Latest Laois News: New Poem by Laois Poet celebrates St. Brigid

Latest Laois News: New Poem by Laois Poet celebrates St. Brigid

St. Brigid; the ‘Light of Kildare’, celebrated with new poem

#Herstory #Brigid1500 #StBrigidsDay #LáFhéileBríde

On Brigid’s Day 2022, Kildare lit up with stunning artistic representations of Brigid – shining a light on the life and legend of this amazing woman, Saint and Goddess. Iconic landmarks across the county including Kilkea Castle near Athy, Kildare Cathedral, Newbridge Town Hall and The Wonderful Barn, Leixlip featured in the momentous Herstory Light Show co-produced with Dodeca. 

To create a lasting memory of the lightshow, Kildare County Council with Kildare’s Creative Ireland team commissioned Herstory’s Poet in Residence, Laura Murphy to write a tribute poem for Brigid and to produce a concept film to showcase the event. 

Laura Murphy, Herstory poet-in-residence, before the illuminations at St. Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare Town. Photo by Steve O’Connor

Crowds who had gathered to soak in the magic were captivated by Murphy’s performances of the poem ‘Is Mise Bríd’. When speaking about the inspiration behind her poem, Murphy explains;

“It’s been over 1500 years since St. Brigid walked these lands and longer still since the time of Goddess Brigid, yet She has much to offer us today. A guiding light for some of Ireland’s greatest humanitarians and revolutionaries including Grace O’ Malley, Lady Gregory and Maud Gonne, Brigid has been a source of inspiration in my own life too. 

Goddess Brigid and St. Brigid are not the same person per se, but the same qualities run through them both, and they both hold a hugely significant place in Irish history.  My intention with this poem was to demonstrate the magic that happens when I, as a woman and citizen of 21st century Ireland, embodies and emulates the spirit of Brigid.”

Kildare Arts Officer Lucina Russell, says “St. Brigid is the patroness of poetry and creativity. She also holds many qualities that are needed in our world today such as peace, generosity, healing, truth, justice and compassion. With the announcement of a new public holiday in Her honour from 2023 and ahead of her 1500th anniversary in 2024, we are delighted to have commissioned this beautiful tribute to Her.”

Laura Murphy, Herstory poet-in-residence, talking to children during the Brigid’s Day festivities in Kildare Town. Photo by Ciarán Dunlevy

This year’s Herstory Light Show was a powerful tribute to the Goddess and the Saint.” says Melanie Lynch, Herstory’s CEO and Creative Director. “I was inspired by the enlightened creative process of our Poet in Residence Laura Murphy and visual artists Non Waters, Courtney Davis, Jim Fitzpatrick and local Newbridge artist Bernie Sexton. Today we need both the Saint and the Goddess. The Saint because she represents early Irish Christianity which has been somewhat lost over the centuries. The Goddess offers a window into our ancient past and the wisdom of Celtic spirituality, rooted in reverence for nature. In this era of ecological crisis, it’s time to reawaken symbiotic love for Mother Earth and in the words of philosopher John Moriarty, ‘remember how to walk beautifully on the earth again.’

From the heart of Kildare, Herstory is calling on all counties and diaspora centres across the world to illuminate for the first official national holiday on Brigid’s Day 2023. From the shadows into the light, this will be a joyous celebration of all Mná and the rise of the feminine for a more equal, balanced and better world.