The primary day of February is extensively recognised as the beginning of Spring on this a part of the world. It’s additionally the Christian feast-day of St Bridget of Kildare, one in every of our native and nationwide saints with whom Clondalkin has many connections, in addition to the pre-Christian competition of Imbolc.
This 12 months, Clondalkin’s St Bridget’s Pageant will probably be a mighty celebration honouring this native and nationwide saint, from January 26 till the night of February 6.
Actions embody talks for adults and youngsters, craft courses, a movie, musical and road performances, a pageant, a kids’s artwork competitors and exhibition, and naturally the annual pilgrimage from Dublin Metropolis to St Bridget’s Effectively in Clondalkin.
All are welcome to attend. The total Pageant particulars might be seen on the Lá Fhéile Bríde/Brigid’s Day Pageant Clondalkin Fb web page.
Analysis discloses that St Bridget was a high-born early Christian girl who devoted her life to Christ.
It’s estimated that she was born about 452AD, roughly 30 years after St Patrick was despatched by the Vatican to take care of the perceived non secular wants of our Celtic Christian ancestors. She died in 524AD.
Eire’s native judicial system, The Brehon Legal guidelines, had been in operation in St Bridget’s time.
This indigenous authorized system operated till the 1600s when English widespread regulation lastly changed them.
It’s thought that by her excessive social standing and pure knowledge, St Bridget was an arbitrator or decide between individuals who had issues for resolution at this official, secular court docket of regulation.
She was famend in her day for her mediation abilities, generosity and kindness, however presumably she may be strict when needed.
Presumably, St Bridget’s affect and private talents led to her founding her monastery in Kildare the place she was the Abbess.
According to the system then, it’s seemingly that she would have overseen the non secular neighborhood which included different high-status nuns like herself and in addition the monks below her management who carried out liturgical providers.
Certainly, today some native folks counsel that St Bridget was recognised as a Christian Bishop in her personal lifetime, such was her significance and the excessive regard wherein she was held.
As with different pre-Christian traditions, St Bridget turned intermingled with the traditional Celtic competition of Imbolc.
It additionally celebrates the beginning of Spring on February 1, and perceives it as a time of formality renewal and purification. On this guise, she is seen because the goddess or patron inspiring excellence in poetry, metalwork, and the overseer of fireside.
The traditional Irish-language root of Bridget’s identify – Bríg – signifies a bridge between the outdated and the brand new, regardless of how her identify is now spelled – Bridget, Brigid, Brigit, Bríd, Bríde, Bride, Bridey, Bridie, Breeda, Biddy, or Breda.
St Bridget’s command of fireside is acknowledged by making an emblem of our nationwide id – the normal St Bridget’s Cross. Completely different areas of the nation can have native designs of crosses, however often they’re all made utilizing both rushes or straw and might contain sallies (willow twigs). Crosses are displayed in folks’s houses to guard the family from damaging hearth.
Final 12 months’s cross is burned or buried if it’s to be discarded whereas its alternative continues fire-prevention duties.
Irish monks within the early Christian period carried St Bridget’s fame with them after they travelled extensively throughout Europe, establishing church buildings and nice centres of studying there.
For example, there’s a church devoted to her in Piacenza in Italy, and he or she is widely known additionally in Brittany. The Vikings, too, mixed her persona with their goddess Brigantia after they’d come right here within the 700s.
St Bridget is acknowledged as having baptised many individuals into Christianity at pure springs all through Leinster (not less than).
There’s one such holy properly in Clondalkin. It’s on a path identified for generations as Brideswell Lane, on the junction of Boot Highway and the Fonthill Highway (R113).
Since historic occasions, the properly water right here was mentioned to have healing powers, particularly regarding younger women struggling disabilities and illnesses of the attention.
The ritual treatment concerned dipping a clear rag into the spring water, making use of the moist rag to the affected space after which hanging the rag on the rag tree which grew adjoining to the properly.
Sadly, our rag tree is gone now. It was mentioned to have been the final one in Dublin. Our native authority found that it had grow to be diseased and sadly it needed to be felled in December 2022.
Fortunately, a neighborhood individual took some cuttings of the outdated tree earlier than its elimination. Hopefully, the cuttings will stay wholesome – and develop to maybe change its mother or father ultimately.
Native people and teams have lovingly tended St Bridget’s Effectively and its environment right here for a few years. For hundreds of years, it has been a spot of pilgrimage – particularly round St Bridget’s Day. A part of the location features a cemetery for infants who died earlier than they might be baptised. It’s simply beside the properly itself. For those who go there, pause some time. Say a prayer or spare a thought for them and their households.
Clondalkin’s shut connections with St Bridget proceed strongly into trendy occasions. Within the 1800s, the land round her Effectively was referred to as Bride’s Effectively Commons and a housing property constructed within the space in concerning the Fifties bears St Bridget’s identify.
Additionally in her honour, one in every of our village secondary colleges is Coláiste Bríde, established within the early Nineteen Seventies.
Her depiction is included within the magnificent stained-glass window by Thomas Early over the excessive altar within the Church of the Immaculate Conception and St Killian within the village. It’s price a quiet go to, particularly if the daylight illuminates the stained glass.
Many legends arose about St Bridget. One is that she was instructing a chieftain and his folks in direction of baptism, however they had been confused concerning the thriller of the Holy Trinity. St Bridget confirmed them the standard shamrock. She demonstrated that its three leaves type a single unity and so sufficiently clarified the thriller for them.
Nonetheless, the shamrock turned related with the St Patrick’s Day festivities in Eire and world-wide, by some means distanced from the saint who is claimed to have first used this plant.
It has grow to be a signifier for Eire, one other of our nationwide emblems.
As brightening Spring returns to banish Winter, Nature in all her superb potential re-awakens.
Vegetation put forth their buds and flowers, bees and different insect pollinators rouse themselves to examine the primary dandelions for meals.
The lengthening daylight encourages birds to construct their nests. It’s a busy time of renewal and a becoming alternative to rejoice our personal St Bridget, the Muire of the Gael.