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.
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 St. 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 and public pilgrimages are held during the year.