About St. Brigid
St. Brigid, the female patron saint of Ireland was likely born in the 450s and 460s, with the records indicating her death in 524. St. Brigid was alive during a pivotal time in Irish history, as Christianity began to take hold in Ireland. Indeed, she was likely born into a pagan community, converting to Christianity either as a child or teenager.
Just as her life spanned a period of religious change, so too has her legacy. Many associations and attributes linked with the earlier goddess Brigit/Brigantia have become intrinsically linked with the historic St. Brigid. One example is St. Brigid’s feast day of the 1st of February, which falls on the same date as the pagan Imbolc festival that marks the beginning of Spring.
Kildare Town and its surrounds are the spiritual home of St. Brigid in Ireland. It was here that she founded her famous foundation, the first double convent and monastery in Ireland, and here that she was first laid to rest. It is understood that St. Brigid served as the first Abbess in Kildare and for a time oversaw both the nuns and the monks until inviting Conleth of the Dál Messin Corb in Wicklow to govern with her. Conleth was then appointed as Bishop and oversaw the monks.
Many of the miracles attributed to St. Brigid took place in close proximity to Kildare town, and it was an important place of pilgrimage from the Early Medieval Period. Kildare remains a focus of pilgrimage to this day, as people journey from far and wide to engage with the religious and spiritual legacy St. Brigid left behind. That legacy is particularly embodied within St. Brigid’s Cathedral in the heart of Kildare town and at the Solas Bhríde Centre, located on the outskirts of the town.