Kildare is set and ready to begin the Saint Brigid’s Day celebrations this year, bringing together towns, businesses and households across the county. Into Kildare has confirmed plans to illuminate the Hill of Allen for the second time, as part of this year’s festivities to honour Kildare’s very own patron saint.
From Monday 31 January the historic landmark will light up until midnight, and once again on St Brigid’s Day (1 February) from 6pm until midnight. The hill will emit a bright white light to symbolise hope in the new year.
Due to restrictions, there is no access on the evening to ensure public safety.
Members of the public will also be able to view the ‘lighting up’ from their own homes or by logging onto Into Kildare’s Facebook page or visiting the website.
In addition to this, the tourism body for Kildare has confirmed that candles will be available to the public from libraries all across the county as they have called on local communities and businesses to come together and shine their own lights to honour St Brigid on the eve of the celebrations.
There will also be a series of exciting family friendly events, as well as a children’s colouring competition.
Féile Bríde, a week-long festival organised by Solas Bríde, will also be taking place across the week, with a candlelight pilgrimage to St Brigid’s Well on 31 January.
Plans are also in place for a guided walk on the Curragh Plains, and subject to public health guidelines, both in-person and online workshops on the Traditions and Customs associated with Brigid, Annual Celtic Lecture, as well as a number of musical and cultural events.
Speaking ahead of this year’s festival, Into Kildare CEO Áine Mangan said: “Kildare has a deep-rooted connection with St Brigid which dates back many centuries, so it is fitting that we mark and honour the great work she did for the people of Kildare and indeed, Ireland and it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to get out and explore the county’s rich cultural history.
“We are very excited this year to instil an air of hope and positivity to the people of Kildare lighting up of the Hill of Allen once again to mark the resilience and comradery of the people of our county after what has been a difficult couple of years for us all.”
St Brigid’s Day traditionally marks the first day of spring in the Northern hemisphere and has been celebrated by Christians all over the world for centuries. The much-adored Kildare patron saint was born in fifth century, where she built a monastery for men and women around 470AD; pioneering monastic life in Ireland.
Irish missionaries and migrants carried her name and spirit across the world and today, pilgrims and visitors come to Kildare from all over the world seeking to walk in Brigid’s footsteps.
In 2019, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced a worldwide festival to mark St Brigid’s anniversary and celebrate the creativity and talents of Irish women, this is now in its fifth successive year and has received an enthusiastic international response, with over 30 countries around the world participating in 2021, meanwhile preparations are already well underway to mark the 1500-year anniversary of St Brigid’s death in 2024.