Donegal Woman Bakes for Unity

Kelly shares her bread on the steps of Stormont.
Kelly shares her bread on the steps of Stormont.

By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
December / January 2017

The third annual “International Bake Bread for Peace Day” was celebrated across the world on October 24th this year on Facebook, with countless people baking and posting photos of their bread loaves on the site. As global as the day now is, its origins are resolutely local, begun by Breezy Kelly of Glenties, County Donegal.

Last year, Kelly took to the roads of Northern Ireland with her dog, Sheila, and a bag of soda bread in hand. Journeying through all six counties, she baked bread, sang, and told stories with the people of every town. She ended her trip on the steps of the government buildings in Stormont, Belfast, where she baked with members of the Northern Irish Assembly from different political parties in a public demonstration to promote peace.

Breezy chose breadmaking as a common ground for peacebuilding because the practice is present in almost all world cultures. With the help of social media, she encouraged schools, workplaces, and households to bake loaves of bread to help foster international “harmony, neighborliness and a sense of community.” Since then, she has been welcomed to homes in Ireland, the U.K., and beyond to roll out her vision.

“Baking bread is something ancient, something shared by people of all races, religions, and perspectives,” said Breezy, who also organized the Born and Bread project for the One Donegal Diversity Month in 2013. “It is a universal sign of peace, something we can do together. This might be a simple idea, but from small acorns, big oak trees grow.” ♦

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