Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saint Bridgid's day: music & legend

Fire, poetry, healing wells, and highlands -- that’s a good group of things to be involved with. Saint Bridgid of Ireland, whose feast we celebrate on 1 and 2 February, is said to have influence over all of those. Many stories which have grown up around the biography of the fifth century saint are likely later additions, and it's likely that attributes of the pagan goddess Brigid have been added to the saint’s reputation. She is, whatever you think about all that, a figure of power and source of solace through Irish history, and a woman who was known for both her common sense and her holiness during her lifetime. Her feast day is also marked as the day to start looking for the first stirrings of spring in Ireland, which considering the nature of Irish weather, is often more in promise than in fact.

She is known as Bridgid of Kildare, for the most prominent abbey she founded there. Bridgid was born, though, in Louth, a place where the landscape lends itself to legend and mystery. There are schools, churches, pipe bands, football teams, and children named in her honor from Australia to Alberta. Next time you visit the National Museum of History in Dublin, you might keep an eye out for the pair of Bridgid’s shoes they have there.

Gabhaim Molta Brighde is a hymn of thanks to the saint which has come down through the centuries. You may check out a bit of my favorite recording of it here Gabhaim Molta Brighde

in honor of Saint Bridgid’s feast, I invite you to take a look at the work of these musicians

Mary Black: 25 years 25 songs

Another Fine Winter's Night: Matt & Shannon Heaton

Cathie Ryan: Songwriter

reflections with Maura O'Connell

Dual: Julie Fowlis & Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh

Liz Carroll & John Doyle: Double Play

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Blogger Cindy said...

Thanks for this post...St.Brigid is very special to us here at the Wren's Nest. We place our "Brigid's Mantel" (a linen cloth) on the rosemary bushes on the eve of her feast day, in hopes that she will touch the mantel as she passes in the night, leading her gentle red-eared white cow, and bless our household once more. I've been singing her hymn all day!
God bless,


11:03 PM  

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