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St. Brigid's Shrine

Where

Faughart Dundalk Louth

Devoted to St Brigid, one of our national patrons, the site is of ancient origin and would seem to have begun during her lifetime. Brigid's cult grew to a status second only to that of Patrick, and to the Irish she was known as Mary of the Gael.  According to tradition, Brigid was born at Fochard Muirtheimne, a few miles north of Dundalk about 450 AD. Because of the strength of this tradition, the place was later known as Fochard Bríde.

Brigid's parents were baptized by St. Patrick, with whom she developed a close friendship. According to legend, her father was Dubhthach, an Irish chieftain of Lienster, and her mother, Brocca, was a slave at his court.  Even as a young girl she evinced an interest for a religious life and took the veil in her youth from St. Macaille at Croghan and probably was professed by St. Mel of Armagh, who is believed to have conferred abbatial authority on her.

Brigid was one of the most remarkable women of her times, and despite the numerous miracles attributed to her, there is no doubt that her extraordinary spirituality, boundless charity, and compassion for those in distress was real.  She died at Kildare on February 1.  She is buried at Downpatrick with St. Columba and St. Patrick, with whom she is the patron of Ireland.  

It is a tradition to make St. Brigids Crosses on her feast day, February 1st, and there are many rituals associated with the making of the crosses.  It is traditionally believed that a Brigid's Cross protects the house from fire and evil. It is hung in many kitchens for this purpose.

Today pilgrims visit Fochard Bríde (Faughart) daily. Public pilgrimages are held during the year, a candlelight procession takes place on the Saint's feast day (1 February), a Mass for the Sick is celebrated in early June and there is a national pilgrimage on the first weekend in July. At public pilgrimages the pilgrims are blessed with a relic of the saint.

Directions: Faughart Hill lies just to the north of Dundalk.  From the Dundalk North junction, head north on a minor road. Once under the bridge, turn immediately right.  After 600m, take to road to the left.

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