St. Brigid’s Cathedral , County Kildare

On your tours of Ireland why not make a stop at St. Brigid’s Cathedral , where ,  towards the end of the 5th century , a holy woman from a subject tribe came to a pagan sanctuary in the middle of Leinster and converted it to Christianity.

Because a great oak-tree grew there , the place became known as Cill Dara (‘ church of the oak ‘). The holy woman herself was given the title which belonged to the priestess of the sanctuary- Brigid , which meant ‘ highest one ‘ – and by the name she is known to posterity. The foundation of St. Brigid was unique in early Ireland in that it contained two monasteries , one for women and one for men.

The earliest remains on the present site , however , belonged to middle ages , and were subject to drastic restoration in the 19th century. Of special interests are the fine effigies within the Cathedral , and in the grounds an old granite high cross and a refashioned round tower almost 110 feet (33 meters) high.

Devotion to St. Brigid – originally the special patroness of Leinster – spread rapidly throughout Ireland and Scotland. She shared her name with a well-known Celtic goddess , and as a result the saint was invested with all the nurturing faculties of such a personage. Her feast day , 1st February , is the beginning of spring and coincides with the ancient festival which was called Oimelg (‘ lactation ‘). She is therefore considered the protectress of calves and lambs in particular , and of agricultural work in general.

Special St. Brigid’s Crosses are woven from rushes and are hung in houses and cow-byres so as to ensure health and good fortune. The design of these varies from region to region – they include crosses with single or multiple lozenge shapes , crosses with unaligned arms, crosses with circles , and more simple three-legged crosses.

Contact us now to organize your visit to St. Brigid’s Cathedral.