Like so many other popular and well run venues St Kents Irish Club in Fallowfield, Manchester was forced to close by government orders in an attempt to control the Covid disease epidemic.
The club was not just a lively venue with regular live entertainment. Charitable events benefiting both local causes and international ones have raised well in excess of £1 million over the last couple of decades and local volunteers have worked hard to help the less fortunate members of society with Saint Patrick's Day breakfasts and Christmas Day lunches – so important in these days when loneliness can be as destructive as the financial problems that often accompany it.
Hopefully this closure will just be a temporary measure and the club will be able to reopen in the near future and restart its good work.
The club was named after the memory of St Kentigern, otherwise known as St Mungo – and what do we know of him?
For a man who founded a city as large as Glasgow he had a very difficult beginning indeed! His mother, sometimes known as St Enoch or St Teneu was a Celtic Briton Princess of around the sixth century AD. Her father, Leddun, the king of Lothian at the time, was enraged when he found out that she was pregnant, which was said to been the result of a rape by a Welsh prince called Owain mab Urien; he blame her entirely for this, possibly because she refused at the time to name her assailant, and she was sentenced to death.
The first attempt to kill her was by throwing her off a cliff; she survived this so she was sent off in a small lightweight boat across the Firth of Forth, where she was expected to die of exposure. Luckily she was found by either monks of the monastery of St Serf, or by the saint himself; and she was brought to the monastery, situated on an island in Loch Leven. There she gave birth to her son Kentigern who was nicknamed 'Mungo' (which translates to 'the dear one').
Kentigern was raised to venerate Christ and when he reached manhood he made it his life's work to convert as many souls as possible to the true faith. This was not an easy task in these Dark Ages but eventually he founded his own religious centre on the site that is now occupied by Glasgow Cathedral. He is recognised by many as the founder of the city.
If you look at the coat of arms of Glasgow the Saint is portrayed at the top. There are also fishes, a tree, a bell, and a bird. These were all important symbols in St Mungo's life.
The belt was said to being given to Kentigern by the Pope, for use at funerals, during his oilgrimage to Rome. Unfortunately the original no longer exists and it was replaced in the 17th century. The other artefacts however represent three miracles.
St Serf owned a pet robin which died. legend has it that it was accidentally killed by monks who blamed St Mungo; his response however was to pray over the bird and it miraculously came back to life.
The tree represents an incident in his early life money was left in charge of a fire at the monastery during a winter. Falling asleep he allowed the fire to die out completely; he broke off some branches from a nearby tree however and created a new fire using just this frozen wood.
Queen Languoreth of Cadzow (which was possibly the lost Kingdom of Goddau) had lost her wedding ring and her husband suspected her of having done this deliberately; something that would have put not only her marriage put also her life in danger. She asked Kentigern if he could help; he went fishing in the Clyde, caught a fish and the ring was inside it.
The Saint is now celebrated every year on the 13th January, the reputed date of his death.