St. Brigid of Kildare –the “Lady with the Lamp”

February 1st –The Feast Day of St. Brigid of Kildare

February First is traditionally celebrated as the Feast Day of St. Brigid –or Brigit– of Kildare.

Born to an enslaved mother and a pagan Irish chieftain sometime in the 5th century, Brigid was raised among Druids. Early in the Christian Missionary period she was Baptized & dedicated her life to charity & education eventually founding an art school as well as a convent in Kildare. Often depicted as the “lady with the lamp” –the lamp symbolizes Brigid’s role as a teacher and “bringer of light”– Brigid is celebrated as the protectoress of newborns from ignorance as well as harm.


Brigid’s birthplace –once the Kingdom of Kildare, now the County–  is an inland county, just west of Dublin, Beautiful Kildare is woven through with some of Ireland’s most important rivers –including the Barrow, the Boyne and the Liffey. Once a part of the Kingdom of Leinster, Kildare already had an ancient history –stretching back to at least the Bronze Age– when St. Brigid founded a religious community there sometime in the early sixth century. Later in the ninth century Kildare’s rivers made it easy for Viking raiders –moving inland from Dublin– to establish an area of settlement known as the Dyflinkarskiri. However, famous as Kildare is for its fish it is even more famous for its horses and, in recent centuries, its horse races. (In the early 20th century Kildare was also the site of one of Ireland’s first motor races.) Kildare will always be most famous for its most celebrated daughter, St. Brigid of Kildare.