St Brigid’s Day is a public holiday. Hon the women. And hon the Brigids, Brigits, Bridgets, Bríds and Bridies.
Brigid is one of our three patron saints, along with the Patrick and Colmcille. Last year was the first bank holiday dedicated to her, and this year it falls on February 5th, because February 1st is a Thursday.
Lá Fhéile Bríde, or Imbolc, on February 1st has long heralded renewal and the traditional start of spring in Ireland.
From Louth and based in Kildare, St Brigid was headstrong and holy, accomplished and multitalented. She was born around AD 450, and had a long, productive and eventful life. This year marks the 1,500th anniversary of her death, so its only fitting we get a day off work.
She set up monasteries around Ireland, of which Kildare was one of the largest, with a hospital, scriptorium and farm. As Abbess of Kildare she managed monastery farms and thousands of nuns. She was an ordained bishop. She was a master brewer of ale. The early Christian saint is seen as an early feminist, and has long been inspirational.
From Thursday and into the long weekend all around the country, plenty of events are lined up to celebrate Brigid and Imbolc. Check locally to see what is on. Here are just some of the things you may find interesting.
Stand Strong by Women’s Aid: Supported by Allianz, this St Brigid’s Day people are invited to pause and stand strong in the yoga warrior pose in solidarity with women experiencing domestic abuse, to raise awareness and funds for women subjected to abuse across Ireland so that they may get the support they need. People can click the sign-up button to register and create their own personal or group funding page which they can then share. February 1st. standstrong.ie
Imbolc, Celtic Mindfulness Retreat Day, Navan Fort Visitors Centre: Relaxed meditation focused on the connection with oneself and the place, through personal and emotional connections run by Judith Greene. Incorporates a balance between mindful wellbeing practices and taps into Celtic wisdom and mythology of the festival and a sense of place with Navan Fort, following the journey of the roots of Imbolc through Brigid. Karen Smyth will incorporate mind and body skills facilitation, weaving in cultural elements through a range of self care, meditative and mindfulness practices, alongside St Brigid’s cross-making. February 3rd. visitarmagh.com
Day Retreat – Imbolc, Spring Awakening Honouring Brigid Through Yoga and Nature: A retreat to gently guide people to connect mind, matter and breath using Brigid’s wisdom and powers of healing to guide awakening to the rhythm and patterns of spring. February 5th. lisnavagh.comlisnavagh.com/retreats
Brigid’s Day Retreat – Tending your inner Flame: A day spent exploring Brigid’s symbolism and heritage in creative writing, Brigid cross-weaving and brooch-making, felting and more. Weather permitting, there will be a field trip to a local Brigid site, Old St Brigid’s Chapel Killinagh, its holy well and cursing/blessing stones, with morning and afternoon sessions. Market House Blacklion, February 3rd. cuilcaghlakelands.org
Herstory Light Show: In partnership with Clare County Council and Creative Ireland, a Herstory Light Show will tour the west coast revealing specially commissioned photographic art by Myriam Riand and Áine O’Brien; a new song by acclaimed local singer-songwriter Susan Quirke and producer Enda Gallery; and a spotlight on the award-winning Clare-based film-makers Dearbhla Glynn. February 3rd.herstory.ie
Events at Crawford Art Gallery: The gallery is offering a programme of special events over the bank holiday, featuring specially-themed tours through both English and Irish, music and family-friendly workshops. February 1st to 5th.crawfordartgallery.ie
IMBOLC International Music Festival: A first-class music and cultural experience, celebrating tradition in all its many forms including the rich diversity of folk acts from grassroots to cutting edge with an inclusive music community embracing variety. Featuring music, film, theatre, workshops, words and ideas, visual arts, dance and the Brigid 1500 Concert on February 1st including Megan Nic Ruairí and Inni-K in a celebration of the creative contribution of women to arts, culture and creativity. January 28th to February 4th.imbolcfestival.com
Féile na mBan: A weekend dedicated to showcasing women from all walks of life, with some women-specific events but plenty for the whole family to enjoy. Line-up consists of boot camps, a craft market, performances, talks, art receptions and workshops among other things, with others to be announced. Bundoran, Co Donegal, February 2nd-6th. feilenamban.com
Dublin – Chester Beatty, Dublin Castle
Silk Worm Families: St Brigid’s Magic Cloak: A free workshop for children aged 6-11 and their parents or guardians inspired by the legend of St Brigid, who, it is said, acquired land by spreading her magic cloak over it. Participants will make their own magic capes, taking inspiration from mandalas and the Hindu painting of the universe. January 27th.chesterbeatty.ie
The Fumbally, Dublin 8
Throw Down your Cloak, A Celebration show of Goddess Brigid & Creativity: Breda Larkin, comedian, brings a stand-up show that is a thought-provoking exploration of her life through the triple lenses of sexuality, religion and facial hair. Hosted by burlesque chanteuse Miss Lavelle and featuring Dublin’s own Dee Mulrooney, and cabaret duo The Wild Geeze, this is a celebration of women in the arts and the goddess of creativity, Brigid. February 1st. eventbrite.ie
Brigit: Dublin City Celebrating Women: The third year of citywide celebrations for Imbolc and the Celtic goddess, aiming to shine a light on Brigit’s lasting legacy and the way in which contemporary women embody her spirit, with more than 60 thematic events across the city. A parade on February 5th will start at Wolfe Tone Square with a mix of walkers, roller skaters and performers going through Henry Street and finishing at the GPO on O’Connell Street. February 1st to February 5th.dublin.ie/whats-on/brigit/
Dublin Library events: DLR libraries across Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown are running St Brigid’s cross-making workshops for families, children, adults and schools. Adult sessions incorporate more elaborate designs sure to challenge more seasoned crafters. In DLR Lexicon at the Studio Theatre on February 1st, local active retirement groups are invited to celebrate Imbolc/St Brigid’s Day with traditional Irish music, dance and crafts followed by a cup of tea and chat. January 25th to February 1st.libraries.dlrcoco.ie/
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
Ireland, Feminism, Art – A GATHERING: The Irish Museum of Modern Art is partnering with Feminist Art Making Histories to present this talk where national and international guests come together to discuss feminist art-making histories, with a special focus on the pioneering work and art historical legacy of the Women Artists Action Group (Waag), 1987-1991. Including keynote talks, discussions, special conversations and a gathering with Waag members. February 1st.imma.ie/
Inchicore, Dublin 8
St Brigid’s Day Fair – Richmond Barracks: Celebrating all things Brigid and Brigit, particularly the impact of women in business, products that empower women and girls and supporting enterprises with a strong focus on women. Features workshops, entertainment, food, art, clothing, crafts and design, with gifts available to buy. February 3rd to February 4th.richmondbarracks.ie/
National Botanic Gardens, Dublin
Guided Tour: Féile Bhríde – History, Mystery and Magic: Discover the many and varied tales associated with Brigid in Ireland, her links with the ancient festival of Imbolc, and spot signs of spring emerging in the gardens. February 1st.botanicgardens.ie/
Brigit’s Garden – Lá Fhéile Bríde: A daylong celebration of the goddess and saint, and the festival of Imbolc through a rich weaving of stories, reflection, ritual and creativity. Offered by Carol Barrett, nature educator, folklorist, crafter and forager; Jenny Beale, founder and director of Brigit’s Garden; and Caroline McFadden, fire-keeper, singer and artist.
Also hosting a free Brigit’s cross-making workshop for local people of all ages on February 4th.brigitsgarden.ie
Recovery Haven Kerry Designer Fashion Showcase at the Gleneagle INEC Arena: The fashion highlight of the year in Kerry is taking place on St Brigid’s Day in 2024, and is particularly poignant for those involved, with the show set to incorporate the saint and mark the 1500th anniversary of her death. Mary Kennedy is MC and some of Ireland’s top designers will featureon February 1st.recoveryhavenkerry.com/
Brigid 1500: A comprehensive programme aimed at celebrating and commemorating the life and legacy of the saint, with its main objective being to create a meaningful cultural and societal legacy that resonates with a diverse, contemporary audience. Featuring exhibitions, workshops for children, food symposia, a launch of the Book of Kildare, concerts, film screenings, and a Herstory Light Show with entertainment across Co Kildare. Featuring Una Healy, Denise Chaila, Imelda May, Darina Allen, Jess Murphy, Laura Whitmore and Riverdance. From January 27th.brigid1500.ie/
St Brigid, Spring Awakening Music and Arts Festival: Diverse musicians, artists and performers gather to create a distinctive experience, embracing the spirit of inspiration, renewal and creativity as music and art blend in harmony with the awakening of the year ahead. Featuring performances from Conchúr White, Aoife Nessa Frances, Niamh Regan, Clara Tracey and Paul Noonan with literature and theatre announcements coming soon. February 2nd-February 4th.stbrigidsfestival.ie/
Bríd Faoin Spéir, Market Square, Portarlington: Celebrating female empowerment, this is the first in a series of five free public arts events taking place countrywide to promote the arts and encourage more arts-based outdoor performances. Includes appearances from leading poets Ann Egan, Laura Murphy and Enda Wyley, writing workshops and eco-friendly creative workshops and craft-making demonstrations, alongside music from female-led musicians and culminating in a fire performance by Broken Theatre on February 1st. roscommoncoco.ie
Willow Basket Weaving, Leitrim School of Art Ballinamore: Sunday workshops in Ballinamore with award-winning Kate Burrows of Westcountry Willows leading you through the process of creating your very own willow basket that you can treasure for a lifetime, taking place over the bank holiday weekend. February 4th.leitrimartschool.ie
Imbolc Goddess Circle with Bloom Holistics, Lough Gur Visitor Centre: Attendees are invited to sit in a sacred circle on a sacred landscape to honour the moment of Imbolc and Brigid and align their energy for the season ahead. Involves grounding meditation, fire rituals, Imbolc herbal tea ritual, energy healing and more on February 3rd.www.loughgur.com
Brigid of Faughart: A celebration of Brigid as goddess, Celtic Christian saint and wise woman of the 21st century, with storytelling, music, workshops, talks, walks, and tours dedicated to the saint in Co Louth. Dundalk and Faughart, from January 31st to February 5th.www.brigidoffaughart.ie
National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park: A variety of events and activities. Drop in to make your own St Brigid’s cross and take a free guided tour with a focus on St Brigid customs and traditions. Visitors can also view a selection of St Brigid’s crosses from the Irish Folklife Collection that will be on temporary display to mark the feast day and holiday, and a willow sculpture of St Brigid that was crafted on the grounds of the museum last year. museum.ie
Women’s Circle, Flynnstone Rocks Retreat, Trim: A monthly gathering to share, express and reflect, focusing on a specific chakra. A creative expression through art, movement and sound on January 27th. eventbrite.ie
Brigid’s Awakening Festival, The National Famine Museum, Strokestown Park: A small St Brigid’s weekend celebration, with Cathy Jordan as headliner on February 4th, and one of the largest St Brigid’s crosses in Ireland being installed in Tarmonbarry, plus some heritage events in Rathcroghan Visitor Centre, Tulsk. strokestownpark.ie
Hamilton Gallery: This gallery is hosting an exhibition of new works by artist Yoko Akino, who designed the new stamp for the Irish Postal Service commemorating St Brigid on her 1500th anniversary. The gallery has also invited five women artists to create responses to Lá Fhéile Bríde and Imbolc in reed and willow weaving.hamiltongallery.ie
Brigid Fest 2024: A celebration in Nenagh of the saint, with St Brigid’s cross making, screen printing, knitting and pilates organised throughout the day to celebrate Brigid, the Celtic goddess of crafts, learning and fertility on February 1st.nenagharts.com
Johnstown Castle: A day with storyteller, forager and food folklorist Lorraine O’Dwyer of Galivanting Tours. O’Dwyer will take visitors on a stroll through the gardens to gather reeds and share tales of the goddess Brigid and her ancient stories. Also includes meditation and exploration of the crafting of a symbol dating back to Neolithic times on February 1st.johnstowncastle.ie
Kilranelagh Brigid Guided Walking Tour Special: A 2½-hour walking tour featuring St Brigid’s well, headstone and chair, where attendees can hear about the history and engaging legends associated with Kilranelagh Hill, and explore their forgotten past. Every Friday.tirnaglass.com