Feile Bride (Festival of Brigid)
Féile Bríde - Brigid's Festival is a week- long series of events commencing on the eve of St.Brigid's Day, the first day of February.
The organization of an Annual Feile Bride was an offshoot of the Conference in 1993. It is a week to ten-day long series of events commencing on the eve of St. Brigid’s Day each year with a candlelight pilgrimage and ritual at St. Brigid’s wells on January 31st. The ritual draws hundreds of people from near and far. The feile continues to grow and attract many national and international groups. Solas Bhride has an abundance of pilgrims and visitors to the Centre on St. Brigid’s Day each year. Usually, the weaving of St. Brigid’s crosses take centre stage that day and it is wonderful to see so many happy faces showcasing St. Brigid’s crosses as they leave the Centre with their self woven crosses. The customs and traditions associated with St. Brigid are highlighted and celebrated in workshops in Solas Bhride, Kildare Library and Kildare Heritage Centre.
People come to Kildare at this time to speak about justice in the world or lack of it. A Peace and Justice Conference organised in collaboration with Afri is a core component of the Feile. Afri invites renowned speakers from Ireland and around the globe to address issues such as disarmament, poverty, climate justice, care for planet earth and other major issues that confront our world. The Conference is far more than a “talking shop”. New initiatives are birthed and peace and justice activists leave the Conference each year with a spring in their steps and renewed energy to continue working to create a more caring and sustainable world.
The programme for Feile Bride varies each year and usually includes a celtic lecture, a concert, poetry, music, song and dance.
There is time for reflection, Eucharist is celebrated at St. Brigid’s well and in the local churches. The school children dramatize some of the legends associated with St. Brigid during their celebrations.
There is a growing participation of local groups and associations such as Kildare Heritage Centre, Into Kildare, Kildare Education Centre, Kildare Library, and others in organising creative rituals and outdoor events for children and adults to mark the celebrations. Kildare County Council and the Brigidine Sisters support the Annual Feile through sponsorship.
The Feile some times includes walking the monastic trail in Kildare town and walking on The Curragh Plains, St. Brigid’s Pastures.
We are delighted that Feile Bride events are now being organised both within and outside Ireland in places such as USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, UK, Germany and Italy.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in 2021 launched its 4th global St. Brigid’s Day Programme which celebrates the creativity and talents of Irish women. Irish communities around the world have enthusiastically embraced the celebration which has contributed to the rapid growth to the number of celebrations which saw over 30 cities involved across the globe in 2021.
Plans are already being muted for a celebration to mark the 1500th anniversary of St. Brigid’s death in 2024.