St. Brigid's Cloak

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  • Saint Brigid

Brigid decided to make her home in Kildare. She wished to build a convent there and set out to find the perfect site. Eventually, she found a place that would be ideal for her new convent. However, the land belonged to the King of Leinster.

Brigid met the King of Leinster and a band of horsemen returning from a hunt, she approached the king and told him she needed land. He asked her how much she needed, and Brigid replied that all she asked for was the amount her cloak would cover.

Amused by this strange request, the King agreed, and she laid her cloak on the ground. To his amazement, the cloak grew and spread until it covered the rich, green acres we know today as The Curragh of Kildare. This area is also known as St. Brigid's Pastures.

St. Brigid and the mystery of the cloak

When St. Brendan heard about St. Brigid he decided to visit her. When St. Brendan got to her house St. Brigid was looking after sheep.

St. Brigid went home she took off her cloak and placed it onto a beam of sunshine, which was shining through the window.  The cloak is said to have hung on the sunbeam as if it were hanging upon a hook. 

When St. Brendan saw what happened he told his servant to do the same thing. St. Brendan's cloak fell to the floor three times and Brendan got very angry. His cloak stayed up however the fourth time he tried.

The Cloak and Tradition

St. Brigid’s Cloak was a piece of cloth called the Brat-Bhríde which was used for healing and protection during the year.

The Brat-Bhríde was the size of a handkerchief. It was left outside the house on night of the 31st of January, by the people who lived there. It was hoped that St. Brigid would bless the Brat-Bhríde as she passed by during the night.

The following morning the cloak was taken into the house to be used for healing. The cloak was also placed on the head of a person who had a headache.