Feb 01 St. Brigid’s Day

1st of February and the snowdrops are out on the Castle Hill to celebrate the first day of Spring.

It’s also the feast day of St. Brigid, one of the three patron saints of Ireland (including St Colmcille & St. Patrick)

It is thought that her mother was a slave brought to Ireland from Portugal and Brigid herself worked as a slave girl on her father’s farm until she was 18 years of age.

She was known for her great kindness and had a very special reverence and care for the poor and the sick.

Her father a High King of Leinster was initially against her becoming a Christian, but when she gave away her jewel encrusted sword to a person with leprosy, he finally relented and gave her permission to follow her calling.

She set up monasteries all over Ireland, but her main monastery is in Kildare, a monastery for both men and women, a haven of peace, where the poor were welcomed and cared for and it became a centre known far and wide for the quality of learning it provided and for the wonderful creativity it inspired in both music and art.

St. Brigid is also the patron Saint of Castleknock.

The Church of Ireland and the primary school in the Village are both dedicated to her name.

She was:
• Born in Dundalk 450AD
• Was inspired by the preaching of St. Patrick.
• Is also known as ‘Mary of the Gael’ or ‘Muire na nGael’
• Or ‘Our Lady Of The Irish’

A Brigid’s Cross is often hung over the door of homes in order to give protection against fire and hunger.

Folklore tells us that in the past and indeed in some places today, that on the eve of St. Brigid, people would hang a strip of white cloth ‘Brat Bride’ on a tree close to the house and as the spirit of St. Brigid would pass she would bless the cloth.

The next day, it would be carefully folded up and put away until it was needed to help cure someone from a headache or from aches and pains associated with arthritis.

The cloth would be wrapped around the head or knee etc. and the person guaranteed instant relief.

PS: the cloth would be carefully measured before hanging it on the tree and if it had grown in length overnight, then you would also be blessed with prosperity and health in the year ahead.

St. Brigid’s Psalm:

“Brigid, you were a woman of peace,
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
And may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.”