Thursday, January 26, 2017

Framed St Brigid's crosses for sale

The tradition of placing a fresh St Brigid's Cross in a home on the saint's feast day is a long-established one in Ireland, writes Brian Byrne. A house with a cross is said to be safe from harm, especially from fire.

Indeed, the practice may well pre-date Christianity and be part of the pagan festival of Imbolc, when Brigit was celebrated as a goddess. However, the Christian one is most familiar today, and how it evolved is typically told as follows.

A pagan chieftain from the neighbourhood of Kildare was dying. Christians in his household sent for Brigid to talk to him about Christ. When she arrived, the chieftain was raving. As it was impossible to instruct this delirious man, hopes for his conversion seemed doubtful. Brigid sat down at his bedside and began consoling him. As was customary, the dirt floor was strewn with rushes both for warmth and cleanliness. Brigid stooped down and started to weave them into a cross, fastening the points together. The sick man asked what she was doing. She began to explain the cross, and as she talked, his delirium quieted and he questioned her with growing interest. Through her weaving, he converted and was baptised at the point of death. Since then, the cross of rushes has existed in Ireland. (Ref: Wikipedia.)

A new local take on the St Brigid's Cross has been developed by Niamh O'Connor, who has made miniatures and framed them in her Curious Quirkes series.

They are available in An Tearmann and in Laura's in Athgarvan, for just €10.