Connect to Celtic Christianity on a Legacy of St Brigid tour

Be inspired by the fascinating story of the life and legacy of St Brigid on an immersive tour led by an expert in Christian heritage.

The Legacy of St Brigid tour introduces participants to one of the most important Irish saints – an icon who is revered across the world for her work with the poor and marginalised.

St Brigid is one of Ireland’s three patron saints, together with St Patrick and St Colmcille, and was traditionally commemorated in Ireland each year on 1 February.

The Legacy of St Brigid tour is led by Brigid Watson, a local expert tour guide and environmentalist with a passion for Christian heritage. The tour begins in St Patrick’s Centre in the historic town of Downpatrick , County Down, where the three patron saints are said to be buried.

The centre is the only permanent exhibition dedicated to St Patrick in the world and tells his story through interactive, high-tech, audio-visual presentations.

There is also an excellent display about St Brigid and the ancient traditions associated with her, as well as one on the ancient pagan goddess Brigid or Brid, a figure in Irish mythology. The saint’s feast day is inextricably linked to the Celtic goddess and the ancient festival of Imbolc, the first of the four major ‘fire’ festivals from Gaelic Ireland. A new public holiday in Ireland on the first Monday in February marks both St Brigid’s Day and Imbolc.

Participants on the Legacy of St Brigid tour also get the chance to try their hand at making St Brigid’s crosses from rushes, an ancient tradition that is still practised today in the run up to St Brigid’s Day.

Afterwards the tour takes a short walk to visit the grave of St Brigid, St Patrick and St Colmcille at Downpatrick Cathedral. Downpatrick is an important ecclesiastic centre on the island of Ireland and is the end point of the St Patrick’s Way: The Pilgrim Walk which stretches 130 km from Armagh visiting 10 locations that were important in the life of St Patrick.

2024 marks 1500 since the death of St Brigid and this is being marked by the Brigid 1500 festival which will take place in County Kildare from 27 January to 6 February. The festival will present an extensive line-up of events to celebrate St Brigid in a contemporary way and will be an entertaining opportunity to find out more about the saint and her legacy.