Monday, November 16, 2009

Fé Bhrat Bhride -- Poems about Saint Brigid in Irish Mantle of Brigid

For those interested in Irish language texts, here is a collection of Brigid poems in Irish, from Veritas.

Fe Bhrat Bhride - Poems about Saint Brigid in Irish
Author:Ni Mhorain, Brid



Faightear plé sa chnuasach nua ar Dhia, an dúlra, nádúr na filíochta, an choimhlint idir an sean agus an nua, an ceangal idir an dúchas agus an domhan mór maille le cur síos ar ghrá an fhile dá ceantar dúchais, Corca Dhuibhne. I gCorcaigh a rugadh Bríd Ní Mhóráin, ach is i gCiarraí a tógadh í. Is é seo an triú cnuasach s'aici. Foilsíodh Ceiliúradh Cré i 1992 agus Fé Bhrat Bhríde i 2002.

This collection explores nature, God, the conflict between the new and the old, the connection between heritage and the world, the nature of poetry and the poet's love for her home in Corca Dhuibhne. Bríd was born in Cork but grew up in Kerry. This is her third poetry collection. Ceiliúradh Cré was published in 1992 and Fé Bhrat Bhríde was published in 2002


Brí Ní Mhóráin was born in Newmarket, Co Cork. Her poetry collections are Ceiliúradh Cré (Baile Átha Cliath, Coiscéim, 1992); Fé Bhrat Bhride (An Daingean, An Sagart, 2002); and Siolta an Iomais (Gallimh, Clo Iar-Chonnachta Teo, 2006). A prosework, Thiar Sa Mhainistir Atá An Ghaolainn Bhreá (Cill Dara, An Sagart, 1997), is a recommended text book on the Irish course at UCC. She has been awarded Oireachtas prizes in 1988 and 1999 for her poetry, and in 1992 for her prose. More recently she has been awarded a research scholarship by Bord na Gaeilge (2000), and a bursary in Literature from the The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Éalaíon (2000). She lives in Kerry.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Two Brigit CDs

Such a delight to listen to truly beautiful music that is inspired in part by Brigit. Check out the cut previews of these two CDs.

Katy Taylor created Welcome Brigid with Amy Fradon and Lynn Margileth. You can hear one or two more previews on CDbaby,including a poem to Brigid. Everything fits together beautifully, vocals and instruments, words and intent.


Barbara Gallagher's St. Brigid of Kildare Suite is pure piano and it is gorgeous. You can listen to pretty much the whole thing on her website. You can buy it at CDbaby.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Brigid's Wells

Here are photos and snippets from different sites about the many wells of Saint Brigid. Please go to the original sites for more info and photos. Seethe bottom of this post for a list of Brigid's wells, from Conrad Bladey's site, and an essay on Irish holy wells by Mary Ellen Sweeney. For her list of Irish holy wells, please follow the link (below) to her article in BellaOnline: the Voice of Women.


St. Brigid's Well is located across the river from the ruins of Castle-

magner castle. It is a druidic well adopted into Christian ritual. It was

originally the well of Brede (the druidic goddess of agriculture) and

later, in the Christian era, became the well of St. Brigid of Kildare.

When the parish of Castlemagner became a Protestant parish in 1591,

Roman Catholic mass was celebrated there on Sundays, and it hence

became known as a Sunday's well. This practice was stopped in 1658

when Captain Roger Bretridge became landlord of this area as a result

of the Cromwellian confiscations. However, the practice resumed per-

iodically after Catholic Emancipation in 1829. Between 1658 and 1704,

rounds of the well was one of the few Catholic rituals allowed in the par-

ish. The well was refurbished and covered over in 1771 by Mr. Eoin

Egan of Subulter, a cripple who was miraculously cured at the well. It

is a beehive shaped covering with an opening to the well at the eastern

side. On the left of the opening is the best preserved effigy in the world

of Shíla-Ní-Gig, a druidic symbol of the supreme goddess of fertility.

This was brought by Mr. Egan from the ruins of an 8th century church

in Subulter. On the right of the opening is an effigy of the Archangel

Michael. This was the centre keystone on the arch of the main entrance

to Magner's castle and dates from approximately 1200...

Beehive with Sile na Gig.............. Site of St Brigid's Well

From 800 until 1461, the Shíla-Ní-Gig at Castlemagner Holy Well was

attached to the inside of the wall of Subulter church, which explains its

well-preserved state. The Holy Well in Castlemagner was the scene for

a series of lectures, 18th October 1998, on the place of the Holy Well in

Irish Mythology and in early Christianity. Until the dedication of the new

church and parish of Castlemagner to Saint Mary in 1867, the parish and

the Holy Well were anciently dedicated to St Brigid in the Catholic and

Church of Ireland persuasions...


Descent to St Brigid's Well

© Descent to St Brigid's Well


Clondalkin, Co. South Dublin:


St Brigid’s Well in Clondalkin is shown at this location on Rocque’s map of 1760 and on

later maps of the area. The well is likely to be considerably older as it is believed to have

been established by the Irish Christian nun and abbess Brigid in the 5th century AD in

order to baptise pagans.

St Brigid’s well is locally venerated in Clondalkin throughout the year but particularly on

her feast day on February 1st. The well water is believed to have curative properties

particularly for sore eyes and the drying rags and other votive objects are tied to the

Holy Tree of ash. The original tree of whitethorn is no longer present.

During the 1990’s, road widening works for Fonthill Road resulted in the reduction

of the area of the well along the east and south sides but the well itself was maintained

in its original location. However, the works for the road altered the underlying water

source or spring. The well is now covered and a channel replicating the original

stream outlet is present in the north.

Tradition indicates the presence of an associated Children’s Burial Ground at the well

but its exact location is now unknown. It may possibly be located in the raised grassed

area to south of well in the vicinity of the upstanding white metal cross but it is locally

believed to be located in the open green area to north-west of the well.

RPA recently carried out a geophysical survey of the well and the surrounding areas

but the results of the survey were inconclusive and indicated that the grounds were

very disturbed from modern works. The results from the survey can be reviewed on

the RPA website (

RPA understands the importance of the well as a historical site but also as an

important aspect of community life in Clondalkin. We are currently finalising the

design of Metro West along the Fonthill Road and presented for public consultation,

two design options for the proposed scheme at this location. One option maintains

the well in its original location and the other proposes the relocation of the well to

the green area to the north-west. There are advantages and disadvantages for the

community associated with each option and these are also detailed on the RPA

website Submission and comments on the options will be welcomed

by the RPA up to 21st July and it is anticipated that a decision on the options at this

location could be made by the end of July.

Maria FitzGerald, RPA Archaeologist


St. Brigid's Well, Mullingar

St. Brigid's Well, Mullingar by Ms. Jen.


St. Brigid Well, Liscannor, Co. Clare

Dave Walsh has a wonderful slide show of photos of Brigid's Well at Liscannor. DO go and have a look.
He says: Wall and crosses at St. Brigid's Well, Liscannor,
Co. Clare
On the Liscannor - Doolin road, near the Cliffs of Moher, this ostens-
ibly holy well is full of wonderful, decaying votive offerings. St. Brigid
never actually existed in Christian times - in mythology she was the
"exalted one" - daughter of the Dagda and therefore one of the Tua-
tha De Danann.....The "cave" at St. Brigit's Well is full of strange ob-
jects. Decaying statues, rotting dolls, faded masscards, abandoned
prosthetic limbs, rosary beads, toys, polaroid photographs....

Other photographers images of Liscannor:
Killare, Co. Westmeath
John Smyth has a lovely series of photos of this well.
He says: > Westmeath > St Brigid's Well, Killare
St. Brigid's Well, at Killare, Co. Westmeath. It's near the legendary Hill of Uisneach, and the easiest way to visit the well is to park at the nearby Uisneach Inn and walk back to it.

Faughart Upper Church graveyard, Dundalk: St. Brigid's Well

In some traditions, Faughart is St. Brigid's birthplace:

"St Brigid was born in a quiet village named "Faughart" set upon a hill
over looking Dundalk Bay. She was born about the year 454 A.D."

From the site of Scoil Phádraig Naofa: "a small, Irish, rural school located
near the east coast on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Our nearest towns are Dundalk and Newry."
  • St Bride’s Well Kilbride parish, Co. Mayo
  • St. Brigid’s Well Ardagh, Co. Longford
  • St. Brigid’s Well Buttevant, Co. Cork
  • St. Brigid’s Well Castlemanger, Co. Cork
  • St. Bridid’s Well Chiffony, Co. Sligo
  • St. Brigid’s Well Dunteer, Co. Louth
  • St. Bridid’s Well Faughart, Co. Louth
  • St. Brigid’s Well Inismagrath parish, Co. Leitrim
  • St. Brigid’s Well Killinagh parish, Co. Cavin
  • St. Brigid’s Well Kilranelagh parish, Co. Carlow
  • St. Brigid’s Well Liscannor, Co. Clare
  • St. Brigid’s Well Marlerstown ,Co Louth
  • St. Brigid’s Well Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
  • St. Brigid’s Well Outeragh parish,Co. Leitrim
  • St. Brigid’s Well Tully, Co. Kildare
-Source: The Holy Wells of Ireland. Patrick Logan, Colin Smythe, Gerrards Cross,1980


gIrish Culture Site
Mary Ellen Sweeney
Irish Culture Editor


Holy Wells in Ireland

Once, when Mr. Sweeney and I were driving around a hairpin turn in
Sligo, between Boyle and Donegal, the hair on my head stood up and I
got goose bumps on my arms. I joked that we must have passed a fairy
place. (That would be me, making light of the unknown.) As we moved
farther into the turn, there was a little sign, crudely hand-lettered, point-
ing back to where we had passed. It read, “Holy Well.” He looked at me
and I looked at him, and he believed me.

I knew of such wells, of course, but they’re like leprechauns, you don’t
really believe in them until you see one. Somehow it’s a little embarrass-
ing to admit such beliefs in modern times. It was all right for Granny maybe,
who had a prayer, a rhyme, and a charm for every occasion, but for a 21st-
century grown-up? Not so much. Just a lot of old superstitious nonsense!

But come here to me. Holy Wells have been around since long before the
arrival of Saint Patrick and the message of Christianity. They have lost
none of their power through the many changings of the guard in Ireland.
The druids used the waters to promote health and well-being. The ancient
Celts understood that these places were powerful and attributed this power
to the Otherworld, the spiritual source of everything. It is this power that
has people visiting Holy Wells to this day.

There are Holy Wells all over Ireland. Each of them has a story. One is
good for conception and another will surely cure the blind. I don’t know
how much stock can be placed in all these claims, but there are many who
swear to the truth of cures, conceptions, and insights after visits to Holy

Some of the wells are said to contain salmon from tales of the great sal-
mon of wisdom that come through to us from the times of the ancient
eroes. The Salmon of Wisdom is an essential part of a well's magical
properties. The practice of "paying rounds" (circling the well three times
still practiced at holy wells. In the Saint Monachan well in Kerry there is
said to be a salmon and an eel, and whoever sees them will benefit from
having done the rounds, whether they seek health, wealth, or special

Pilgrimages to Holy Wells often take place on the special days: St.
Brigid’s Day on the first of February, also the date of the old Celtic
feast of Imbolc. This saint was once the Celtic goddess, Brighde,
(Pronounced, breedge, like brie cheese with a “d” and “g” sound at
the end.); Beltane, May 1; Lughnasa, August 1; and All Souls' Day,
also known as Samhain, November 1, when it was believed that the
veil between the living and the dead was at its most transparent. All
of these are special days in the Celtic calendar and it was/is believed
that the doors to the Otherworld are open at these times.

Churches were often built near or above the Holy Wells. The early
Celtic church used the waters for baptism. The Roman church did
away with this practice and decreed that a font inside the church be
used. A number of old churches contain a crypt or grotto that opens
into a subterranean spring. This place---close to earth and water---is
a hidden holy center of the sacred enclosure.

St. Brigid has many Holy Wells named for her. This is a list of just a
few of them: St Bride’s Well, Kilbride parish, Co. Mayo, St. Brigid’s
Well, Ardagh, Co. Longford; St. Brigid’s Well, Castlemanger, Co.
Cork; St. Brigid’s, Well Chiffony, Co. Sligo; St. Brigid’s Well, Dunteer,
Co. Louth; St. Brigid's Well, Inismagrath Parish, Co. Leitrim.

Some day ask me about "Oh Blessed Saint Ann."

Holy wells exist in most counties of Ireland. Cork, Kerry, Clare, Kil-
dare, Sligo, Meath, and Roscommon have many. Should you wish to
visit, here are some locations... (list can be found at end of original