History of Halloween 1st-3rd Class

Here are some resources if you plan on teaching about the history of Halloween which might come in handy for you.

If you have any resources you also would not mind sharing please send them to fearasscoile@gmail.com it would be much appreciated and thank you to everyone for sharing so far.

  1. History of Halloween  with worksheet based on the lesson
  2. PowerPoint on History of Halloween

History of Halloween 


Halloween falls on the 31st October of every year and is a time when people dress in scary costumes, go trick or treating and play traditional Halloween games, such as apple bobbing. All Hallow’s Eve. The first day of November was celebrated by the Catholic Church as All Hallow’s Day when they took time to say their prayers to the Saints. Such as Saint Patrick.

The date of Halloween, 31st October, let people know that it was the end of the Irish year and was believed to be the day when the ghosts of those who died during the year would come back and scare the people who were still living. That is why people wear scary costumes in order to frighten the scary ghosts off.

Trick or treating nowadays involves dressing up in costumes and knocking on neighbours doors for treats. If treats are not given then tricks are played on the neighbour. But we don’t do things like that anymore as we are always nice to our neighbours!

Apple bobbing is a game traditionally played on Halloween. A number of apples are placed in a large bowl of water. Players have to try to catch one of the apples using only their teeth. The hands must remain behind the back at all times.


Can you think of any other games that might be played on Halloween night?

Worksheet based on the above lesson: history-of-halloween-worksheet


History Of Halloween

Halloween falls on the _____ ______of every year and is a time when people dress in scary costumes, go ____ __ _______ and play traditional Halloween games, such as apple bobbing.

The date of Halloween, 31st October, let people know that it was the end of the holy year and was believed to be the day when the _____ of those who died during the year would come back and scare the people who were still living. That is why people wear _____ costumes in order to frighten the scary ghosts off.

Trick or treating today is all about dressing up in costumes and ______ on neighbours doors for treats. If treats are not given then tricks are played on the neighbour. But we don’t do things like that anymore as we are always nice to our neighbours!

_____ _______ is a game traditionally played on Halloween. A few apples are placed in a big bowl of water. Players have to try to catch one of the apples using only their _____. The hands must remain behind the back at all times.

Can you think of any other games that might be played on Halloween night?


31st October     scary knocking teeth

 trick or treating ghosts Apple bobbing


2. PowerPoint  halloween


Oisin agus Niamh as Gailge

Link here: oisin fearasscoile all items on website are copyrighted use for educational purposes only. Oisinoisin1oisin2oisin3oisin4oisin5oisin6

Conas mar a fuair Cú Chulainn a Anim

Here is a PowerPoint gathered as Gaeilge about Cú Chulainn.

link here: CUCHULAINN Gaeilge

Second PowerPoint

CUCHULAINN Gaeilgecu4cu3

This is not my own work. No copyright intended. Use for educational purposes only.

St. Patrick

Here is a lesson about St. Patrick which includes PowerPoints, interactive links, songs, videos and worksheets.

Here is what is listed:

  1. PowerPoint for Junior Infants to First Class
  2. Interactive website BBC northern Ireland (excellent) lesson about St. Patrick
  3. PowerPoint for Second Class to Sixth
  4. PowerPoint for Gaeilscoil as gaeilge
  5. Sequencing activity Junior Infants to First Class
  6. Sequencing activity First to Third Class
  7. Little Book template for St. Patrick’s Day
  8. St Patrick’s story printable for Fifth and Sixth Class
  9. St Patrick’s worksheet Junior Infants to Third Class
  10. St. Patrick and the Druids story to print
  11. Video about Saint Patrick Junior ages
  12. Video about Saint Patrick Senior ages
  13. Song about St. Patrick wit words

1. PowerPoint for Junior Infants to First Class                                                                                                           link here:story_of_st_patrick_juniors_1sp11sp12


2. Interactive website. Great lesson about St. Patrick made by the BBC Northern Ireland which is available as Gaeilge too for Gaelscoils. All classes 

link here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/saintpatrick/en/additional/glossary/


3. PowerPoint 2nd up if adapted

Story of St Patrick 2 3rd upsp1sp2sp3

4. Naomh Padraig PowerPoint as Gaeilge for Gaelscoil

link: naomhpadraigsp4sp5sp6

5. Sequencing activity Junior to Second Class


link here: fearasscoile Saint Patrick Sequencing

6. Sequencing sentences First to Third Class

link here:Sequence the story of St P 2

Sequence the story of St. Patrick


Patrick was born in Wales.


Patrick was captured and sold as a slave.


Patrick worked on the farm.


He had a dream.  God was calling him.


Patrick became a priest.


Patrick spread the word of God using the Shamrock.

7. Little Book of Saint Patrick’s Day Junior Infants to First Class

My little book of St Patrick’s daysp7


8. St. Patrick story printabe for fifth and sixth class

Link here: Saint_Patrick_and_the_Snakes 2

Saint Patrick and the Snakes


Moral:  Help will always be given if we know how to ask for it.


The High King of Ireland was at his wits end.  His face looked as if it had been carved from granite as he stared moodily at the long line of his subjects queuing up to demand an audience with him.  The air at his court buzzed with furious complaint.  The people were angry and with good reason.  The green land of Ireland was suffering from a plague of snakes.

The sinister reptiles were everywhere.  It had reached the stage where people didn’t dare sit down on a chair without checking to see that there wasn’t one hiding beneath the cushion and no one would think of putting on their boots without shaking them first to see if a snake fell out.

“You must do something, Sire,” cried the people.

“Yes, I know,” he replied miserably.  “But the question is – what?


At that very moment a tall man in a flowing white robe strode into the courtyard.  His eyes were the colour of the Irish sea in winter and in his right hand he carried a long wooden staff.  He hammered on the ground with the staff and everybody turned to look at him.

“Who are you and what do you want?” demanded the High King.

“My name is Patrick and I have come to rid this land of snakes,” answered the stranger in a voice that rang like a bell.


As soon as they heard these words the people began to cheer and dance with relief.  Even the High King could not resist a smile.

“Then you are indeed welcome,” he said.  “But tell me how are you going to accomplish this tricky feat?”

“I shall use my staff and the power of prayer,” replied Patrick.

The King’s face fell.  “Prayers are no good,” he said.  “We’ve prayed to all our gods to rid us of this curse but, if anything, there are now even more snakes than before.”  He shook his head sadly.

“I am not talking about your gods,” said Patrick.  “I believe in the one true God and it is his power that I shall use.”

The High king looked very doubtful but said, “Very well then, Patrick.  If your God can help you drive out the snakes then I and all my people will worship your God and your God alone.”


Once he had the High King’s promise that the land of Ireland would become Christian if he succeeded, Patrick left the palace and marched up to the top of a cliff.  The wild waters of the ocean foamed and seethed far below.  Patrick raised his wooden staff above his head and brought in crashing down on the ground.  His voice roared out on the wind as he commanded the snakes to be gone.


The people could hardly believe their eyes as in a creeping, slithering mass the snakes came out of their hiding places and crawled to the edge of the cliff.  For a second the carpet of reptiles paused then they reared up and flung themselves off the cliff into the raging waters of the Irish sea.


There were wild celebrations as the High King and his people rejoiced that the snakes’ reign of terror was over but then Patrick ordered them all to be silent.

“What is it?” asked the crowd.  “What’s the matter?”

“That is the matter,” replied Patrick gravely and he pointed with his staff at a large, evil looking serpent that was slowly making its way towards them.


When the creature came within earshot it reared up and cursed Patrick.

“You have sent my followers to the bottom of the sea,” it hissed.  “But I shall destroy you.”

“Why destroy me when I have the power to give you something that you have always wanted?” asked Patrick.

“What is that?” said the curious reptile.

“A beautiful house of wood,” replied Patrick.

The huge serpent looked sceptical.

“You are the King of the snakes are you not?” asked Patrick.  “So surely you deserve a fine place to live now that you have no subjects left?  Just think how warm and comfortable it will be in winter.”


The snake considered what the Saint had said and then agreed that he would like a comfortable home.  So Patrick sent for carpenters and they quickly constructed a beautifully carved wooden box.  When it was finished, Patrick opened the lid and invited the reptile to slither inside and inspect its new house.  The snake refused.

“That box is far too small,” it said.  “I’ll never squeeze my coils into it.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” snapped Patrick.  “There’s room enough for ten snakes in there.”

“Oh no there isn’t,” said the snake sibilantly.

“Oh yes there is,” shouted Patrick.

“And I say there isn’t,” retorted the serpent.

“So why don’t you prove it?” snarled the irate saint.

“All right I will,” replied the angry creature and promptly wriggled inside the box.  The last part of its long body poked out.

“You see, I told you I wouldn’t fit,” cried the creature in triumph.

“But you do,” yelled Saint Patrick as he leapt forward, shoved the tip of the snake’s tail into the box and slammed the lid shut.  No sooner had he done this than he picked up the wooden coffin and hurled it over the cliff into the sea.  It was quickly swept out of sight over the horizon by the wind, the waves and the tide.


The High King and his subjects were all so grateful to Patrick that they all agreed to let him baptise them on the spot.  And, as for the snakes, well they haven’t been seen in Ireland from that day to this.

© Roger Hurn 2012



Teachers’ Notes and Key Questions


The life story of St. Patrick is a mixture of history and legend. He was born in Wales but was kidnapped by sea raiders and sold in Ireland as a slave. He mastered the Irish language before making his escape to Gaul. The religious life appealed to him and he was ordained as a deacon, then priest and finally as a bishop. Pope Celestine then sent him back to Ireland to preach the gospel. Patrick was a great traveller, especially in Celtic countries, and many places in Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are named after him.


Patrick is world famous for having driven the snakes from Ireland. While it is true there are no snakes in Ireland today, this is because snakes have not been found in Ireland since it was separated from continental Europe at the end of the ice age. However, the serpent was a powerful symbol in pagan religions and an object of worship. Driving the snakes from Ireland was almost certainly symbolic of Patrick bringing an end to that pagan practice.


Although not the first Christian missionary to visit Ireland, Patrick had the greatest impact.  He gained the upper hand when he clashed with the Druids at Tara, the Court of the High King of Ireland.  By the force of his arguments and preaching he persuaded the King to break with the Druids and to prevent them from practising their beliefs. Patrick then converted the warrior chiefs and princes.  He baptized them, and thousands of their subjects, in the Holy Wells which still survive to this day as place names.


According to tradition St. Patrick died on 17 March 461 AD and was buried in the same grave as St. Bridget and St. Columba, at Downpatrick, County Down. The jawbone of St. Patrick was preserved in a silver shrine and believed to have healing powers.  However, another legend says St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury in England and was buried there. The desperate desire displayed by churches in the Middle Ages to possess the bodies, or at least the relics of saints, accounts for the many differing traditions as to the burial place of St. Patrick.


Key Questions


  • How likely is it that Patrick really did drive out the snakes from Ireland?
  • Why do you think the legend has grown?
  • Why do you think Patrick became the patron saint of Ireland?
  • Why do people make up stories about people like Patrick?
  • If the story about Patrick and the snakes isn’t true do you think it is wrong for people to keep on telling it?


A Celtic Prayer (Optional)


Please close your eyes and listen quietly while I read this Irish prayer.


May God bless all the land from sea to shining sea

The fertile mountains, the gladed woods

The abundant rivers and the fish-abounding lakes.  Amen 


Bible Links


Mark 5 8:13 (The Gadarene Swine)

Mark 16 17:18 (Casting out demons)

Mark 17 19:21 (Faith can move mountains)


© Roger Hurn 2012


9. St. Patrick worksheet for Senior Infants to Third (adapted)


link here: st_patrick_worksheet

10. St. Patrick and the Druids story Fourth, Fifth and Sixth


link to word document here: St-Patrick-and-the-Druids 2

During his life, St Patrick convinced many Irish people to become Christians. This was against the wishes of the powerful druid priests, who worshipped Pagan gods. There are several legends that tell of the struggle between Patrick and the druids. One explains how Patrick converted an important Irish king at the Hill of Slane, in Tara. This is the story of that conversion:

The Legend of St Patrick and the King of Tara

It was the tradition for Christians to light bonfires during the Holy Week of Easter. In the same week, King Laeghaire of Tara, and his druids, were also celebrating a Pagan festival. The king had decreed that no other fire should be lit until the fire at his stronghold was in full blaze.

Patrick and his Christian priests were visiting the region, and against the wishes of the king, lit an Easter bonfire on the Hill of Slane, not far from the king’s residence.

When the king saw the flames, he was furious that his law had been disobeyed. He sent his son and the druid priests to punish whoever had lit the fire. The druids tried to put out Patrick’s fire, but they found that they were unable to extinguish the flames. They tried throwing on water, and then soil, but each time, the flames sprang back into life. The king’s son was amazed and, upon seeing the power of Patrick, fell to his knees and prayed to God.

The druids were furious and unwilling to admit defeat. After insisting that Patrick should visit the palace the next day, they returned to inform the king.

The king had no intention of letting Patrick reach his stronghold and set a trap. He hid his soldiers along the road, ready to capture Patrick when he passed by. Patrick and his entourage were sure to be killed, but instead, with God’s help, they walked past the trap unharmed. Instead of Patrick and his followers, the soldiers believed that they had seen a small herd of deer.

When St Patrick arrived at the palace, the king was astonished to see him alive.

Next, the king challenged Patrick to take part in a magical contest against his chief druid. The druid cast many spells, such as bringing snow and covering the room in darkness.

Instead of competing, Patrick challenged the druid to now remove the spells. However, Patrick had called upon God to block the druid’s power. The room was left in cold and darkness, to the annoyance of the king. Patrick himself then prayed – the darkness lifted and the snow disappeared.

Other challenges were set but Patrick continued to block the druid’s magic. Finally, King Laeghaire knelt before St Patrick and agreed to become a Christian, acknowledging the power of God. When the king’s subjects learned that their king had become a Christian, many of them followed his lead and converted too.

10. Links for fifth and sixth


worksheet pack https://issuu.com/worldirish/docs/st.patricksdayschools/5?e=0/1671470

11. Video about St. Patrick (I noticed one or two errors in information so I would just correct these as the video is playing)



12. Video about St. Patrick for 3rd to 6th class


13. St. Patrick’s Day Song

Words available here too http://thespeks.bandcamp.com/track/saint-patricks-day



Farming Long Ago and Now

Farming Long Ago and Now

  1. PowerPoint showing some basic changes to farming including ploughing, stacking hay, and how dairy farming has changed:

Farming Machines long ago and now madefarming1farming2farming3farming4farming5farming6


2. Website with good good pictures and explanations about Farming in Ireland long ago




3. Game for Farming Long Ago and Now also available on the website where you have to click on the items that do not belong in the farmyard scene:




4. Sorting cards of images for Farming Long Ago and Now 

farming long ago and now


5. Wonderful interactive game with Barnaby Bear where you pick items that do not belong in the farm scene today with audio and audio explanations if you wish. 




Easter 1916 Rising


Below you will find resources sourced from the web about 1916. I have brought most of the resources available to me into one place in the hopes that all teachers won’t have to do the same searching online for what they are looking for.

Please comment on the post if you have any good links you can add and I will happily update this post. If you have any presentations you would be willing to share please email fearasscoile@gmail.com this is to become a sharing platform so it would be much appreciated.

I realise the hard work that goes into creating worksheets and resources. I just think its madness not to share what we have with one another and in return you will hopefully find something here that will be of use to you in the future.

List of resources in order as follows:

  1. Video about the Rising
  2. PowerPoints
  3. Video about the Personalities involved
  4. Website link for full lessons about the 1916 Rising and worksheets
  5. Military Archive with excellent resources on
    • Final days and execution of 16 leaders
    • The Complexity of Loyalty
    • Women in Easter Week
    • Proclamation of the Irish Republic
    • Women in 1916
    • Courtroom dramas
    • Mapping sites of Action and more.
  6. GPO website with activities to do with your class
  7. BBC website about 1916
  8. RTE link to articles published at the time, videos, and advertisements
  9. Link to the Proclamation
  10. Askaboutireland.ie a website suitable for the IWB which shows the timeline of 1916 and information on each leader
  11. Quiz for IWB about 1916 could be used as a team activity in class
  12. The Signatories of the Proclamation; links to information on eac
  13. The Irish Civil War
  14. Leaders in the years post 1916
  15. Excellent workbook based on 1916
  16. Workbook for younger or differentiated work
  17. Workbook with cartoon sequencing, bibliographies, and interviews
  18. Worksheet where children must figure out the questions from the answers given
  19. Free IBook about 1916 for Teachers
  20. Stories of 1916 (Rich archive of little-known accounts of of Easter Week 1916. Includes texts, videos and podcasts.)
  21. Weblinks to 1916 websites
  22. Letter of 1916. This is a great website with letters from 1916.
  23. Songs from 1916. Weblink to songs
  24. Song about Grace Gifford
  25. Photographs


  1. Video about the Rising 


2. Easter Rising PowerPoints

First PowerPoint sourced from http://www.seomraranga.com/2012/02/the-easter-rising/

easter risingeaster rising2easter rising3

link here: easter_rising powerpoint

Another PowerPoint about the Easter Rising Conflict

There are 23 PowerPoint pages in this one. 

link here: 2._Easter_Rising_conflict 2


3. VIDEO about the Personalities involved in the 1916 Rising

This video explains a little about the personalities involved in the 1916 Rising, as well as the results of the Rising. It contains some actual video footage from the time.


4. Excellent website for the 1916 Rising with links to worksheets for each lesson.



1916 website

5. Millitary archive website with excellent information on

  • Final days and execution of 16 leaders
  • The Complexity of Loyalty
  • Women in Easter Week
  • Proclamation of the Irish Republic
  • Women in 1916
  • Courtroom dramas
  • Mapping sites of Action and more.


6. The GPO and the 1916 Rising 

Suggested activities for senior primary and second level on the Easter Rising as well as some history of the GPO.



7. BBC website for the 1916 Rising 

Explores the history of the 1916 Rising and includes sections on the aftermath and profiles of the main participants. There is also a radio archive, rebel songs and eyewitness accounts. Probably one of the most accessible digital resources on the Rising and associated events of the time.


bbc rising

8. RTE

A page dedicated to 1916 information with old advertisements and articles from the time available along with videos and programmes from RTE about the Rising.


rte 1916.PNG

9. Click for a link to the full Proclamation

click here: http://ireland.iol.ie/~dluby/proclaim.htm


10. Full stories of the 1916 Rising. Website suitable for IWB


This is a great website I found, which walks through the timeline of 1916, from before and after with details of leaders.

Here is the information you will find on the site.



11. Quiz on the 1916 Rising 



12.  The Signatories of the Proclamation

Link below to learn about each of the Signatories.


Other information on the website includes:

list again

Pádraig MacPiarais
(10 November 1879 – 3 May 1916)

Thomas J. Clarke
(11 March 1857 – 3 May 1916)

Thomas MacDonagh
(1 February 1878 – 3 May 1916)

Joseph Mary Plunkett
(21 November 1887 – 4 May 1916)

Éamonn Ceannt
(21 September 1881 – 8 May 1916)

James Connolly
(5 June 1868 – 12 May 1916)

Seán Mac Diarmada
(28 February 1883 – 12 May 1916)

13. Quick Explanation of The Irish Civil War


Quick explanation of the Irish civil war.PNG

14. Leaders in the years post 1916

leaders in the years post 1916

Éamon De Valera: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/people/eamon.htm

Michael Collins:http://www.generalmichaelcollins.com/



15. Excellent Workbook here. 19 pages in total. 

This workbook has fantastic worksheets and activities based on the 1916 Rising. Have a look below the link at some of the worksheets which can be found here. I think this one is a hidden gem.  There are 19 pages in total.


Slideshow of the worksheets below:

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16. More simple workbook 27 pages in total

found here: http://www.elsp.ie/subjectsS/JC/history/History%20Topic%20-%20The%20Easter%20Rising%201916.pdf

Here are some of the worksheets which can be found at this link. Please note there are more worksheets in this link than are pictured below. There are 27 pages in total.

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17. Worksheet: 

Another great resource which you can print off free and use here: http://www.collaborativelearning.org/ireland1916.pdf

Here there are cartoons and bibliographies which can be used like this:


And there are Biographies from 1916 and Interviews from 1922 which can be used like this:


18. Worksheet. Answers given and the children must write the questions. 

write the answer

link here: The 1916 Rising and Glasnevin Cemetery 2

19. FREE IBOOK  about 1916

iBook: 1916 : a year that shaped Ireland by Nerve Centre

22. Letter of 1916

St. Brigid

Hi, here is some fearas I have sourced off the web. I hope it saves you some time. Please scroll down to find your class level:

PowerPoint for the younger classes

Junior Infants to First Class

Here is a link to St. Brigid’s Cloak story being read aloud, here it can be found as gaeilge too.



Link to the PowerPoint here:  st_brigid_02

Here is what is included in the PowerPoint on the link above:





words to the song and music notes.

This is a good website for this information: http://www.godsongs.net/2012/11/we-sing-song-to-brigid-bridget.html



We sing a song to Brigid,
Brigid brings the spring
Awakens all the fields and the flowers
And calls the birds to sing.

All were welcome at her door,
no one was turned away.
She loved the poor, the sick and the sore,
She helped them on their way.

She laid her cloak out on the ground
And watched it grow and grow,
In wells and streams and fields of green
St. Brigid’s blessings flow.



Senior Infants – 3rd Class

Here is a more detailed version:


Link to the PowerPoint here:   st_brigid_2



3rd to 6th Class or altered slightly for younger levels

Here is a PDF which is much more detailed from file:///G:/1.%20Senior%20infanrs%202015/5.%20January/StBridget.pdf

Click for the PDF here: StBridget

Here is what is in the PDF



St. Brigid’s Crosses

Good website here that shows step to step how to make the crosses for the younger classes too! http://www.catholicicing.com/how-to-make-a-st-brigids-cross-with-kids/

Start with 1 straight pipe cleaner. Place a folded pipe cleaner over it. Rotate it once to the left, and add another pipe cleaner. Rotate it once to the left, and add another pipe cleaner. Rotate it once to the left, and …. well, I think you’re starting to understand. It’s actually very easy once you get going! Ever time you add a pipe cleaner, you put it over all of the pieces sticking up. Then rotate and repeat. When the cross has gotten to your desired size, cut some small sections of pipe cleaner, and twist the ends together. We made this one using the colors of the Irish flag!







Information about St. Brigid Traditions:

Found on the below website:

There are a number of traditions associated with St. Brigid. The St. Brigids Cross The most characteristic and most widespread Irish custom connected with St. Brigid’s Eve was the making of the “cros Bríde”or “Bogha Bríde” (St. Brigid’s Cross) to invoke protection. The most usual type was very simple in design but of course these were variations – one of these in fact, was adopted as its symbol by Radio Telefís Eireann, the Irish broadcasting service. The making of the crosses was attended with some ceremony. In the southern half of the country the cross was sprinkled with holy waters, hung up above or close to the entrance door with an appropriate prayer but in the northern of the country the ritual was much more elaborate, especially in Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, most parts of Ulster and also in the Dundalk area of Co. Louth: One of the family, a girl, representing the Saint leaves the house and when outside knocks three times to gain admittance. She carries rushes in her hands. Each time on knocking she says: “Teighidh sibh ar bhus nglúna, déaraidh sibh umhlaíocht, agus ligigidh Bríd Bheannachtach isteach”. (Which means “Go down on your knees, do homage and let Blessed Brigid enter the house”). When this has been said for the third time, those inside respond ” O tar isteach, tá céad fáilte romhat”. (O, Come in, you are a hundred times welcome). Then she enters and places the rushes on the table. The supper has already been laid out on the table and the following grace is recited by the father and mother: “Beannaigh sinn, a Dhia, beannaigh ár mbiadh agus ár ndeach, is tú a cheannaigh sinn go daor, soar sinn ar gach olc!” (Bless us, O God, bless our food and our drink; it is Thou who has redeemed us at great price, deliver us form all evil!). When the supper was eaten the parents recite a long thanksgiving prayer. In explanation of why the crosses were made and put up tradition without hesitation answers ‘protection’. Protection against fire, storm and lightening is the most usual reason given but also illness and disease. We have made St. Brigid’s Crosses and examples of these are shown on the ‘Decorations’ page. The Candlelight Procession On the eve of St. Brigid’s Day, there is a candlelight procession from Faughart graveyard, the location of St. Brigid’s Well, past St. Brigid’s Shrine up to Kilcurry Church, approximately 3 miles away. Then prayers are said, including the Rosary. St. Brigid’s Well The graveyard in Faughart, just outside Dundalk, Co. Louth, is the location of an old well, normally associated with St. Brigid. It is said that the water in the Well rises on her feast day, February 1st. The graveyard is actually at one of the highest points in the area, and therefore so too is the Well. This makes the myth all the more interesting, as a well normally has located at a low point, landwise to get water. We visited this Well, and the photos are shown. St. Brigid’s Well, Faughart St. Brigid’s Well, Faughart   St. Brigid’s Well, Faughart     The Brídeóg In many places of Ireland one of the main features of St. Brigid’s Eve was that groups of people went from house to house carrying a symbol of the saint. They were welcomed always by the householders since they announced that they were bringing St. Brigid’s blessing to the household. Sometimes they carried numerous Brigid’s crosses and they gave one to the head of each house, however usually it was accepted that the girl who carried the symbol was the most beautiful and modest of them all. In many cases of Co. Louth and Co. Armagh, there were traditions associated with “Brigid’s Shield” (Sciath Bhrighid) and Brigid’s Crown (Coróin Bhrigid) where the most beautiful girl of a particular area wearing a crown of rushes, a shield on her left arm and a cross in her right hand, was escorted by a group of young girls from house to house on Brigid’s Eve – or Brigid’s Morning, and that special prayers and ceremonies were observed! St. Brigid’s Ribbon There was also customs associated with ‘ribín Bríghid’ (St. Brigid’s ribbon) whereby a silk ribbon was placed on the windowsill during the night in honour of the Saint. The general belief was that the Saint going about the country on the Eve of her feast, would touch the ribín and endow it with healing powers. Some believed that the healing powers only improved with age and that its healing power was greatest after it had been kept for seven years. As well as relieving illness, it could cure barrenness, help women in childbirth and ward off evil influences. There is also a tradition, which believes that hoarfrost, gathered from the grass on the morning of St. Brigid’s day, is an infallible cure for headache. Many people also brought water from a well dedicated to the Saint and sprinkled it on the house and its occupants, farm builders, livestock and fields, invoking the blessing of the Saint. Source of some of the above: The Year in Ireland – Kevin Donagher ^TOP   http://www.iol.ie/~marist/halo/halobridgid/bridgidtrads.html There are many different theories about St. Brigid’s life. We did extensive research in the local library. We had a guided tour of the graveyard where St. Brigid’s Well in Faughart is located. We also visited St. Brigid’s Shrine, where we heard the different myths about St. Brigid, which are explained below. These tours were given by local historian and guide, Mr Hugh Smyth. One Possibility….. Brigid’s story begins in 453 AD. She was born the illegitimate daughter of Brocessa, a slave girl, and Dubthach, a pagan chieftan of Faughart, which is situated just 2 miles from Dundalk. Both Brigid and her mother were banished from Faughart after she was born, but she returned as a young woman to be reclaimed by her father as was customary in those times, but Brigid was never accepted by her stepmother who tried to sell her to the King of Leinster. The King of Leinster, himself a Christian, persuaded her father to grant her freedom, which he did and on gaining her freedom Brigid went in search of her mother Brocessa. On finding her ill, Brigid insisted on taking over her mother’s role as a slave of the household. Her master, a druid, was amazed at this and granted her mother her freedom, so Brigid, having arranged to have her mother looked after, returned to Faughart. St. Brigid’s Shrine Stone with imprint of St. Brigid’s eye   Brigid was extremely beautiful and had many suitors, among them a poet whose rank in Celtic Ireland was next to roytalty. Her father, who was arranging the marriage, would not listen to Brigid’s protests, so she prayed that God would take away her beauty and tradition relates that Brigid’s skin was destroyed by a horrible disease. Legend has it that she cast her eye and fired it against a stone, which left an imprint. It is also said that her long hours kneeling in prayer left the marks of her knees in the rock. Faughart became a place of pilgrimage by people of a Christian faith. The rite of episcopal conservation was read over Brigid by mistake so she became, in a sense, a female bishop. This rite was never revoked, as the bishop who professedher said that it was an act of God. She became abbess of her monastery in Kildare and died on the 1st of February 524 AD at the age of 71. Her remains are now entombed in the same grave as St. Patrick and St. Columcille in Downpatrick. Split in stone wfrom whip meant for St. Brigid Visiting the Shrine The custom of making St. Brigid’s crosses may have been a christianised version of a celtic ceremony connected with food production at the beginning of Spring. The crosses were usually made from straw and rushes, although reeds and wood were occasionally used. When Irish people converted to Christianity they sometimes brought ancient traditions with them. Myths surrounding St. Brigid’s life have similarities to those of Brigid, the celtic godess of fertility.   The actual making of the cross came about while Brigid was attending the sick bed of a pagan chieftain. She was trying to convert him to Christianity and used the rushes from which his bed was made, to make a cross. The fact that her well is said to rise on her feast day may also be connected back to Celtic mythology. Source: Hugh Smyth, County Museum, Dundalk One type of St. Brigid’s Cross – from County Derry   Another Possibility…. The main significance of the feast of Saint Brigid’s on February 1st would seem to be that it was a christianisation of one of the focal points of the agricultural year in Ireland, the starting point of preparations for the spring sowing. A relaxation of the rigours of winter weather was expected at this time, for, according to tradition, the saint had promised. “Gach ré lá go maith ó’m lá – sa arnach agus leath mo lae féinigh.” Every second day fine From my day onward And half of my own day St. Brigid was one of the great trio of saints – along with Patrick and Columba – who laid the foundations of the Celtic Church. She was born about 453 near Umeras, in Co. Kildare and died about 523. Her father was a pagan prince named Dubthach and her mother was Brocerna, a Christian slave in his household. The cult of St. Brigid is still vigorous in Ireland. She is known as the patron of farmers, of artists and of students. On the eve of her feast day, February 1st crosses made of rushes woven together are placed in Irish homes, blessed and hung up in cow-sheds or byres to invoke her protection for the following year. For those who lived near the sea the spring tide nearest to her festival was known as “Rabhastha na féile bride” and was believed to be the greatest spring tide of the year, and the people were quick to take the opportunity of cutting and gathering seaweed to fertilize the crops and collecting shellfish and other shore produce. In many places certain kinds of work were prohibited on the feast day and instead the inhabitants of parishes dedicated to the saint usually kept the day as a holiday and instead preformed devotions at the local shire of the saint. The housewife made sure that the house clean and tidy for the occasion and no matter how poor the household, always provided a festive supper or at least some tasty dish on St. Brigid’s Eve – apple-cake dumplings and colcannon were favourite foods at this time. There were various ways of indicating that her visit to a house or farmyard was welcome. There are traditions of placing a cake, bread and butter, water or pieces of meat on the willow-sill outside as offering to her. After she had passed by there acquired curative properties and were kept to relieve sickness. The lengthening day too, was welcome to people whose artificial lighting was limited. There was a saying which ran “On St. Brigid’s day, you can put away the candlestick and half the candle.” The most common type of St. Brigid’s Cross


https://www.youtube.com/embed/3SfH0Pg-7hs” target=”_blank”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SfH0Pg-7hs&feature=youtu.be