St. Brigid's Well pub celebrates first St. Patrick's Day in four years
A church in the middle of Lowertown which saw 'Freedom Convoy'-related controversy has reopened its community centre and basement pub.
The pub opened in time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, along with the church's deep-rooted Irish connections.
Melodies bounce off the old brick walls, beer taps flow, and laughs are shared, but for Luke Kelly, the at-home, Irish spirit is what brings him back to Saint Brigid's Well.
"It's bigger than the regular country Irish pub," says Kelly, who moved to Canada nearly a decade ago. "We had a great time and I've met some friends here. The barman Roger has a great Irish Tipperary accent, the Guinness is good, and the background music is very nice."
Kelly is here to celebrate St. Patrick's Day along with his wife Elizabeth and their grandchildren Charlotte and Mia.
The evening hours are filled with entertainment with the connecting community centre offering shows, dancing and traditional Irish foods. Even the Ottawa Highland Marching Band will make an appearance with some bagpipes.
The pub on Cumberland Street is in the lower level of the towering and unmissable St. Brigid's Church.
This is the first St. Patrick's Day celebration here in four years. The pub close throughout COVID-19 and re-opened in January, but not before being embroiled in controversy.
The deconsecrated church was used by The United Peoples of Canada last year, a group with ties to the 'Freedom Convoy' protests. After not paying rent, they refused to leave until authorities stepped in to remove them.
And while the matter is still working its way through the court system, St. Brigid's owner, Patrick McDonald says residents are happy to see their pub return.
"We're glad that has come to an end, it took us some time here to get the space reinvigorated and such," says McDonald. "We are delighted to be reopened and have been getting a lot friends, family and newcomers coming back to the space."
The local hub and pub is seeded with Irish roots. The church was constructed in the late 1800s to serve the English-speaking, and largely Irish-Catholic population in the area.
The church closed in 2006 but now serves as home to the National Irish Canadian Cultural Center.
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