This brídóg, a simple rush effigy of St. Brigid, was made by Nellie Fortune in Wexford. The making of crosses and brídógs is a tradition now making a comeback since we have given Bridget a new status as our patron saint.
St. Brigid window in St. Brigid’s Parish Church in Kildare Town.
According to tradition Saint Brigid was born in Faughart, Co Louth, where there is a shrine and another holy well dedicated to her. The Saint found a convent in Kildare in 470 that has now grown into a cathedral city. There are the remains of a small oratory known as Saint Brigid’s fire temple, where a small eternal flame was kept alight for centuries in remembrance of her. She is one of Ireland’s patron Saints and known as Mother of the Gael. She is said to be buried along with St Colm Cille and St Patrick in Downpatrick. Throughout Ireland there are many wells dedicated to St Brigid. A visit is strongly recommended, a very peaceful and sacred place long before Christianity came to Ireland.
This lovely one from 1985 popped up on Facebook
Signs of Spring
The first of the babies on Pat Breen’s farm in Kilbrin. Her cute pink jacket keeps her warm and helps a breast cancer charity at the same time.
St. Bridget was traditionally seen as a protector of cows and dairy animals. St Brigid’s crosses were often placed over the byre door or among the rafters in the cowshed in the belief that Bridget would protect the animals as she passed over at Imbolg.
A Really Old Poem
Stephen Rynne sent us this one.
Hi Mary, I think you like the odd poem. Here’s one for you – written in 1861 by Samuel Feguson called ‘The Cromlech on Howth’. It’s known because of the book it was published in was adorned in celtic art by a lady called Margaret Stokes (who was only allowed put a monogram as her credit and not her name) and is one of the most important works of celtic art of the late 1800s. Anyways , here’s the poem.
The Cromlech on Howth by Samuel Ferguson
They heaved the stone; they heaped the cairn;
Said Ossian, In a queenly grave
We leave her’,mong her fields of fern,
Between the cliff and wave.
The cliff behind stands clear and bare,
And bare above, the heathery sheep,
Scales the blue heaven’s expanse to where
The Danaan druids sleep.
And all the sands that, left and right,
The grassy isthmus ridge confine,
In yellow bars lie bare and bright
Among the sparkling brine.
A clear pure air pervades the scene,
In loneliness and awe secure;
Meet spot to sepulchre a queen
Who in her life was pure.
Here far from camp and chase removed,
Apart in natures quiet room,
The music that alive she loved
Shall cheer her in the tomb.
The humming of the noontide bees,
The lark’s loud carol all day long,
And borne on evenings salted breeze,
The clanking seabirds song.
Shall round her airy chamber float,
And with the whispering winds and streams,
Attune to nature’s tenderest note
The tenor of her dreams.
And oft at tranquil eve’s decline
When full tides lip the Old Green Plain,
The lowing of Maynalty’s kine,
Shall round her breath again,
In sweet remembrance of the days
When, duteous in the lowly vale
Unconscious of my Oscar’s gaze,
She filled the fragrant pail.
And duteons from the running brook
Drew water for the bath, nor deemed
A king did on her labour look,
And she a fairy seemed.
But when the wintery frosts begin,
And, in their longdrawn lofty flight,
The wild geese with their airy din
Distend the ear of night;
And when the weird De Danaan ghosts
At midnight from their peak come down,
And all around the enchanted coasts
Desparing strangers drown;
When mingling with the wreckful wail
From low Clontarf’s wave-trampled floor,
Comes booming up the burthened gale,
The angry sandbull’s roar;
Orangrier than the sea, the shout
Of Erin’s hosts in wrath combined,
When terror heads opression’s rout
And freedom cheers behind :
Then, o’er our lady’s placid dream
When safe from storms she sleeps, may steal
Such joy as will not misbeseem
A Queen of men to feel :
Such thrill of free, defiant pride
As rapt her in her battle car
At Gavra’, when, by Oscar’s side,
She rode the ridge of war,
Exulting, down the shouting troops
And through the thick confronting kings,
With hands on all their javelin loops
And shafts on all their strings;
Eire closed the inseparable crowds,
No more to part for me, and show
As bursts the sun through hurrying clouds
My Oscar issuing so.
No more dispelling battles gloom
Shall son for me from flight return;
The great green rath’s ten-acred tomb,
Lies heavy on his urn,
A cup of bodkin-pencilled clay,
Holds Oscar; mighty heart and limb
One handful now of ashes grey;
And she has died for him.
And here hard by her natal bower
On lone Ben Eidars side we strive
With lifted rock and sign of power,
To keep her name alive.
That while from circling year to year
The Ogham-lettered stone is seen,
The Gael shall say Our Fenians here
Entombed their loved Aideen.
Her Ogham from her pillar-stone
In tract of time shall wear away;
Her name, at last, be only known
In Ossian’s echoed lay.
The long-forgotten lay I sing
May only ages hence revive,
As eagles with a wounded wing
To soar again might strive,
Imperfect, in an alien speech,
When, wandering here, some child of chance
Through pangs of keen delight shall reach
The gift of utterance,
To speak the air, the sky to speak,
The freshness of the hill to tell;
Who roaming bare Ben Eidar’s peak
And Aideen’s briary dell,
And gazing on the Cromlech vast,
And on the mountain sea,
Shall watch communion with the past,
And mix himself with me.
Child of the future’s doubtful night,
Whate’er your speech, whole’er your sires,
Sing while you may with frank delight
The song your hour inspires.
Sing while you may, nor grieve to know
The song you sing shall also die;
Atharna’s lay has perished so,
Though once it thrilled the sky
Above us, from his rocky chair,
There, where, Ben Eidar’s landward crest
Oer Eastern Bregia bends, to where
Dun Almon crowns the west;
And all that felt the fretted air
Throughout the song-distempered clime,
Did droop, till suppliant Leinster’s prayer
Appeased the vengeful rhyme.
Ah me, or e’er the hour arrive
Shall big my long-forgotten tones
Unknown one, on your lips revive
Here, by these moss-grown stones,
What chance shall o’er the scene have crossed,
What conquering Lords anew have come,
What lore-armed mightier Druid host
From Gaul or distant Rome.
What arts of death, what ways of life
What creeds unknown to bard or seer
Shall round your careless steps be rife
Who stand and ponder here;
Or, by you prostrate altar stone
Belike, shall kneel, and, free from blame,
Hear holy men with rites unknown
New names of God proclaim.
Let change as may the name of awe,
Let rite surcease and altar fall,
The same one God remains, a law
For ever, and for all.
Let change as may the face of earth,
Let alter all the social frame,
For mortal men the ways of birth
And death are still the same.
And still, as life and time wear on,
The children of waning days,
Through strength be from their shoulders gone
To lift the loads we raise,
Shall weep to do the burial rites
Of lost ones loved , and fondly, found
In shadow of the gathering nights,
The monumental mound.
Farewell; the strength of men is worn,
The night approaches dark and chill,
Sleep, till perchance an endless morn
Descend the glittering hill.
Of Oscar and Aideen bereft,
So Ossian sang. The Fenians sped
Three mighty shouts to heaven: and left
Ben Edar to the dead.
Phasmophobia is the fear of ghosts.