Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has to say about Brigit

St Brigit in Melbourne, Australia
Brigit [St Brigit, Brigid] (439/452–524/526), patron saint of Kildare, is the only native Irish saint to enjoy a widespread cult in all the Celtic countries. About the events of her life little can be said, since the earliest sources come from more than a century after her supposed death, on 1 February in either 524 or 526, and were in any case interested in miracle stories rather than biographical detail. Her early cult is, however, among the most influential and the most interesting of any saint in Ireland or Britain.
The cult and lives
The early texts in Brigit's hagiographical ‘dossier’—ranging from the seventh to the early ninth century—contain different perceptions of her natural clientele. At one end of the spectrum, she was a pan-Irish saint, enjoying local support in all the provinces of the island; at the other end, she was the saint of her own people, the Fothairt, settled mainly in Leinster but with outposts elsewhere. The Fothairt were never, in the historical period, a leading power even in Leinster, let alone anywhere else; indeed, their particular pride was that Brigit belonged to them. Even within Leinster different texts emphasized different themes: the life by Cogitosus (c.675) was written by a champion of her principal church, Kildare; there, so the life claimed, she lay enshrined, alongside her episcopal helper, Bishop Conlaíd [Conláed, Condlaed] (d. 518/520). On the other hand, the Vita prima, which powerful arguments would date earlier than Cogitosus, is more interested in Brigit's relationship with the people of her father, Dubthach, the branches of the Fothairt settled on the north-western frontier of Leinster. The same is true of the ninth-century vernacular life, Bethu Brigte, which is related to, but not dependent on, the Vita prima; both probably drew on a lost life of the mid-seventh century. These local affiliations were to be enduring: Brigit has remained to this day the patron saint of Kildare, but her cult has continued to be vigorous around Croghan Hill in Offaly, which is mentioned in Bethu Brigte and was close to the home of her father.

One of the most interesting aspects of the hagiography of Brigit is, therefore, its variety, rooted in particular places and enjoying different audiences. Cogitosus's life was addressed initially to the bishop and other educated clerics within the double monastery of Kildare and then to their equivalents in the other major churches; to meet the expectations of such a readership it had to be, and is, a polished piece of writing; Read More...
the Vita prima probably envisaged a wider readership and was appropriately written in a simpler style reminiscent of the gospels. Again, Cogitosus's life includes a startling claim to archiepiscopal status for Kildare, thus challenging the other major churches of Ireland; theVita prima avoids the controversies of high ecclesiastical politics.

For Cogitosus, therefore, Conlaíd was important as the first archbishop; a different aspect of his character is
implied by the genealogies of the saints, according to which he was ‘Conláed the devout, son of Cormac’, and belonged to the Dál Messin Corp (Ó Riain, §252). ‘Devout’ (cráibdech) is a term bestowed on persons of acknowledged sanctity; the Dál Messin Corp, in the days of the genealogists, was a second-ranking political force around the modern town of Wicklow, although in Conlaíd's time they had been one of the leading powers of Leinster. Conlaíd was also remembered in the genealogies of the saints as Brigit's craftsman, cerd. An element of conscious stylization is implicit in the statement that there were ‘three chief craftsmen of Ireland, namely Tassach for Patrick and Conláed for Brigit and Daig for Ciarán, and these three were bishops’ (Ó Riain, §82.1).

One possible source of Brigit's status as one of the three principal saints of Ireland (together with Patrick and Columba) 
is that she may have supplanted a pre-Christian goddess, also known as Brigit. ‘Cormac's glossary’ (Sanas Cormaic, composed c.900) has an entry on the name Brigit according to which it stood for ‘a female poet, the daughter of the Dagda’, and as ‘a goddess whom the poets used to worship’ (Sanas Cormaic, ed. Meyer, no. 150). It then mentions two other Brigits, sisters of the first, who were attached to other crafts, of the doctor and the smith, all being daughters of the Dagda, the ‘Good God’. The Christian nun may have taken over some of the characteristics and some of the cult sites of her predecessor; Kildare may have been one such site. It may be significant that when her father sold his slave woman, Broicsech, who was then carrying Brigit in her womb, Broicsech went first to a poet and then to a druid; moreover, when her father wanted to marry Brigit to a suitor, the person envisaged was another Dubthach, Dubthach maccu Lugair, who was, in hagiography, the representative of the poets. Her feast day, 1 February, coincides with the pre-Christian festival of Imbolc, marking the beginning of spring. It has been thought, therefore, that Brigit, the Christian nun, a ‘second Mary’ as she is described in the early, probably seventh-century, poem Huait a meic hui Moguirni (‘By you, O Moccu Moguirni’), might be nothing more than the pre-Christian goddess of poets thinly disguised as a Christian saint.

Leabhar Breac: Speckled Book
Yet there are good reasons for distinguishing between the two and thus for attributing an independent reality to the Christian saint. First, the nun had a notably undistinguished family background. True, her father, Dubthach, was described as a nobleman in the early lives; and Cogitosus allows his readers to think that her mother, Broicsech, was also of noble birth. The
 Vita prima, however, and Bethu Brigte declare outright that Broicsech was a slave and conceived Brigit as a result of adulterous intercourse with her master. This is crucial, since, as the child of a slave woman, Brigit herself was born into servile status, although she, and then her mother, were soon to be freed. Second, it seems unlikely that, if a goddess should have been transformed into a nun, she would have been attributed to the Fothairt rather than to a more powerful people. In Wales, moreover, there was a clear distinction between the name of the goddess (preserved in the river name Braint) and that of the saint, namely Braid, as in the place name Llansanffraid (‘the church of St Brigit’). Braid was an early medieval borrowing from Irish, showing that the saint's cult was Irish in origin, while the cult of the goddess was pan-Celtic and thus native within Wales.
Place among Irish saints
In their hagiography the three principal saints of Ireland had, as befitted their diverse origins, markedly different personae. Columba, the saint of royal blood, was identified from the start with his kindred, the Uí Néill, the leading royal dynasty of Ireland; their position of eminence had recently been gained by violent conquest. It was easier for his influence and later his cult to transcend his kindred in Britain rather than in his native Ireland. Patrick was the outsider, the British missionary, who could be made into the voice of Christianity in judgment upon kings. Because he acquired this authority, he—and thus his principal church, Armagh—was soon embroiled in dynastic politics. Brigit, however, stood apart from kings, not just because she was a woman, but because as a former slave girl, she could speak for those who suffered at the hands of the powerful. The most direct comparison is between the hagiographies of Patrick and Brigit, partly because the texts themselves may have influenced each other in the seventh century, partly because they brought Patrick and Brigit into a direct personal relationship. At least one major ecclesiastical figure of the mid-seventh century, Ultán of Ardbraccan, Meath, appears to have been interested in the hagiography of Brigit as well as of Patrick; according to the Middle Irish saints' genealogies, Brigit's mother, Broicsech, belonged to his people, Dál Conchobuir.

The differences appear in the character of the miracles the saints are said to perform. Patrick (that is, in his late seventh-century guise; the original Patrick was very different) is the saint who defeats the
 magi, the druids, of the pagan king; he is also the saint who by his blessings and curses decrees the fates of dynasties; the habitat of this Patrick is thus as much the royal household as the church. Brigit, on the other hand, never dictates the course of dynastic politics. Her power is expressed in ‘helping miracles’, healings, feeding the hungry, and rescuing the weak from violence. The contrast can be seen most directly in the different treatments of a single theme, the conflict between two branches of the Uí Néill, Cenél Coirpri and the descendants of Conall Cremthainne, for control of the midlands. In Tírechán's Collectanea, Patrick intervenes directly: he curses Coirpre and mingles with his curse a prophecy of the decline of his lineage; he then goes on to bless Conall Cremthainne and so grants him hegemony over his brothers. Tírechán was here playing the tune of a contemporary high-king of Ireland, Fínsnechtae Fledach, who ruled between 675 and 695. The Vita prima has Brigit intervene in the same quarrel, but she does so in order to save the rivals from each other, not to give one of them the victory. Her concern is to avert violence, not to legitimize anyone's triumph.

The mode of action is as different as the objective: Patrick acts as an Irish Samuel, taking kingship from Coirpre and his descendants, confronting proud kings in their own halls and places of assembly. Brigit, on the other hand, is sought out by the rival brothers, approached on the open road, and she saves each of them from the other. Whereas Patrick deals in the ambitions of kings, Brigit reacts to their fears. When Conall Cremthainne's childless queen sought Brigit's prayers so that she might have a child, Brigit only communicated with her through a nun. The latter asked Brigit: ‘Why is it you don't ask the Lord for the queen to have a son, whereas you often ask him on behalf of the wives of the common folk?’ And Brigit said:
Because all the common folk are servants and they all call upon their Father, but the sons of kings are serpents and sons of blood and sons of death apart from a few who are chosen by God. But since the queen entreats us, go and tell her, ‘There will be offspring but it will be offspring that sheds blood and will be an accursed stock and will hold sway for many years.’ And so it was. (Connolly, ‘Vita prima’, §62)
The ‘accursed stock’ so roundly condemned by Brigit was the southern Uí Néill, rulers of the midlands, recipients of Patrick's blessing. Yet Brigit's attitude was not expressed in the language of political rivalries: although a Leinster saint might be expected to defend the interests of the province against its principal enemies—and later Brigit was given precisely this role—here she condemns the most powerful kings of the day from the standpoint of the common people, not just of Leinster but of all Ireland. When she did go to Tailtiu, the site of the great royal assembly presided over by the high-king, she went to give her aid to a synod hearing a false accusation of rape brought against one of Patrick's bishops, Brón; she was not willing to meddle in the affairs of princes.

For Brigit's actions, the determining model was more often the
 New rather than the Old Testament. Most of her miracles are humble affairs for people of low rank and poor circumstances. Unlike Patrick, she has a concern for animals, dogs, and wolves; so too does Columba, but significantly his concern was for a bird that had been driven by the wind from his native kingdom, ruled by his kinsmen, Cenél Conaill. Whether or not there is any historical truth in the claim that she was a slave by birth—something which cannot be known—she was certainly presented by the Vita prima and Bethu Brigte as a saint for the poor. Nor was she a saint only for the Irish: the cult reflected in the Welsh place names is already suggested by a story in both the Vita prima and Bethu Brigte according to which two blind Britons came to her guided by a young leper belonging to her own people, the Fothairt. They complained, ‘You have healed the infirm of your own people and you neglect the healing of foreigners. But at least heal our boy who is of your own people’ (Bethu Brigte, ed. Ó hAodha, §27). In response to their plea, Brigit healed both the boy of his leprosy and the Britons of their blindness: as Christ began with the Jews but extended his teaching and his miracles to Samaritans and Gentiles, so Brigit might begin with the Fothairt but she came to be a saint also for the Britons.
Brigit's origins in context
In the Vita prima and Bethu Brigte, Brigit first began to transcend her father's people, the Fothairt, precisely because she was a slave child, the daughter of a slave woman. Dubthach's patrimony is said by Bethu Brigte to have been ‘in the two plains of the Uí Fhailgi’, a reference to Tuath dá Maige (‘the people of the two plains’). The area inhabited by this people is best indicated by the medieval ecclesiastical deanery of Tothmoy; it included Cróchan Breg hÉle (Croghan Hill) and some or all of the lands of the Fothairt Airbrech, to the east of Croghan Hill, which extended as far as the church of another nun, Rígnach (Cell Rígnaige, Kilrainy). Although the genealogies distinguish Brigit's own paternal lineage within the Fothairt, the Uí Bresail, from the Fothairt Airbrech, the latter were neighbours and some branches of the Uí Bresail lived among the Fothairt Airbrech. The Uí Fhailgi were one of the leading royal dynasties of Leinster: they, therefore, were the overlords and the various neighbouring Fothairt were their clients.

Circa 900, by Erikas
All these lands lay immediately on the Leinster side of the frontier with Mide, one of the territories of the Uí Néill. Moreover, in spite of the political dividing line, ecclesiastically there were strong links between Brigit's homeland and Mag Tulach, the adjacent client kingdom within Mide. It was there that Brigit was veiled as a nun; moreover, one of her episcopal allies, Mac Caille, who participated in her veiling, was associated both with Croghan Hill, within Leinster, and with Mag Tulach, within Mide. For Tírechán, writing in the late seventh century in praise of Patrick, Mag Tulach was one of Brigit's territories. The later ruling kindred of Mag Tulach claimed to be descended from a late sixth-century king of Leinster, Brandub mac Echach. Even within Mide, therefore, her cult went with Leinster connections.

The beginning of Brigit's life according to the Vita prima was played out against the background of the jealousy felt by Dubthach's wife towards Broicsech, her husband's slave woman and concubine. The wife brought pressure on Dubthach to sell Broicsech to someone from another country. In telling this story, theVita prima uses the model of Abraham, Sarah, and his Egyptian slave woman, Hagar, adopting for its own use the words of Sarah, ‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac’ (Genesis 21: 10). Yet it reverses the implications of the Genesisstory, for it includes a prophecy that the descendants of the wife would serve the offspring of the slave woman. As Hagar was driven out into the desert, so Broicsech was sold to a poet from the lands of the Uí Néill. She was subsequently sold on to a druid, in whose household Brigit was born, either in 439 or in 452, according to different annalists' guesses. This druid was to prove crucial for Brigit's early life. His paternal lineage was in Munster, in the northern Munster kingdom of Uaithne Tíre according to Bethu Brigte; his mother's family came from Connacht, while he himself was then resident in the north of Ireland. In this way Brigit made her first journey, from Leinster to the lands of the southern Uí Néill, then to the north, and on to Connacht and Munster. This journey has been seen as an assertion of ecclesiastical lordship, a theory supported by the statement made by the infant Brigit in Connacht, ‘This will be mine; this will be mine’ (Connolly, ‘Vita prima’, §11). Yet there are clear differences between Brigit's journey and the circuit around northern Ireland made by Patrick, according to Tírechán. Part of the journey was made by Brigit when she was still in her mother's womb; moreover, whereas Patrick's circuit went sunwise, deisel, Brigit's went widdershins, tuaithbiul. Because of her association with a poet and a druid, her journeyings were more directly linked with the circuits of poets and other ‘people of art’ than with the circuits of kings. Brigit's journeys were hagiographical conventions that, in this instance, expressed connections and alliances more often than lordship. Later she was made to visit Armagh and Downpatrick, two pre-eminent Patrician sites. This can hardly have been because the hagiographer wished to claim that they belonged to Brigit. It is much more likely that behind the visit to Armagh lay the fact that a branch of the Fothairt was settled nearby.

Another difference between Brigit's first journey and Patrick's circuit is in the attitudes expressed to druids. Patrick consistently opposed and defeated druids, perceived as the embodiment of Irish paganism. The druid of Munster parentage who bought Brigit's mother, Broicsech, is treated much more gently. The ambiguities are well brought out by an anecdote concerning their stay in the druid's Munster home. Brigit had difficulty eating:

Observing this the druid carefully investigated the cause of the nausea, and when he discovered it, said, ‘I am unclean, but this girl is filled with the Holy Spirit. She can't endure my food.’ Thereupon he chose a white cow and set it aside for the girl, and a certain Christian woman, a very God-fearing virgin, used to milk the cow and the girl used to drink the cow's milk and not vomit it up as her stomach had been healed. (Connolly, ‘Vita prima’, §11)
The druid, though unclean, was perceptive and concerned. He was also responsible for liberating both Brigit and her mother, and almost in the act of liberating his slaves he was himself liberated from paganism. By contrast, Brigit's father is less kindly treated: having sold his slave woman, she was eventually restored to him by the druid as a free woman; Dubthach then decided to sell Brigit into slavery, because of her habit of giving everything to the poor. When that had been averted, he put her under pressure to accept marriage; and when she had avoided that outcome, she left for the lands of the Uí Néill to take the veil.
Brigit and Kildare
Plains of South Kildare by Sarah777
None of the lives explains how Brigit acquired what became her principal church, Kildare. This lay a short distance beyond Uí Fhailgi territory, at the furthest remove from Brigit's home near Croghan Hill. Kildare remained, for several centuries, a double house: it had both bishops (later often replaced by abbots) and abbesses; the latter appear to have normally been of the Fothairt, while the bishops or abbots sometimes came from the ruling families of Leinster. The abbess was the heir of Brigit; the close bond was emphasized by the story that her immediate successor, Dar Lugdach (d. 525/527), died one year to the day after Brigit's own death; just as Columba's successor, Baíthéne, died a year to the day after Columba, and thus came to have the same feast day as his predecessor, so too Dar Lugdach's feast day was 1 February. Although Baíthéne was also Columba's close kinsman, there is no information about Dar Lugdach's descent, and she is not included in the list of Fothairt saints. Her cult was effectively subsumed in that of Brigit—something not entirely true of Baíthéne.

Kildare was also an important centre of scholarship, which helped to make it the most important church of northern Leinster; moreover, Mag Lifi, the plain of the Liffey, on the western edge of which Kildare is situated, was the principal centre of power in the whole province of Leinster. Kildare thus became the pre-eminent church of the province. In Irish law, a church of such importance conferred a status on its head equivalent to that of a bishop. The abbess of Kildare, the heir of Brigit, was thus far and away the most important woman in Ireland. Abbesses of Kildare were the only women whose obits were often recorded in the annals, more frequently commemorated even than queens of Tara.

In the late seventh century Kildare was especially open to English and continental influence. In the period after it had embraced the Roman Easter (probably in the 630s) and before Armagh followed suit (probably in the 680s), Kildare had the opportunity to take the leadership of the Roman party within the Irish church. Cogitosus's life of Brigit was principally written to further this ambition. Its depiction of the shrines of Brigit and Conlaíd within the church of Kildare is the earliest evidence for the elevation and enshrinement of relics in Ireland. This practice, already popular for more than a century in Francia, was also spreading in England in the late seventh century, as illustrated by the translation and enshrinement of Cuthbert's body in 697. The exact date of Cogitosus's life is uncertain, but his text may well be the earliest evidence for the practice in either Ireland or Britain. As in Cuthbert's case, so also in Brigit's: this enhancement of the visible status of the saint had a background of ecclesiastical politics. Cogitosus's life consists of a series of largely humble, down-to-earth miracle stories related to those in the last section of the
 Vita prima, but these are framed by two major political statements. The passage on the two shrines comes at the end; at the beginning there is a preface in which it is asserted that Kildare is the see of an archbishop whose authority extends over the whole island. In Irish terms, this was a novel assertion soon to be countered by Armagh's claim to such an island-wide archiepiscopal status in the Liber angeli (‘Book of the angel’). The model for such claims is likely to be the authority given to Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, by Pope Vitalian: from 669 until 735 the archbishops of Canterbury were entitled ‘archbishops of the island of Britain’. Kildare, therefore, was the quickest of all Irish churches to react to developments on the continent and in England. Yet its ambitions were never to be realized: Armagh, threatened by Kildare and by Northumbrian power, itself adopted the Roman Easter, whereupon the prestige of Patrick as the apostle of Ireland, to which the Vita prima of Brigit is one of the earlier and more eloquent (because independent) witnesses, gave Armagh a decisive advantage. In the twelfth-century reorganization of the Irish church, Kildare became the see of a diocese for north-west Leinster, but it was the nearby Hiberno-Norse city of Dublin that became the seat of an archbishopric.
Significance of the cult
Yet this relative decline of her main church made very little difference to the strength of Brigit's cult, since its true power did not lie in the sphere of high politics. This is shown by its popularity among Irishmen in Francia in the ninth century: such circles as that around Sedulius Scottus spread her cult on the continent. Even in Cogitosus's life, once the reader turns away from the grand statements at the beginning and the end, the humbler Brigit is easy to see in such anecdotes as that recounting a gift of pigs from southern Leinster. The donor came himself to Kildare, but asked that Brigit's men be sent to his distant farm to collect the pigs. When these men had reached the watershed dividing northern from southern Leinster, they were met by the pigs, guided along the road by wolves that had come from Mag Fea to the south. According to the Middle Irish notes on Broccán's hymn to Brigit, the man's farm was in the Fothairt territory at the south-east tip of Leinster; Mag Fea, mentioned by Cogitosus, was another Fothairt kingdom in south-central Leinster. The background to the story, therefore, appears to be the right of a major church, attached to a particular dynastic group, to collect gifts from the people of that group's territories. The pigs were just such gifts collected from the lands of the Fothairt. Elsewhere wolves were usually symbols for the dedicated violence of ‘the sons of death’ deplored by Brigit; that, ‘out of the utmost respect for blessed Brigit’ (Cogitosus, cap. 19), these wolves rounded up and drove these pigs along the road demonstrated the power of the holy over non-human as well as human violence, the power of holiness to transform the world into peaceful harmony. Her cult thus expressed a faith in an interventionist God, prepared to change the natural order of events in the world, in human holiness as the expression of the divine will, and thus in an alliance between such an interventionist God and a human saint to push the world back towards a peaceful order lost when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden.


S. Connolly, trans., ‘Vita prima sanctae Brigidae’, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 119 (1989), 14–49 · Cogitosus, ‘Vita sanctae Brigidae’, trans. S. Connolly and J.-M. Picard, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 117 (1987), 11–27 · Bethu Brigte, ed. and trans. D. Ó hAodha (1978) · R. I. Best and H. J. Lawlor, eds., The martyrology of Tallaght, HBS, 68 (1931) · M. A. O'Brien, ed., Corpus genealogiarum Hiberniae (Dublin, 1962), 84 (126 a 27–9) [subdivisions on the page] · P. Ó Riain, ed., Corpus genealogiarum sanctorum Hiberniae (Dublin, 1985) · Cormac mac Cuilennáin, Sanas Cormaic: an old-Irish glossary, ed. K. Meyer (1912), vol. 4 of Anecdota from Irish manuscripts, ed. O. J. Bergin and others (1907–13), 15 · J. J. O'Meara, ed., ‘Giraldus Cambrensis in topographia Hibernie: the text of the first recension’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 52C (1948–50), 113–78 [Gerald of Wales, Topographia Hiberniae, at chaps. 67–72, 77] · M. A. O'Brien, ed., Corpus genealogiarum Hiberniae (Dublin, 1962), 79–81 [Huait a meic hui Moguirni] · ‘Brigit bé bithmaith’, Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus, ed. W. Stokes and J. Strachan, 2 (1903), 325–6, esp. 325-49 · ‘Ní car Brigit búadach bith’, Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus, ed. W. Stokes and J. Strachan, 2 (1903), 327–49 · Hail Brigit, ed. K. Meyer (1912) [corrected in Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie, 8 (1912), 600] · ‘Liber angeli’, The Patrician texts in the Book of Armagh, ed. L. Bieler, Scriptores Latini Hiberniae, 10 (1979), 184–91, esp. 190 [§32] · M. Esposito, ‘On the early Latin lives of St Brigid of Kildare’, Hermathena, 49 (1935), 120–65, esp. 125–6 [Rheims prologue]; repr. in M. Esposito, Latin learning in mediaeval Ireland, ed. M. Lapidge (1988), chap. 7 · C. Plummer, ‘A tentative catalogue of Irish hagiography’, Miscellanea hagiographica Hibernica, Subsidia Hagiographica, 15 (Brussels, 1925), nos. 11–13, 83, 86–8, 202–3, 219 · M. Lapidge and R. Sharpe, A bibliography of Celtic-Latin literature, 400–1200 (1985), 84, 102–3, 110, 120, 124–5, 220 · J. F. Kenney, The sources for the early history of Ireland(1929), 356–64 (nos. 147–56) · F. Ó Briain, ‘Brigitana’, Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie, 36 (1978), 112–37 · R. Sharpe, ‘Vitae s. Brigitae: the oldest texts’, Peritia, 1 (1982), 81–106 · K. McCone, ‘Brigit in the seventh century: a saint with three lives?’, Peritia, 1 (1982), 107–45 · C. Stancliffe, ‘The miracle stories in seventh-century Irish saints' lives’, Le septième siècle: changements et continuités, ed. J. Fontaine and J. N. Hillgarth (1992), 87–111 · D. N. Kissane, ‘Vita metrica sanctae Brigidae: a critical edition with introduction, commentary and indexes’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 77C (1977), 57–192 · ‘Vita quarta’, Medieval Irish saints’ lives: an introduction to Vitae sanctorum Hiberniae, ed. R. Sharpe (1991), 139–208 · Donatus, bishop of Fiesole, Life of St Brigit, 9th cent., Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence, Conv. Soppr. 266 pt 1 · Donatus, bishop of Fiesole, Life of St Brigit, 9th cent., Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence, Conv. Soppr. c. 4 1791 · Donatus, bishop of Fiesole, Life of St Brigit, 9th cent., Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome, 726 · Félire Óengusso Céli Dé / The martyrology of Oengus the Culdee, ed. W. Stokes, HBS, 29 (1905); repr. (1984) · Félire húi Gormáin / The martyrology of Gorman, ed. and trans. W. Stokes, HBS, 9 (1895) · M. O'Clery, The martyrology of Donegal: a calendar of the saints of Ireland, ed. J. H. Todd and W. Reeves, trans. J. O'Donovan (1864) · Ann. Ulster · W. M. Hennessy, ed. and trans., Chronicum Scotorum: a chronicle of Irish affairs, Rolls Series, 46 (1866) · Lord Killanin and M. V. Duignan, The Shell guide to Ireland, 2nd edn (1967)

© Oxford University Press 2004–14 All rights reserved
T. M. Charles-Edwards, ‘Brigit (439/452–524/526)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 23 July 2014]
Brigit (439/452–524/526): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3427 
Conlaíd (
d. 518/520): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/6060
Dar Lugdach (
d. 525/527): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/7160

Also including

·         Conlaíd (d. 518/520)
·         Dar Lugdach (d. 525/527)
·         The cult and lives
·         Place among Irish saints
·         Brigit's origins in context
·         Brigit and Kildare
·         Significance of the cult



·         Saints in the Oxford DNB

Other online resources

DNB archive

DNB archive

DNB archive

© Oxford University Press 2004–14  All rights reserved


Hilaire said...

Thanks for posting this. It told me things I didn't know and Charles-Edwards makes interesting connections.

Blessings to you.

Mael Brigde said...

Glad you liked it, Hilaire. And blessings to you, too.

Nearly ready to post the last reviews, thank heaven. Watch for them!