
22.The leftover materials from the cross were used to bless the animals
as bedding and feed.
23.On St Brigins day the lark was a good omen of Spring
24The dandelion is spoken of as Brigids Flower
25. Hoar frost(thick frost) gathered specially on the day can be used to
26. There are many wells dedicated to the saint from which water is drawn
and used for blessings on the day.
27.Brigid is famous for brewing ale and for distributing it -so ale is a
part of the celebration
28.The farm animals should be especially well taken care of on the day.
Throughout Ireland there is considerable variation and these customs are
documented for each individual region but are basically the same.
Today in Ireland the Irish are adopting international culture-it would
not be unusual for an Irish man or woman not to celebrate the day at all
or to follow the old customs
a great source-
Kevin Danaher,The Year in Ireland.,The Mercier Press,Cork,
his observations are also well documented to scientific publications.
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