Tourism trail launched to coincide with feast day of Saint Brigid

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A new tourist trail dedicated to Ireland’s female patron saint, St Brigid, has been launched on St Brigid’s Day, February 1, by the County Kildare Tourism Board.
The trail takes in some of Kildare Town’s best-known landmarks from north to south, and was  launched in conjunction with Ireland’s Ancient East to connect with the larger Sacred Ireland tourism trail in the future.
“Kildare Town is one of the most important ecclesiastical centres in Ireland, which we highlight with this new tourist trail,” said Kildare Tourism Development Manager Aine Mangan. “St Brigid established her church and monastery close to an oak grove in Kildare, giving the town its name – Cill Dara, church of the oak.”

Sr Rita, Solas Bhríde, Kildare tourism development manager Aine Mangan and Kildare Town Heritage Centre Manager Tom McCutcheon launch the St Brigid’s Trail

Unusually, it was a monastery for men and women. The legend surrounding the King of Leinster’s grant of land for the project has it that he agreed to give her only what her cloak would cover. When she laid down her cloak, it spread out to encompass the whole of the Curragh Plains.
Starting at the Kildare Heritage Centre on Market Square, visitors can watch an audio-visual presentation on St Brigid and her connection to the town. After the Heritage Centre, the trail then takes in St Brigid’s Cathedral before heading south toward St Brigid’s Church which was opened by Daniel O’Connell in 1833.
Visitors then move on to the Solas Bhríde Centre –  a purpose-built centre dedicated to the spiritual legacy of St Brigid and its relevance today. The centre, which is the home of the Brigidine Sisters, is a key stop. It hosts an annual week-long St Brigid’s festival, Féile Bríde, which commenced on the eve of St. Brigid’s Day, February 1. The final spot on the tour is the ancient St Brigid’s Well on Tully Road.
Tourists will be guided around the trail by a new brochure and map which launched by Kildare Tourism, Mayor Martin Miley and Sr Rita from Solas Bhríde.
“The St Brigid’s Trail will interest visitors from both home and abroad who want to learn more about Ireland’s female patron saint,” said Aine Mangan. More information can be found at intokildare.com.

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