Celtic Symbols–St. Brigid’s Cross

October 16, 2009 at 10:47 am 2 comments

St. Brigid's Cross

St. Brigid's Cross

St. Brigid, “Mary of the Gael,” abbess and patroness of Ireland, and founder of the first Irish monastery in Kildare, was born near Dundalk in 450 A.D.  Tradition tells us that her unbounded charity drew multitudes of the poor to her door and much enraged her father Dubhtach, a Leinster pagan Chieftain and a stubborn disbeliever.  As he lay on his deathbed, she sat by him and whiled away the time weaving a cross from the rushes at her feet.  Her father asked her to explain its meaning and was so overwhelmed that he became a Christian before his death.

It is piously believed that this rush cross, which became her emblem, keeps evil and hunger from the homes in which it is displayed.  For centuries, it has been customary on the eve of her feast-day for the Irish to fashion a St. Brigid’s Cross of straw or rushes and place it inside the house, over the door.

St. Brigid’s feast day falls on the first of February, the day on which she died in 524 A.D.  Her body lies at Downpatrick beside the graves of St. Patrick and St. Columba.



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Celtic Symbols–Irish Harp Celtic Symbols–Celtic Crosses

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jane g meyer  |  October 16, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Looks like you’re off to a fun start with this blog. I noticed your Guinness stew recipe and I make one myself, always baking soda bread as well. If it weren’t so warm here in California today I’d be in the mood–but it’s hot!

    I love the cross St. Brigid wove, what a great story. I’ve never heard though, that the chieftain she was weaving it for was her father… That’s a new twist for me. I do hope that he came to believe in Christ before his death. What with all the miracles surrounding him he’d have to be awfully stubborn not to pay attention.

    anyway, just wanted to say hey…

    • 2. wegotirish  |  October 18, 2009 at 11:52 am

      Thanks Jane! My family always made Irish Soda Bread from my Grandmother’s recipe. It became such a daunting task on March 16th every year to make the 20+ loaves for friends, teachers, co-workers, etc, that I started packaging it in baggies and now we have a family business started because of it. The name of the product is “Katie Reilly’s Irish Soda Bread Mix.” Check it out on this website: http://www.wegotirish.com. It’s all natural ingredients and an authentic recipe from Galway. It takes a lot of the hastle out of baking and tastes great!

      I noticed you wrote a book on St. Brigid…I’m very interested in Irish history and tradition too!


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