The National Museum of Ireland - Country Life at Turlough Park, Castlebar, is holding a series of events on Saturday week, 28th January, exploring some of the folklore and folk traditions associated with St Brigid.
St Brigid’s Day - Lá Fhéile Bríde - celebrates Ireland’s only female patron saint on February 1st, and most people will be familiar with the popular tradition of making crosses in St Brigid’s honour.
St Brigid’s Day, in centuries gone by, was the festival of fertility and marked the beginning of spring in Ireland. It signalled an end to the darkness of winter and ushered in a new season of hope and growth.
Members of the public are invited to the Museum on Saturday week, for a family craft workshop followed by an afternoon of curator led talks celebrating all things St Brigid.
Visitors can also view a selection of St Brigid’s crosses on temporary display and a large willow sculpture inspired by St Brigid, created by artist Aidan Crotty.
Craftsman and historian Pat Broderick and curator Tiernan Gaffney will be delivering the family craft workshop from 11am to 12noon looking at the tradition of making a Brídeog – a straw effigy of St Brigid. Discover where this tradition comes from and have a go at making your own Brídeog. This is a free workshop but places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Clodagh Doyle, Keeper of the Irish Folklife Division, will be speaking from 1pm to 1.45pm on objects in the Museum’s collection which are associated with St Brigid, including 300 crosses from all over the country, ribbons, Brídeog and Biddy Boy costumes.
Tiernan Gaffney, curator with the Irish Folklife Division, will deliver a talk from 2pm to 2.45pm on ‘St Brigid in Folktales and Folklore’. This talk will examine the origins of St Brigid as both a Celtic Goddess and Christian Saint and her connections with nature, fertility, generosity and protection.
Oein De Bhairduin, Traveller Cultural Collections Development Officer with the National Museum of Ireland, will give a Minceiri/Irish Traveller exploration of St Brigid’s Day customs from 3pm to 4pm. He will look at customs such as the blessing of candles, the graces of the waters and the making of St Brigid’s cords.
For further information on these events, visit www.museum.ie.