I am very fortunate to know Dr Louise Nugent, a friend of family, who was awarded a Ph.D for her study of the archaeology of Medieval Pilgrimage in Ireland. Louise has a superbly interesting blog entitled Pilgrimage in Medieval Ireland, arising from her studies and her continued interest in praying and supplication of the Irish at places of pilgrimage.
I attended boarding school at the St Louis Convent, Dún Lughaidh,in Dundalk, County Louth from 1961 – 1966. Although I had for years been making St Bridget’s Crosses and reading about her in school, it was in Dundalk that the knowledge grew. Here each February we were taken on pilgrimage to Faughert, invariably in soaking wet and freezing conditions. Usually a day of misery for us boarders!
I was fascinated to read Louise’s account and to see her pictures of modern pilgrimage to this same site – 50 years on. 50 years ago it was different - no tacky modern ‘grotto’, and instead of modern paths we had to ‘rough it’ through a wooded area alongside a stream! Our pilgrimages were sufficiently far removed from exams, being in February, that there was no vested interest or immediacy in being devout, so it was endurance, plus not having to spend a Sunday afternoon in Study rather than anything else, that sustained us both spiritually and emotionally!
Louise’s account of a several days in Dundalk exploring modern devotion to Bridget is here . She has promised to post more on the cult of St Brigid and I will be happy to reblog on this page. If you have an interest in Bridget, I commend this great post to you!