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St. Brigid’s Crosses

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St. Brigid is the patroness saint of Ireland (St. Patrick being the patron saint). She lived in the 6th Century. She devoted her life to healing, caring for the sick and spreading the word of Christ. 

Rushes, the material from which the crosses are traditionally made,  were a common floor covering in St. Brigid’s time. One day when she was nursing a dying pagan chieftain, she picked some rushes from the floor by his bed and wove them into a cross as she told him the story of Christ dying on the cross.  The chieftain became a christian before he died. 

Brigit was an Irish, Celtic Goddess who was worshipped as the one who could aid people in survival against all odds. St. Brigid shares many of the goddess’s attributes and her feast day on 1 February was originally a pagan festival , ‘Imbolc’, marking the beginning of spring. It has thus been argued that St. Brigid  is a Christianisation of the goddess Brigit.

Traditionally, on St. Brigid’s Day, St. Brigid’s crosses are hung on the wall to ward off evil and to bring luck, peace and harmony to the household. They were also put  in cowsheds to protect the animals. 

There are many holy wells devoted to St. Brigid, including one approximately a kilometre away from the Cliffs of Moher. Testimony to the healing powers of the water can be seen in the many walking aids, relics etc left by the well.

As long as you have St. Brigid’s Cross in your kitchen you will always have food in your larder. 

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