During the new bank holiday, many national events will recognise the role of women in Ireland’s arts and cultural heritage. St Brigid’s Day celebrates the official start of spring (Imbolc), with many events incorporating themes of growth and renewal …
In Celtic mythology, Brigid was a triple goddess – of healing, fire, and of poetry – and the Christian saint who took her name, born in 450 AD, carried some of those same associations as the patron saint of poets and midwives. Holding a unique position in the early Irish church, she established a settlement at Kildare in 480 AD which grew from humble beginnings into a thriving egalitarian monastery that was acclaimed as a centre of education, pilgrimage, and hospitality and where she ruled as Abbess over a dual community of women and men who practised equally, side-by-side.
During the new bank holiday, many national events will recognise the role of women in Ireland’s arts and cultural heritage. St Brigid’s Day also celebrates the official start of spring (Imbolc), with many events incorporating themes of growth and renewal.
Visit IMMA and The National Museum of Ireland, Dublin
IMMA will open “Irish Gothic”, a major retrospective by renowned Irish artist Patricia Hurl. This marks the first in a series of solo exhibitions at IMMA that will focus on Irish and international women artists throughout the year. The National Museum of Ireland – Collins Barracks will also present Bonnets, Bandoliers and Ballot Papers, which offers an insight into the changing role of women during the first decades of the 20th century through the lens of artefacts in the collection.
Look out for Herstory Light Shows
Around the country, there will be a range of community based events organised by the local authorities. One such is Herstory Light Show illuminating a number of local landmarks with art of Brigid and Irish goddesses across several locations in Ireland. A giant Sliabh na mBan Cloak prepared by local women will also be unveiled in Tipperary.
In Galway, Herself – a large scale public projection project – will take place on February 4. Artists Shona MacGillivray and Jill Beardsworth have identified women whose lives and work embody the qualities for which Brigid is known. Individual moving portraits of each woman have been filmed and layered with visuals representing their “Brigid” qualities. The images will be projected at dusk on the neo-classical courthouse building in Gort town square over the bank holiday weekend. The project illuminates those women who work quietly in the background, nurturing, protecting, growing, healing, listening and making our world a better place to be.
Check out the programme for Brigit: Dublin City Celebrating Women
This runs from February 1-6 and includes a city-wide programme highlighting the stories of Irish women through the ages, and welcoming the beginning of spring. Forager and herbalist Feebee Foran, artist and illustrator Eva Kelly, teacher and psychotherapist Dr Karen Ward will lead walking tours inspired by Dublin’s women past and present.
Visit Imbolc Fair
On Sunday, February from 12-4pm, Meeting House Square, Dublin will be transformed into an Imbolc Village welcoming spring. In honour of Brigid as a patron of poetry, pop in for a chat with resident poet Osaro who will help participants craft their own poetic masterpiece. Or visitors can learn about the art of blacksmithing, join a women’s weaving circle, or connect to their inner goddess with an Imbolc Tarot reading.
Check out this concert at Hugh Lane Gallery
To honour Brigid through song and music, Hugh Lane Gallery will be staying open late and celebrating with an evening of new performances in its “Leave the Door Open” concert, hosted by artist Isadora Epstein with musicians and artists such as Aisling-ór níAodha, Stéphane Béna Hanly, Róisín ní Haicéid, and Meabh McKenna. And throughout the week, drop by Barnardos Square after dark to take in a light projection designed by Irish illustrator Bronagh Lee from February 1-6.
Book The St Brigid’s Healing Escape at The K Club
This luxurious two-day retreat combines five-star accommodation and a tailored programme of healing sessions. After a 50-minute Grounding Ritual at The K Spa, guests have a choice of meditation, sound healing, yoga flow sessions or a wellness walk in the gorgeous surroundings. Available from February 3-6, rates start from €329 per night based on a two-night stay and include breakfast, and wellness class in addition to the grounding ritual; www.kclub.ie.
Visit Powerscourt Distillery Visitor’s Centre, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow
On Sunday, February 5 in its Visitor Centre, guests are invited to a special programme of free and ticketed events which draw on Brigid’s associations with food, farming, dairying, brewing, hospitality and love of nature. The programme for Sunday, includes whiskey tastings and masterclasses, food and whiskey pairings, cocktail classes, discussion panels, performances, live music as well as an artisan food, drink and craft market. For booking information and further details visit, www.powerscourtdistillery.com.
Book this online lecture
The annual online Chester Beatty Lecture attracts a worldwide audience, and this year will be led by Dr Sara Parks, from Nova Scotia on Wednesday February 8 at 6pm. Her theme, “Fragments: Lost Stories of Ancient Women,”. Dr Parks is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, St Francis Xavier University. To book visit www.chesterbeatty.ie.
Participate in the Pause for Peace movement
This initiative, spearheaded by IntoKildare. will see the residents of Co Kildare calling on people all around the world to stop for a minute’s silence at 12 noon on February 1.
Explore Living Canvas’ Stories of Valour and Home
Living Canvas has a special Brigit 2023 programme which offers food for thought through the lens of a series of extraordinary artworks. As the largest outdoor screen (in Europe!) dedicated to art, Living Canvas at Wilton Park on the banks of the Grand Canal will be launching Stories of Valour and Home which explores themes of shelter, safety, and support, alongside the equally powerful idea of knowing what is worth defending. Look out for works by Joy Gerrard, Anita Groener, Myfanwy Frost Jones and Carol Freeman, extracts from The Poetry Project showcasing artwork by Grace Weir, Clea van der Grijn, Susan Tiger, Anne Ffrench (pictured), Poppy Hunt and Kate Gordon, and works responding to poetry by Enda Wylie, Vona Groarke, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Derek Mahon, Iggy McGovern and Theo Dorgan. www.iput.com/living-canvas.
For more information on St Brigid’s Day visit www.ireland.ie.