All things St. Brigid!

Your Letter from Ireland shorts from St. Brigid's Day, the 1st of February 2024.

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All things St. Brigid!

Céad míle fáilte, welcome to your Letter from Ireland “Shorts”.  Each Tuesday we’ll bring you a quick-read of some of our favourite and interesting Irish things for this week.

St. Brigid’s Holy Well, County Kildare.
Now you might be wondering “why am I looking at pictures of rags hanging from a branch instead of a well”! This tree is beside what’s known as a “clootie well“. People hang pieces of cloth that are dipped in well-water as part of a healing ritual going back to the time of the Celts.
This particular well is dedicated to St. Brigid, have a listen here to our podcast on this mystical figure and celebrate the beginning of “Imbloc”, the Celtic festival at the start of Spring.

Our Irish surname of the week is Nolan. This famous surname, with variations like O’Noulane, O’Noland and O’Nowlan, originates from the Irish O’Nullain, meaning “descendant of the crier”. It referred to the clan’s chief who served as a herald to the Kings of Leinster. Some branches settled in Connacht and gained land in Galway and Mayo, while a smaller branch settled in Cork where the name eventually became O’Huallachain, meaning “proud” or “noble.” To see where the name appears in Ireland in the mid 1800s go to this page on

“Models for Movers” by Ida B.O’Carroll
. This is an extraordinary compilation of oral histories from Irish migrant women that covers three distinct waves of 20th-century emigration. Each woman shares her journey of building a new life in America and the book weaves together a rich tapestry of multi-generational experiences. Click here to see the book on amazon. 


Beannachtaí na Féile Bríde ort

Which translates to “Happy St. Brigid’s Day” or more directly as “Blessings of Brigid’s Feast on you”.

Click here to listen to how a native Irish speaker would say it.

IRISH CRAFT/PRODUCT WE LOVE (not an advert – just things we like) 

The St. Brigid’s cross is one of the national symbols of Ireland – made from reeds and typically hung in the house on St. Brigid’s day. Recently we met Patricia O’Flaherty from Strokestown in Co. Roscommon who makes all sorts of crafts (including St. Brigid’s crosses) from rushes on the banks of the river Shannon. While she doesn’t sell directly to customers, you can find her crafts for sale in many larger online stores like here at Carrick Mór. If you fancy trying to make your own cross then have a look at this video to see how.

naomh padraig handcrafts

That’s it for this week. Send us an email with any of your own favourites for inclusion in future emails, or if you’re a plus member leave a comment below.

Slán for now,
Mike & Carina.

Note: The above article may contain some affiliate links (for example the Amazon link) which means we get paid a small amount should you choose to purchase, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keep the show on the road!


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