Sunday, February 3, 2019

Welcome to Saint Brigid of Ireland

Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen is honored to welcome Saint Brigid, the female patron saint of Ireland, on the occasion of her annual feast day (which was February 1st) And a recipe!

I wish to give thanks to the ladies of Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen for inviting me to share my story with them. I don’t get out much any more, since I was born in the fifth century and am advanced in years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t keep busy.

You probably have heard more about Saint Patrick than about me, even though we were close in age. Of course, he was a man, and much more powerful than I ever was, so I lived in his shadow.

We both performed our share of miracles and watched over many Irish people, but there were differences between us. While Patrick received all the glory and power, I tended to all the ordinary tasks of daily life among the people. I like to think my job helped a greater number.

We each have a feast day, but I believe mine was the more important: February 1st (in modern terms), which the Irish believe is the first day of spring. That is the month when the lambs are born. Patrick’s day does not occur until March 17th, the day he is said to have died. But he gets many more celebrations than I do.

I told you I was busy, and I offer you a list of what I protect as patron saint: babies, blacksmiths, boatmen, cattle farmers, children of unmarried parents, children of abused mothers, dairymaids, dairy workers, fugitives, Ireland (the whole country), midwives, nuns, poets, the poor, poultry farmers, sailors, and scholars. I may have forgotten a few. You might notice that many of my responsibilities are connected to families (particularly women), and raising food. Trust a woman to look after the basic tasks while Patrick was said to be in charge of the whole country.

But I do not begrudge Patrick all the praise and parties. I like being part of daily life in Ireland. The country had changed, but not as much as you might think, as you’ll see if you look at the list.

I rarely cook, but simple oat cakes are usually eaten to mark my feast day. They’re easy to make of common ingredients, which is why I believe the simplicity of the oat cake is fitting of my station in life.

Note: when Brigid made oatcakes in her day, sugar was a rare item, so the small cakes are made of easily available ingredients and served with honey or jam, both natural products that would be easy to find. And I as interviewer confess I have no idea how these would have been cooked, but it’s safe to say it wasn’t on a cookie sheet.

St. Brigid’s Oatcakes


2 cups medium oatmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tblsp water
2 Tblsp butter


Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the center.

Place the water in a small saucepan with the butter, and bring to a boil. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix quickly into a stiff dough (add more water if necessary, and use your hands to mix the dough if you like).

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. 

Cut into rounds with a cookie cutter. Sprinkle the tops with a bit more oatmeal and press it in.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet and place the oatcakes on it. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes are golden.

Cool on a wire rack, then serve with butter and honey or jam. And give thanks to St. Brigid.

May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell.

Bealtaine Brígh beannaigh an teach 
ina bhfuil tú i do chónaí.


  1. Saint Brigid is my patron saint so it's really interesting to see her featured on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. She was a busy person!

  2. I have never had oatcakes, but they sound good. Thank you for the information on Saint Brigid.

  3. St. Brigid has always been a favorite of mine, but I have never celebrated her feast with oatcakes. That needs to change!!!! Thanks for the recipe. Today is the feast day of St. Blasé, but I believe I will observe it by making oatcakes!!!

    1. Ah, St. Blaise, the Irish medical doctor honored for saving a child from death when a fishbone got stuck in his throat. In the Catholic church, his feast day is used to give a blessing to prevent illness. I think Brigid's blessing fits right in!

  4. I love learning something new. And oatcakes sound like something lovely to have on hand.

  5. Welcome, Brigid, and thank you, Sheila, for introducing us to her!

  6. Brigid was acting in Ireland well before the Christians took hold.
    She has protected all those people and things for many years.
    Let's all raise an oatcake or two in her honor!