Luton St Brigid’s Day: An afternoon of comedy and catching up with friends near and far
Get together more than 75 guests, traditional afternoon tea and an afternoon of great Irish comedy and you could have a real winner. That was how Luton Irish Forum (LIF) marked Lá Fhéile Bríde 2021 (St Brigid’s Day), with their 5th annual event this year, celebrating Irish Women in Comedy. And of course, it was all via Zoom.
After a special message from H.E. Ambassador of Ireland, Adrian O’Neill, viewers spent the next two hours laughing along with clips of and learning about Julie Walters, Kathy Burke, Caroline Ahearn, Derry Girls, Aisling Bea, Dirt Birds, Maureen Potter and June Rodgers. Two great television favourites, Mrs Brown and Mrs Doyle, both featured and the audience voted Mrs Doyle as their firm favourite.
The free online event was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and family from across the UK and Ireland.
Margaret Bradley, originally from Co Derry in Ireland, talked about how her mother always gathered rushes to make St Brigid’s crosses. It’s a skill that has been passed down to Margaret and one she’s going to share with LIF members.
There were some very special guests: Gerry Molumby Director of the Triskellion Irish theatre company who donated a beautiful handmade St Brigid’s Cross; and Sarah Finucane from The Craic is Back magazine. Sarah Owen and Rachel Hopkins, Luton’s two female MPs completed the guest list. Rachel kindly gave a box of House of Commons chocolates as a raffle prize. Lorraine Castagnoli, only one of the attendees who was celebrating her birthday at the event was the lucky winner of that prize and said she would be back next year.
Some 40 generously sized traditional afternoon teas, made freshly on the day by the family team of Jack Berr Caterers, were delivered to Luton attendees.
Typical was this comment received: “Thanks so very much to the ladies who delivered my afternoon tea this morning in the rain, made my day, thanks a million!”
Attendees were full of praise for the event. Elaine Lister who was among family members watching from the UK and Ireland said, “Thank you to the Irish Forum for still hosting this much needed event, women in comedy is very apt for this year and has made me laugh and remember very good people and shows. Thanks so very much…have learnt more again today, nice to see everyone too, very much needed I am sure for us all.”
Ann Milner remarked “It introduced me to several Irish comedians I didn't know and most importantly I laughed a lot...it reminded me how proud I am to be Irish.”
Rachel Hopkins M.P., a regular supporter of LIF’s St Brigid’s Day events commented that the afternoon was “Informative, funny, entertaining,” it “brought different generations together celebrating Irish women in comedy” and was a “great way to spend a couple of hours!”
Tom Scanlon Chairman of Luton Irish Forum closed the Afternoon Tea and expressed his hope we can celebrate together again next year, and in person.
As in previous years, there is a St Brigid's 2021 souvenir e-Booklet free to download that’s packed full of information about Irish Women in Comedy.
To view the event, head over to LIF YouTube channel or contact LIF and request a DVD recording, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01582 720 447.
- St Brigid is one of Ireland's patron saints, along with Patrick and Columba. Born in Dundalk in 450 A.D., she was the founder of the first monastery in County Kildare, Ireland. Her father was a pagan chieftain of Leinster and her mother was a Christian. St Patrick inspired her to deepen her father and spread the word of God.
- St Brigid’s Feast Day on 1st February was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc, marking the beginning of spring. After a long dark winter, St Brigid’s Day celebrates the arrival of longer, warmer days and the early signs of spring. In the pagan tradition, this day also celebrates Brigid’s divine femininity.
- Following the successful launch of the St Brigid’s Day celebration at the Irish Embassy in London in 2018, events are being held across the UK this year.
- Luton Irish Forum (LIF) is a registered charity and limited company formed in 1997, with some 400 members and a fully accessible centre close to Luton Town Centre. LIF supports local communities in Luton to reach their full potential by providing welfare advice, social, cultural and volunteering opportunities.