Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Social sciences


This study explores the food traditions of Imbolg or St. Brigid’s Day (1st February), one of the quarter days of the Irish calendar year, which heralds the awakening of spring. Imbolg is comparable to Christmas eve, in that celebratory potato dishes such as colcannon or ‘poundies’ and boxty are consumed. Throughout the Schools’ Collection (6,000 copybooks filled with folklore collected by over 50,000 children), a rich food history where customs, superstitions, divinations and a mixing of the pagan and Christian traditions is evident. Four main themes: ‘Dishes’, ‘Brigid’s Crosses’, ‘Biddy Boys and Brídeogs’ and ‘Brigid, miracles and religion’ were identified, which share an affinity with the extant folklore literature. However, certain nuances are also highlighted in the Schools’ Folklore Collection (SFC) revealing a rich and oftentimes neglected food culture. This paper aims to address the current lacuna within the Folklore literature concerning foodways, whilst also highlighting opportunities for further research.