Reviving old traditions of St. Brigit in Nenagh

People from Tipperary, Limerick, Cork and Galway, came together on Sunday last in Nenagh Arts Centre to celebrate St. Brigit on the eve of her Feast day, Lá Fhéile Brid, on 1st February.  Following a talk on St. Brigit and her folklore tradition, by Kate Walsh, those attending had the opportunity to make their own St. Brigit’s cross under the guidance of local artist Hanna Van Aelst. There was also an opportunity to make the more unusual ‘Byre Cross’, traditionally placed in cattle sheds with the assistance of local craft woman, Claire Brennan.
Reviving old traditions of St. Brigit in Nenagh

Local Artist Hanna Van Aelst passing on the art of Bridgit Cross making

Brat Bhridé

Along with the making of crosses, the Brat Bhridé is another tradition, once widespread in Ireland.  Those attending the celebration of Brigit, were given a Brat Brid to take home with them.  Folklore tells us that on the night before St. Brigit’s Day, people left pieces of cloth outside their houses – on the threshold, tied to the door latch, on the windowsill or in the hedges. It was believed that these were blessed by St. Brigit as she moved from house to house during the night. The next morning they were brought in and carefully put away for use as a cloth for healing during the year. This ‘portable relic’ was used particularly for easing headaches, and sore throats. Midwives also carried them, as it was believed they helped with the pain of childbirth. Many who attended the event said they hoped that this old tradition would be revived.
The afternoon was closed with a prayer to Brigit, read by Breda Flannery. Tipperary Green Election Candidate Gearóid Fitzgibbon also attended. He complimented the organisers of the event and said his own interest in environmentalism was influenced by an event he attended on renewable energy organised by the Brigidine Order in Tullow Co. Carlow.

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