How to make a St Brigid's Cross
Saint Brigid is probably the best known and most beloved Irish saint after Saint Patrick. St Brigid’s Day, February 1st, is also the first day of spring in Ireland, and every Irish person learns how to make a St Brigid’s Cross while they are in national school.
It is traditional to hang a new Saint Brigid’s Cross in your home each year to protect your home from fire.
What is the History of St Brigid's Cross?
Brigid was well known for her healing powers. A well-known story about her is when she went to visit to a dying pagan chieftain. While she prayed for him, she plaited rushes into a cross. She told the chieftain about the cross as a Christian symbol and he was converted and baptised before he died.
Step By Step Guide to making a St Brigid's Cross
Una McDonagh is a native of Inis Oirr, and a local expert tour guide. Learn how to make the famous cross for yourself!
The Brideog Doll on Inis Oirr, Aran Islands
The Brideog Doll is a tradition that was very much a part of the West of Ireland until recent years. It is still going strong on Inis Oirr. Una explains the ritual:
The Brideog is a doll traditionally fashioned out of straw and dressed in white, usually First Holy Communion dress and veil.
The people of the house welcome St. Bridget in and each member is handed the Brideog in turn to bless themselves with her. The head of the household then pulls a little straw out of the doll to make their own St. Bridget’s Crosses. These they hang up in the house and in the stables to protect both the family and the animals from disease and from fire.
St Brigid's Well, Liscannor – the next village to the Cliffs of Moher
There are many holy wells associated with St Brigid throughout Ireland. One of her most famous wells is located in Liscannor, just a mile south of the Cliffs of Moher. It is a sacred space where there is a statue of the saint in a small grotto beside the well.
Many still make the pilgrimage here on her feast day, February 1st, when mass is celebrated. The well is very easy to find – turn left out of the car park at the Cliffs of Moher and on the right hand side you will see the statue of Brigid in her glass case surrounded by a low stone wall.
A Very Special Brigid from Doolin
The name Brigid remains a popular girl’s name in Ireland and is used in various forms – Brigit, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd, Bride, Bea and Biddy. It is a VERY special name to the Garrihy family (four of whom are the directors of Doolin2Aran Ferries) as their beloved mother was also a “Brigid” affectionately known as Biddy.
The “Jack B”, one of our first ships, was named after Biddy and her husband, the late Jack Garrihy.