Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (c. 451-525) is one of Ireland’s patron saints along with Saints Patrick and Colmcille. Her feast day is 1 February, the traditional first day of spring in Ireland. She is believed to have been an Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several convents.
In Irish mythology Brigid was the Celtic goddess of fire, poetry, unity, childbirth and healing. She was the daughter of Dagda a High King of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Sacred wells were always places of pilgrimage to the Celts. They would dip a clootie (piece of rag) in the well, wash their wound and then tie the clootie to a tree. Generally a Whitethorn or Ash tree, as an offering to the spirit of the well. It seems only natural that these traditions would be carried forward into modern times in the form of Saint Brigid. Today’s pilgrimages to holy wells usually take place on the Saints feast day or Pattern or Patron days.
According to tradition Saint Brigid was born in Faughart, Co Louth, where there is a shrine and another holy well dedicated to her. The Saint found a convent in Kildare in 470 that has now grown into a cathedral city. There are the remains of a small oratory known as Saint Brigid’s fire temple, where a small eternal flame was kept alight for centuries in remembrance of her. She is one of Irelands patron Saints and known as Mother of the Gael. She is said to be buried along with Saint Colmcille and Saint Patrick in Downpatrick. Throughout Ireland there are many wells dedicated to Saint Brigid.
Lord God, may St Brigid kindle the flame of Divine Love in me, and may her sacred mantle cover me in time of need, wrap me in time of illness, and support me in time of trial, that I may be filled with her generosity and joy.Through Christ Our Lord,Amen.