Hailing from the lyrically named County Limerick in Ireland, Breda Leahy—owner of in Mamaroneck—recalls her attachment to the lush countryside and thatched cottages whose brightly painted trim, stucco facades and overall storybook quality somehow defy the cloyingly sweet description of “quaint” typically reserved for old European architecture. Perhaps the Irish politician Charles Haughey described it best when he said, “Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible.”
To celebrate one of the most culturally significant Irish holidays recognized here in the states, Leahy is holding a party at her shop on Mamaroneck Avenue tomorrow in honor of St. Patrick’s Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be Irish music, food, face painting and a raffle to benefit three charities: The American Red Cross, Children of the Ganges and American Friends of Cecily’s Fund.
Leahy—a 13-year Mamaroneck resident—opened her shop in November 2010 and prides herself on the selection of unique and unusual accessories not typically found in a department store. Her approach to the standard shopkeeper/customer relationship is equal parts New Age philosophy mixed with genuine heart: “[I like to] create a tranquil, welcoming atmosphere in which a client can feel at one with herself, without feeling pressure to buy…and to also create a sense of empowering women as both consumers and artisans…a karmic, well intentioned cycle of giving and receiving—not simply a cold exchange.”
A former optometrist, Leahy decided to give the store idea a go when she was home with her daughter Allana, 8.
“I followed my heart—I wanted to empower my own passion and vision,” she said about her first foray into retail.
Rather than simply name the store after herself, Leahy took a different approach. The name Brigit is loaded with meaning, referencing St. Brigit, a fifth century patron saint of Ireland during the 4th and 5th centuries who founded centers for learning, religion, and art. Brigit is also, coincidentally, Gaelic for Breda.
Committed to supporting local children’s charities, Leahy periodically holds fundraisers at her store for organizations with global reach like and the . Please click on the links for more information on these charities.
Her international outreach is not limited to charities. Many items in the store hark from far-flung locations including sari bags from India and hand-threaded metallic cuff bracelets from the Israeli designer, Ricci.
“We all deserve a treat now and then, whatever the economic state. As women journeying through life, a non-expensive treat is well deserved,” she said.
The St. Patrick's Day celebration will be from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on March 17 at 323 Mamaroneck Ave. in Mamaroneck . Raffle tickets are $2 each; prizes were donated by Harmony Apothecary, , , Peer2Peer Tutors, and Brigit.