The stories told on these pages are from  a collection of folklore compiled by schoolchildren in Ireland in the 1930s. 
The children recorded (over&nbsp740,000 handwritten pages) of this material from their parents, grandparents and neighbours.

These are their stories in their own words.

St. Brigid – Ardagh Story

SCHOOL: Ardagh | ADDRESS: Ardagh, Co. Longford

Saint Brigid's statue in Kildare Town
Saint Brigid’s statue in Kildare Town

Saint Brigid:- Patron Saint of Ardagh parish.

It was dedicated to her by her uncle St. Mel Bishop & patron of the diocese of Ardagh & Clonmacnoise. She was the foundress of numerous convents throughout Ireland.

Long ago if a person wanted to raise a building they had to go first and ask leave from the district.

St. Brigid went to the king of this district to ask leave to build a convent. He told her that he would give her as much ground to build her convent as her shawl would cover.

The St. went home and crotcheted a shawl the size that she wanted to convent to be. She brought the shawl back to the king and he gave her that much ground for her convent.

There are ruins the north side of “Sliabh Galry” where it is supposed she had her convent. There are many stories told about St. Brigid.

There was a chieftain imprisoned by the Ard ri. St Brigid sought his release because she knew he was innocent of the crime of which he had been accused. When she went to the palace of the high king he was out hunting but his two sons gave her admission.

She sat in the hall waiting for his return. There was a harp hanging up in the hall. She asked on of the men to play something on it but he said that he could not. She then touched his fingers and then he could play.

Then the other brother asked St. Brigid to touch his fingers also so that he might play.

When the king returned he was overjoyed that his sons could play. He asked St Brigid to give him that gift also.

She told him she would if he would grant her a request. He told her that he would give her anything she asked for. So the chieftain got released.

On another occasion St. Brigid was falsely accused and as a proof of her innocence she carried coals in her apron for about two miles and dropped them about a half a mile from Ardagh village.

Where she dropped them a well sprung up. It is miraculous from that day to this. Cures beyond number are obtained there. It is called “St. Brigids Well”

The church is called “St Brigids church. The convent and schools are also called after her. Almost every girl in the parish is called after her.

Long ago the 1st of February was dedicated to St. Brigid as a parish holiday but now it has ceased. There was a man in this parish who thought when he came home from mass that his obligations were fulfilled.

He went out to plough. The horses took fright and turned back and brough the plough across his body. He was confined to bed for twelve months after it.


The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0768, Page 217” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

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