Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin led the celebrations for St Brigid’s Day this year by lighting a candle to honour the Kildare patron saint and create a symbol of hope for the year ahead.
This year’s festivities will be the last before St Brigid’s Day becomes a recognised national public holiday on February 1st, with St Brigid’s native Kildare to become illuminated with bright light this evening on St Brigid’s Eve as part of Light Up Kildare (#LightUpKildare) – one of a number of events and activities organised by Into Kildare – the tourism body for the County Kildare region.
The historic Hill of Allen will become illuminated with the flame of St Brigid, shining a beacon of light to Cupidstown Hill in Kilteel, the highest point of Kildare, while Leinster House will also emit a bright glow.
Singer songwriter Jack L will also perform at the Hill of Allen as part of the festivities, however, there will no access to the site on the evening to ensure public safety.
He said : When I heard about Light Up Kildare, I wanted to support it in some way, especially as it’s my home county. St Brigid’s Day is becoming increasingly important, especially outside Kildare, now that she will have her own public holiday. It shows that Brigid is as important as St Patrick for Ireland. Plus it provided the perfect opportunity for me to learn and perform “The Curragh of Kildare”.
Members of the public will also be able to view the ‘lighting up’ from their own homes by logging onto Into Kildare’s Facebook page or visiting the website – www.intokildare.ie from 6pm.
Businesses and local authority buildings across Kildare such as The Curragh Racecourse and Whitewater Shopping Centre will also pay their own tributes to their much-loved saint by also illuminating this evening.
Into Kildare invited families and communities to join them in their tributes and light a candle in their home this evening and channel the flame of St Brigid on the eve of festivities.
Into Kildare CEO Áine Mangan said: “We are very excited this year to instil an air of hope and positivity to the people of Kildare and beyond through Light Up Kildare again to mark the resilience and comradery of the people of our country. We hope people will watch the illumination virtually and join us by lighting their own candles as a symbol of optimism for the year ahead.”
Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D Higgins said he was pleased to join in the festivities and light his own candle:
He said: “I am deeply conscious of the impact which the last two years have had on people throughout Ireland. As we begin to move past the most acute phase of the pandemic, I am pleased to be able to light a candle, and in doing so join with Into Kildare’s illumination of the Hill of Allen and those of so many people throughout our country in their homes with the flame of Brigid. And as we move into the brighter days of spring, let us remember in particular the contribution of all the women in Ireland throughout the pandemic.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin also lit a candle as part of #LightUpKildare:
He said: “As I join with you in lighting this candle, I want to wish the people of Kildare and indeed families across the country, a happy and healthy Lá Féile Bríde.”
A series of events and activities have been organised by both Into Kildare and Solas Bhríde as part of Lá Fhéile Bríde – a week-long festival of events dedicated to St Brigid.
Solas Bhríde hosted a candlelight pilgrimage to St Brigid’s Well on January 31st and Kilteel will host the Coming of Light ceremony on February 1st to mark the beginning of the Spring season to connect with the light on Cupidstown Hill.
A series of family and child friendly orientated events will also take place, in addition to a children’s colouring competition which invites children to create their own version of St Brigid’s cloak.
Keep up to date with all the latest information on St Brigid’s Day and all associated events and activities by visiting the Into Kildare website – www.intokildare.ie
Members of the public participating in Light Up Kildare and beyond are also being asked to use the hashtag #LightUpKildare on their social media channels.