Kelly Taylor has posted online a 55 page student paper called The Cult of Brighde in Ireland. I will confess I have only so far glanced at it. Shocking number of spelling mistakes and typos, and some awkward turns of phrase in the sections I've looked at, which doesn't bode entirely well. Still, she seems to have done her homework, and has covered a lot of interesting terrain, so I will give it a go eventually. In the meantime, here are a couple of short excerpts:
The Cult of Brighde in Ireland
By Kelly B. Taylor
The modern usage of the word "cult" has taken on a negative, obsessive, almost demonic connotation. This is not what I am referring to by the "cult" of St. Brigid. Rather, I refer to more of the religion-within-a-religion that is the rites, beliefs and history behind the practice of the veneration or worship of the Irish Catholic Saint, Brigid of Kildare. It is not an aberrant part of the society, nor are there secret doctrines that specifically go against the teachings of the Catholic Church. But the full complexity of the role of St. Brigid in the Irish Church is so vast, I believe it could be maintained as a religion in its own right...
It is my goal to fully convince the reader that there has been a continuous practice of the worship of the Celtic goddess Brighde from pre-Christian era of the first and second centuries, through to today. I will explain how this was made possible by the form of Celtic Monasticism in Ireland, the acceptance of the cult of the saint in Roman Catholicism, and the ever-present need for a mother-figure, a healer, an artisan of words and metal and a fertility goddess in agricultural Ireland... (pg 3)