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Saturday, 28 January 2023, All ages

A celebration of all things St Brigid

Admission free

Four-armed St Brigid's cross, Brídeog and three-armed St Brigid's cross. NMI Collections F:1942.1887, F:1977.27 and F:1950.299

The Museum is delighted to present a series of events celebrating all things St Brigid on Saturday, 28 January.

St Brigid’s Day falls on February 1 and marked the beginning of spring in the traditional Irish calendar. It was an important festival for our rural ancestors as it ushered in a new season of hope and growth after a long, dark winter. 

Join the Museum for this day-long series of events to discover what a Brídeog is; explore the origins of the saint; learn how we celebrated her festival day in the past; and how we do it today.

All events are free but spaces are limited and seating will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

DISPLAY: St Brigid's Crosses

During Museum opening hours

The making of St Brigid’s crosses on the eve of St Brigid's Day, 31 January, is still popular in many Irish homes. Explore regional styles and variations in a special display of St Brigid's crosses taken out of storage and on view now beside the Life in the Community exhibition on Level C of the main museum galleries. No booking required. 


11am - 12pm | Suitable for families

Join craftsman and historian Pat Broderick and curator Tiernan Gaffney for an exploration of the St Brigid’s Day tradition of making Brídeogs. Discover where this tradition comes from, why it was practiced in Ireland and how to make your own Brídeog. This is a free workshop suitable for families/intergenerational audiences. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

TALK: Objects in the National Museum of Ireland associated with St. Brigid

1pm to 1.45pm | Suitable for adults and children aged 12+

Join Clodagh Doyle, Keeper of the Irish Folklife Division, to learn how the National Museum of Ireland has the largest collection of objects associated with St Brigid. In the Irish Folklife Collection, there are over 300 crosses from all over the country. There are ribbons, Brídeog and Biddy Boy costumes. The devotion to St Brigid and the seeking of her protection is present in each of the objects. Throughout the country, there are holy wells dedicated to her and her name is used as a first name in placenames and for hospitals and GAA clubs. Learn about these objects and the devotion to St Brigid in this curator's talk. 

About the speaker
Clodagh Doyle has been working with the Irish Folklife Collection of the National Museum of Ireland since 1995 and is now based at Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. She has a degree in Irish Folklore and Archaeology and her MA thesis is on the subject of Traditional Hearth Furniture. With a love for folklore, ethnology, objects and their stories, Clodagh was appointed Keeper of the Irish Folklife Division in 2020.

TALK: St Brigid in Folktales and Folklore

2pm to 2.45pm | Suitable for adults and children aged 12+

Join Tiernan Gaffney, curator with the Irish Folklife Division, for a retelling and exploration of the oral tradition that is tied to St Brigid’s Day traditions. St. Brigid is brought to us as both a Celtic Goddess and Christian Saint. These two entities have become so intertwined it would be impossible to understand the significance of one without the other. Exploring these stories will reveal why St Brigid was known for her connections with nature, fertility, generosity and protection. 

About the speaker
Tiernan Gaffney joined the Irish Folklife Division in 2022. He holds a degree in Creative Music Production (IADT) and an MA in Irish Folklore and Ethnology (UCD). His thesis is on the subject of the creation and connection of communities within shared spaces. He was awarded the Máire MacNeill Scholarship at UCD.

St Brigid Cord, Candle and Community Connection

3pm to 4pm | Suitable for adults and children aged 12+

Join Oein De Bhairduin, Traveller Cultural Collections Development Officer, with the National Museum of Ireland, for a Minceiri/ Irish Traveller exploration of St Brigid’s Day customs, from the blessing of candles, the graces of the waters and the making of St Brigid’s cords. The discussion will explore community connection, the craft of making a sacred cord and cultural insights. This will be followed by a demonstration/session on making St Brigid's cords, led by Maggie McDonagh, a community member and traditional Lashul crafter.
About the speaker
Oein DeBhairduin is a Minceiri writer and educator with a passion for preserving the beauty of Traveller tales, sayings, retellings and historic exchanges. He is the author of the award-winning Why the moon travels and Traveller Culture Collections Development Officer with the National Museum of Ireland. He seeks to pair community engagement with cultural celebration, recalling old tales with fresh modern connections and, most of all, he wishes to rekindle the hearth fires of a shared kinship.


All events are free but spaces are limited and seating will be assigned on a first come first served basis.


A celebration of all things St Brigid is located at:
Turlough Park,
Co. Mayo
F23 HY31

A day dedicated to St Brigid in folklore and folk tradition

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Turlough Park,
Co. Mayo,
F23 HY31

+353 94 903 1755