Our Female Patron Saint

Today is Saint Brigid’s Day, February 1st, one of the four patron saints of Ireland.  This day is known as Lá Fhéile Bríde.

February 1st is also the day of the Celtic Feast Imbolc.  It was also associated with the Celtic Goddess Bridget.  Many of the Celtic feast days were adopted by the early Christians.

Traditionally on the eve of St. Brigid’s Day a cross would be made.  It was said that Brigid was converting a dying pagan to Christianity and in order to explain the faith to him she needed a cross.  The only thing to hand were some rushes which she made into a cross. and then proceeded to explain certain aspects of Christian faith to the man.

 

St. Brigid’s Crosses were traditionally given to neighbours and friends as gifts.  If a St. Brigid’s Cross was placed above the door it meant that everyone was welcome.  It was also thought to protect the home.

Brigid had been a milkmaid prior to becoming a nun.  It was said that she could get more milk from a cow than anyone else.  She used travel the country as a nun converting the Irish to Christianity accompanied by a white cow with red ears.

A piece of white ribbon was left outside for the saint to bless.  This was then kept near the hall door for the rest of the year.  It was also the day when food was given to those who didn’t have any.

The special meal on the day always had pancakes to signify the dairy link to St. Brigid. These pancakes however were served with butter or fresh cream as opposed to the tradition of lemon and sugar on Pancake Tuesday.

In case St. Brigid on her travels calls to your door it is traditional to leave bread and butter on the window sill and some corn for the cow.

Lá Fhéile Bríde shona dhuit. Happy St. Brigid’s Day.

 

 

A not so traditional pub meal

I have just returned from spending a great holiday with my husband.  Choosing a location was easy enough, in the sense that as airports are not our favourite places it was a holiday in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or England.

England won the toss and deciding on a journey from the ferry of not more than 3.30 hours led us to the county of Shropshire and the town of Ludlow.  Well we ended up staying in the village of Claynham about 3 miles outside Ludlow.

The house we rented was just beautiful.  It was a converted byre which was stunningly restored.  The original beams were retained.  modern décor throughout which highlighted the oak beams and showed off the oak floor throughout.  But the modern kitchen was just a dream.

One of my biggest worries when away is where to eat and trying food.  I don’t fancy being ill so by renting a house and cooking in, I have found a way of enjoying a holiday.  However, it is not always feasible and sometimes I just do not want to cook.

So, when I find an eating establishment which serves good food, well cooked I love to talk about it.

“Inn at Shipley” (http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/innatshipley)

It is an old pub which has been tastefully renovated.  There are airy areas as well as small nooks.  The toilets are spacious.  What I also liked was the photographs which gave you a little piece of history.

It has a great menu that is traditional but with modern twists.  The staff are extremely friendly and knowledgeable.  One word of warning if you do not like dogs in food establishments then avoid the inn.  While there, we decided on a selection of starters rather than a main course.   Chicken Liver Pate with carrot and apricot chutney; homemade Black Pudding with poached egg and shallot puree; a selection of granary breads; Beetroot humus and portion of traditional chips.  I can honestly say that every plate was practically wiped clean the food was so delicious.

Although this is just one of many in the Brunning and Price Pubs it is very unique and well worth a visit.