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.
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.
Do you ever come across a book in a different genre to what you usually read and find yourself drawn slowly but surely into the lives of the characters? Then at the end of the book finding it is the first in a series?
This has just happened to me. If you like Downton Abbey television series, if you like books about “the big houses”, or perhaps it is more modern rather than historical novels which appeal to you or yet again it is Irish themed novel? Then I have the very book for you. The House by A O’Connor published by Poolbeg Press.
Although the books spans many generations the imagery evoked by the author is brilliant. The characters are well-developed and the story line just begs for more. It is one of those books which lures you in until today’s world is forgotten.
As the title suggestions the house is the link between the characters of the various generations. As it says on the front of the book “one house, one family, three generations.
If you decide to read this book I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
As you know by now paper is important to me together with pens. Places where the two come together hold a fascination for me. So it is one of the reasons I love libraries.
Do you ever find that each library has its own unique atmosphere. Okay I know if I was working in them day after day I suppose I wouldn’t be wafting on about atmosphere. But from a purely visitor’s view so far each library I have visited is unique.
I had a return visit to one this week. Can you imagine a library set in a house on seventy eight acres of land surrounded by farm, sunken gardens, a lake, and a veiw stretching out to the mountains and still in a city?
Farmleigh House, Dublin is the guest house for visiting dignatries and gusets of the Irish Nation. It is an Edwardian Period house originally purchased by Edward Cecil Guiness of the famous Guiness dynasty on his marriage to his cousin Adelaide Guinness in 1873. The Iriah Government purchased it in 1999. It has since been restored and refurbished by the Office of Public Works. The craftsmanship in the restoration has been so high.
There are many wonderful rooms to view on the tour of the house. However it was the library which stole my heart away. The Benjamin Iveagh Library, to give it it’s official title, is stunning.
It is a wooden pannelled room filled with books some with exquisite binding. It has a hidden stairs to access the upper library shelves. And no the public cannot access the books. Although normaly my hands are itching to pick up a book this was a time when I just gazed in raputure at the workmanship of those bindings.
In this rrom you can see the work of suthors dating back to 1280. The work of amazing binders each binding adding to the work of the author. Then the work of the carpenters to allow for the storage of these valuable and read works.
This room like so many other libraries ackowledges the work of so many. Yet another library very much worth a visit.