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St. Brigid's Cathedral in Kildare. The cathedral is on the site of the monastery founded by Saint Brigid. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

Saint Brigid (Bridget): The Places in Ireland that Honor Her

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While St. Patrick’s Day is known the world over as March 17th, a day that is dedicated to Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick, little fanfare is given to Ireland’s patron saint, Brigid.

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Otherwise known as Saint Brigid of Kildare, this early Irish Christian nun is celebrated in Ireland each year on Feb. 1, which marks her feast day.

February 1st is also the beginning of spring in Ireland, a day that is associated with the pagan festival known as Imbolc, a popular event in pre-Christian Ireland that worshipped the Celtic pagan Goddess of Fire known as Brigid.

When the day became known as St. Brigid’s Day, people in towns and villages across Ireland would make St. Brigid’s crosses that were woven from rushes.

Doll-like figures were also created and were brought from house to house by girls.

A portrait of Saint Brigid by Patrick Joseph Tuohy. Photo: Public Domain.

St. Brigid, who is believed to have been born in 451 AD in Dundalk, Co. Louth, to a Christian slave baptized by St. Patrick and a father who was both a pagan and a wealthy chieftain in Leinster was truly revered in Old Ireland.

Most Irish people over the centuries believed that by worshipping her their homes and livestock could be protected. Special feasts were made and holy wells visited.

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Honoring Brigid in Modern-Day Ireland

Devotion to Saint Brigid is alive and well in Ireland.

An initiative called HerStory is a national campaign that aims to make St. Brigid’s Day a national holiday.

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

To kick off the celebrations this year, a number of events have been planned beginning in Galway on Jan. 27th with a HerStory Light Show.

The St. Nicholas Church in the heart of Galway. Photo: Stephen Duffy, Failte Ireland/Tourism Ireland.

Several iconic landmarks in the city will be illuminated, including Lynch’s Castle, the St. Nicholas Church, Galway City Museum, and the Pálás Cinema.

This year's Festival of Light will also be showcased in other areas around Ireland.

Artists from around Ireland and globally were invited to be part of the illuminating displays as a way of honoring the goddess and saint.

Photo: HerStory Facebook, courtesy of

Other HerStory events will take place on Saturday, Jan. 28th at the National Famine Museum at Strokestown House in County Roscommon.

The event is part of Roscommon’s new Brigid’s Awakening Festival set to take place between Jan. 28th and Feb. 5th.

Information on other events can be found at the HerStory blog.

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Tourist Attractions Honoring Saint Brigid

County Kildare is most closely associated with Saint Brigid.

A statue of St. Brigidin Kildare town. Photo: Gareth Wray Photography for Tourism Ireland.

It is where she founded a monastery for both men and women.

As a result, it became an important center of religion and learning, in addition to being a place where metalwork and illumination were taught.

Apparently, an illuminated manuscript was created at the monastery. More than likely, it was similar to the Book of Kells, but we will never know since it has been lost for centuries.

Saint Brigid’s Trail in Kildare traces the history of this pious woman, who was known for giving to the poor.

a map Saint Brigid
A map showing places of interest on the St. Brigid's Trail in Kildare. Image courtesy of Into Kildare.

The trail, which takes about two hours to complete, starts at the Kildare Heritage Center (once an 18th-century market house), where you can watch a film about Brigid’s connection to the town.

It continues to St. Brigid’s Cathedral (built on the site of the monastery). The west windows of the nave show Saint Brigid helping the poor and making her religious vows.

a church 5 inspirational Irish women
St. Brigid's Cathedral in Kildare. The cathedral is on the site of the monastery founded by Saint Brigid. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

Behind the cathedral is a round tower built in the 12th century and to its north are the restored foundations of an ancient fire temple.

In pre-Christian times priestesses are believed to have held a perpetual fire to the goddess Brigid.

The local Saint Brigid nuns carried on the tradition until two bishops tried to have it extinguished. It was eventually put out during the Reformation and only lit again in 1993.

a sign with flowers in front of it and a church in the background Saint Brigid
Saint Brigid's Church in Kildare. Photo: Gail Connaughton for Failte Ireland.

The trail continues south toward St. Brigid’s Parish Church, which was opened by Daniel O’Connell in 1833.

The main church doors contain six bronze panels each bearing a Saint Brigid cross.

At the altar, eight stones were cut to form another Brigid’s cross. There are many more tributes to the saint in this beautiful church, including an interior shrine.

Also included in the trail is the Solas Bhride Centre and the ancient St. Brigid’s Well, where you’ll see a statue of Brigid with a bishop’s staff in her hand, lending to the belief that some think she may have risen to the rank of bishop while in charge of the Kildare monastery.

Other Places in Ireland that Venerate Saint Brigid

Since Brigid was born in County Louth, so it’s no surprise that she is remembered there.

Located about 15 minutes from Dundalk, you will find a shrine and a well in her honor.

The shrine has stones that are said to heal head, back, and knee ailments, and another stone that is always wet is said to bless the eyes.

Legend says that Brigid drew water from this well, hence its popularity among people who seek solace and healing.

a shrine Saint Brigid
Saint Brigid's Holy Well in Liscannor, Co. Clare. Photo: Maria Ryan Donnelly, Failte Ireland.

A well in Liscannor in Co. Clare is also dedicated to Saint Brigid. It is one of the oldest wells in the country rumored to have healing powers.

Other holy wells and shrines exist in Counties Cavan, Donegal, and Westmeath.

Brigit’s Garden in County Galway also pays homage to Ireland’s female patron saint. The garden evokes images of Celtic heritage and mythology and is well worth a visit.

people standing around large stones in a circle Saint Brigid
Brigit's Garden in Co. Galway. Photo: Max Media for Tourism Ireland.

The award-winning gardens are known as one of the most spectacular in Ireland containing 11 acres of native woodland and wildflower meadows.

There’s also a nature trail there, as well an ancient ring fort, otherwise known in Ireland as a fairy fort, a thatched roundhouse and crannog, and a calendar sundial, the largest in the country.

Do the legends of Saint Brigid resonate with you? Are you named after the saint or perhaps a relative is? Let me know in the comments below.


Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Michael Lehane

    St.Brigid has great meaning for me. She appeared to me in a dream when I was a child. Since I’ve grown up, my life has brought me back to her. She has so touched my life. When I was at a low point in my life and suffering, I knew she was there holding my hand. She is a great soul–a bringer of light to those who seek it.

    1. colette

      How wonderful, Michael. Glad to hear she has a special meaning for you.

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