On the trail of a Celtic goddess: the Irish town celebrating St Brigid

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Catholic saint? Pagan goddess? Mythical brewer? A break in Kildare sheds light on a woman now honoured with her own bank holiday on 1 February

“She really believed that if she brewed a lake of beer, it would solve the problems of the world …”

When publican and brewer Judith Boyle, whose family has been in pubs and beer for five generations, utters these words in her namesake bar in the commuter town of Kildare (a 30-minute train ride from Dublin), you’d be forgiven for thinking that she was talking about an ale-making relative. But in fact she’s referring to St Brigid, a woman who – I was learning – is the patron saint of (among many things) beer.

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