2024 marks 1,500 years since the passing of Ireland’s foremost female saint, Brigid 1500 will celebrate the extraordinary life of St Brigid.
County Kildare, where St. Brigid spent most of her life and founded the Kildare Abbey in the 5th century and where she was buried after her death on February 1, will host Brigid 1500 to honor the life and work of Ireland’s only female patron saint.
Brigid 1500 will bring together artists, performers, enthusiasts, communities, and visitors to celebrate St. Brigid in a contemporary way with a culturally rich program of events.
The program, which will engage with the values that St. Brigid championed such as faith and spirituality, biodiversity and sustainability, arts and culture, social justice, peace, hospitality, and education, will commence on Saturday, January 27, 2024, and conclude on Tuesday, February 6, 2024.
Highlights of Brigid 1500 will include a St. Brigid’s Day concert that will feature leading Irish artists Eleanor McEvoy, Moya Brennan of Clannad, Mary Coughlan, Gemma Hayes, Una Healy, The Henry Girls, Lisa Lambe and Nell Mescal.
There will be a Pause for Peace which will call upon people worldwide to observe a one-minute silence, and a musical evening featuring songs of social justice and freedom.
A line-up of renowned female chefs including Darina Allen, Majken Bech-Bailey, and Chantelle Nicholson will present Mother Earth: A Day of Food and Music. Specially commissioned St. Brigid art pieces will also be unveiled as part of the program along with an artists’ exhibition, honorary window displays, and theatre programs.
Light shows will feature prominently in the festival. A candlelight pilgrimage and ritual at St. Brigid’s well will take place on January 31 and two grand fiery processional events will take place in the towns of Maynooth and Kildare. The tower on the Hill of Allen will be bathed in white light to symbolize hope for the new year.
St. Brigid’s Day and the Celtic festival of Imbolc, which marks the beginning of spring, are traditionally marked on 1 February and there is also a public holiday on the first Monday of February.
In the run-up to St. Brigid’s Day, it is customary to make a St. Brigid’s cross from rushes or straw to display in the home as protection from fire and evil.
Kildare in Ireland’s Ancient East is the place most associated with the saint as it was there that she founded a nunnery. A visit to Kildare should include stopping at St. Brigid’s Cathedral and Round Tower and dropping into the heritage center to enjoy a virtual reality tour of the town’s history. Here you will meet not only St. Brigid but also the pre-Christian goddess Brigid, as well as other characters from Ireland’s Celtic mythology and medieval past.
Visit Brigid 1500 to learn more about this upcoming event Celebrating A Woman, A Life, a Legacy.