Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Brigid's Wayside Well: Kildare, with Erynn Laurie
I have lifted the bulk of the text (but not all the directions, and none of the photos) from Erynn Laurie's blog, Searching for Imbas: A Professional Madwoman's Search for Poetic Inspiration. The post is about finding Brigit's Wayside Well in Kildare. Please go to the original posting for the full directions and helpful photos.
One of the more challenging things I had to deal with in preparing for the 2012 Ireland pilgrimage was finding the original Brigid's Well in Kildare Town from five thousand miles away, with only vague hints on the web to go by. I looked for a couple of weeks, only able to find the occasional photo of the well itself, with very vague descriptions of its location that made little sense to me, having never been to Kildare before.
I've been told "oh, well, it wasn't that hard for me to find," by people who had found it when they were in Kildare. Truthfully, once you're in Kildare, you can ask about the Wayside Well and some of the people who live there can tell you where it is pretty easily, but I had a lot of trouble ahead of time. So if you want to go to Kildare and visit the older well, this is how you can find it without having to shanghai some stranger on a Kildare street corner.
Here is the little hand-drawn map from the book Rekindling the Flame: A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Brigid of Kildare by Rita Minehan, CSB. The book is small and sometimes not easy to find online, but I got a copy for about $17 from Amazon UK. If you look, you might be able to find one yourself. It has photos of the Brigid sites in Kildare, along with a pilgrimage route and some liturgical material primarily geared for a Catholic audience associated with some of the places.
The Brigidine Sisters who live in Kildare sell the book at their home/shrine, but if you want to visit them, I highly recommend you contact them in advance and arrange for a visit with them. They are very kind and accepting of people of all paths and are well worth talking to. Their ceremony for gifting Brigid's flame to pilgrims is simple but moving, and they are willing to spend time telling stories of Brigid's life and her mission, as well as acknowledging Brigid as the goddess of poets, smiths, and healers.
From Kildare Town, on Bride Street, it's about 2km south of town. Bride Street turns into Tully Road about when it crosses the M7. You'll turn LEFT at the sign for The Curragh, which is the Irish National Stud Farm, and for the Japanese Gardens. Just a little up that road is an entrance for a parking lot. You'll enter and head back toward Tully Road from there. Park at the very end of the parking lot.