Celebrating All Brigids!

It is officially the last day of Winter! Tomorrow is Imbolc, also known as Saint Brigid's Day - Lá Fhéile Bríde.

We are approximately half way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Imbolc is celebrated as one of the four Gaelic pagan festivals (alongside Bealtine, Lughnasa and Samhain) to worship the Celtic goddess Brigid, who appears in Irish mythology as a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann

Separately, Saint Brigid of Kildare is recognised as one of Ireland's patron saints and foundress of several monasteries of nuns, most notably here in Kildare. Saint Brigid has the same name and festival date as the Celtic goddess, and there are many supernatural events, legends, and folk customs associated with her. Some scholars believe that the ancient festival is thought to have been christianised as the Feast Day of Saint Brigid. Like the saint, Brigid the goddess in Irish mythology is associated with poetry, healing, smith-craft, protection, and generosity to poor people.

The poem, 'Brigid', by Kieran Murray for us is a beautiful tribute to both 

For our Pagan Goddess
The flame it burned bright
As nineteen priestesses
Tended it every night
A different one daily
Fed the hot flame
And then on day twenty
The goddess she came
The goddess of the Welsh
And of the Irish nation
The mistress of wisdom
And fine inspiration
The patroness of smiths
And doctors and poets
She presides over livestock
The cattle and goats
The ruler of the moon
And goddess of the sun
She has the power
To heal everyone
All her holy wells
Help quench our thirst
And her feast day is Imbolc
That’s February the first
She was born with hot flames
Coming out of her hair
A Shrine’s built in her honour
In the town of Kildare
The Pagan God Dagda
He was her Dad
And a half brother Aengus
Also she had
They were the Tuatha De Danann
From the Heavens above
And Aengus was known
As the God of love
She had great magic
So so it did seem
She dried her wet clothes
On a solidified beam
She’d a sacred rowan tree
And four types of beast
And had bread, milk and oats
For every Imbolc feast
And the other St Brigid
Her Christian counterpart
When accused of being wicked
Held a hot coal to her heart
And a long time later
She dropped it in the dirt
And proved herself hold
She was not burned or hurt
She was then proved a saint
Not a demon from Hell
And on that very spot
Today there’s a well
So we honour both Brigids
On their feast day the same
As we craft a reed cross
At Imbolc in their name


This year, Into Kildare are lighting up the Hill of Allen as a beacon of hope as part of the Féile Bríd festival. Find out how to join in virtually with Féile Bríd here.

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