My Celtic Side and the Patron Saint of Ireland

Too many people think of St. Patrick when they think of saints and Ireland. Actually, the patron saint is St. Brigid. Yes, a woman.

She is known for her generosity to the poor, not for drunken revelry in every pub in sight, probably another reason Brigid plays 2nd fiddle to Patrick in the annals of saintdom. The name “Brigid” means “exalted one” and is used for both pagan and christian goddesses. She established a church in Kildare, that name meaning “church of the oak”. She is supposed to have done a bunch of rather unusual things: healing the sick, communing with animals, turning stones into salt, and more.

Sadly, she did not drink tea.

Small wonder there, since tea did not reach Ireland unti the 1700s and Brigid was reportedly born around 457 AD. No worries, though. Tea drinking is now very popular in Ireland, and a St. Brigid teatime is quite common. Pastries shaped like animals and lots of dark black tea with milk and sweetener are obvisous choices.

On this date (February 1st) rather than March 17th, I celebrate my Celtic side, where pagan and christian joined, where the feast day of a pagan goddess became a day to celebrate a strong-willed woman dedicated to living her life not as her father expected (by marrying a man he had chosen for her) but as she chose.

The example is a good one for young women from that perspective. As for the mythology, I leave that to you.


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