Monday, March 17, 2003

Maybe Patrick Drove Out the Snakes, But....

...according to beer writers Steve Frank and Arnold Meltzer Ireland's own St. Brigid (457-525 AD) turned water --including dirty bath water-- into fine ale:

Probably the best known Irish saint after Patrick is Saint Brigid (b. 457, d. 525). Known as "the Mary of the Gael," Brigid founded the monastery of Kildare and was known for spirituality, charity, and compassion. St. Brigid also was a generous, beer-loving woman. She worked in a leper colony which found itself without beer, "For when the lepers she nursed implored her for beer, and there was none to be had, she changed the water, which was used for the bath, into an excellent beer, by the sheer strength of her blessing and dealt it out to the thirsty in plenty." Brigid is said to have changed her dirty bathwater into beer so that visiting clerics would have something to drink. Obviously this trait would endear her to many a beer lover. She also is reputed to have supplied beer out of one barrel to eighteen churches, which sufficed from Maundy Thursday to the end of paschal time. A poem attributed to Brigid in the Brussels library begins with the lines "I should like a great lake of ale, for the King of the Kings. I should like the family of Heaven to be drinking it through time eternal."

Unfortunately, we're not told what the Ph levels were in the water, nor what kinds of hops St. Brigid used, nor whether or not she employed a single or double decoction. But we trust the resulting brew was at least as good as Guinness.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


...And Those Who Wish They Were

Here are some links to Irish folk songs and other goodies:

Irish Songs Music, Lyrics and Midis for Traditional, Drinking and Folk

Irish Folk Songs

Ireland 20,000 Volkslieder, German and other Folksongs

Traditional Irish Songs

Irish Folksongs. Airs, Ballads, Ditties, Folksongs, Hymns, Jigs, and Reels of Ireland

Irish Songs and Stories

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