woman standing in front of a large stone life and legacy of Saint Brigid
Tour guide Brigid Watson pictured on the grounds of Downpatrick Cathedral in Co. down. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

Life and Legacy of Saint Brigid Explored

An immersive tour around Saint Brigid’s Day this year aims to reveal the fascinating life and legacy of Saint Brigid.

a nun holding a staff life and legacy of saint brigid
A portrait of Saint Brigid by Patrick Joseph Tuohy. Photo: Public Domain.

The Legacy of Saint Brigid Tour introduces participants to Ireland’s female patron saint, describing her as an “icon who is revered across the world for her work with the poor and the marginalized.”

Saint Brigid is one of Ireland’s three patron saints, together with St Patrick and St Colmcille, and is honored in Ireland each year on Feb. 1st.

The tour is led by Brigid Watson, a local guide and environmentalist with a passion for Christian heritage in the Downpatrick, County Down area.

a large building with glass life and legacy of saint brigid
The Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, Co. Down, where you can take a variety of new walking tours that follow the steps of Saint Patrick. Photo: Brian Morrison for Tourism Northern Ireland.

It is available Feb. 1-4 at the Saint Patrick’s Centre in Downpatrick, County Down.

The center is the only permanent exhibition in the world dedicated to Saint Patrick, telling his story through several interactive, high-tech, and audio-visual presentations.

The beautiful Down Cathedral. Photo: Tourism Northern Ireland.

It is also close to where the three patron saints are buried at the Church of Ireland Down Cathedral.

The center also houses a display about Brigid and the ancient traditions associated with her, as well as one on the ancient pagan goddess, also known as Brigid or Brid, who is an important figure in Irish mythology.

A portrait of Brigid the Celtic Goddess by artist Courtney Davis. Photo courtesy of Herstory Facebook.

The saint’s feast day has also been linked to the Celtic goddess and the ancient festival of Imbolc, the first of the four major fire festivals from Gaelic Ireland.

A new public holiday in Ireland on the first Monday in February (this year, it falls on Feb.8th) marks both Saint Brigid’s Day and Imbolc.

What to Expect on the Tour

Participants on the Legacy of Saint Brigid Tour will get the chance to make Saint Brigid’s crosses from rushes, an ancient tradition that is still practised today in the run-up to the holiday.

Following the activity, participants will take a short walk to visit the grave of the three saints.

Visitors on a tour of St. Patrick's Way, the camino walk in County Armagh. Photo: © 2022 Rob Durston, All Rights Reserved for Tourism Northern Ireland.

The town of Downpatrick, where you can also find St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, is an important ecclesiastic center on the island of Ireland and is the end point of Saint Patrick’s Way: The Pilgrim Walk, which stretches for 130 km/80 miles and includes 10 locations that were important in the life of Patrick.

The Importance of Brigid in 2024

This year marks 1,500 years since the death of Brigid, which is being marked by the Brigid 1500 festival which takes place in several locations in County Kildare through Feb. 6.

Photo: Failte Ireland.

The festival includes an extensive line-up of events that celebrate Saint Brigid in a contemporary way while still highlighting her life and legacy.

Tickets for the legacy tour are £35 each.


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