Ireland’s legendary hospitality has many roots but on the first day of Spring, February 1st, we remember St. Bridget or Mary of the Gaels.
St. Bridget of Kildare is buried in Downpatrick, County Down beside our St. Patrick, and legend has it that Bridget defied her father, the King at royal matchmaking and gave away food to those in need – not the done thing. This started a life of hospitality, and Bridget would devote herself to giving and loving those all around her with the gracious gift of hospitality. Under a great oak (the sacred tree of the druids) Bridget founded her monastery in Kildare. It was here the sick were tended to, travelers were fed and poets, craftsmen and farmers were welcomed and their trades nurtured. you go girl!
This poem is associated with St. Bridget:
I should like a great lake of finest ale
For the King of Kings.
I should like a table of the choicest food
For the family of heaven.
Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,
And the food be forgiving love.
So I lift my glass to you St. Bridget for all you have taught us, and may your legacy continue in the hearts of the Irish in every corner of the world! To those who have not visited the shores of Ireland you will find a a hundred thousand welcomes, Cead Mile Failte awaits you!
Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish Foodie)