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03 Feb 2015

Píosa a scríobh Réamonn Ó Ciaráin do chlár CLG Ard Mhacha v Tiobraid Árann. Piece by Réamonn Ó Ciaráin for Armagh GAA programme v Tipperary.

Tobar BhrídeTá Naomh Bríd ar dhuine den triúr Naomhphatrún ar Éirinn le Pádraig agus le Colmcille.  Déantar ceiliúradh agus cuimhniú ar shaol Naomh Bríd ar an chéad Lá de Mhí Feabhra gach bliain agus i bhféilire na nGael cuireann an dáta seo tús leis an Earrach agus deireadh leis an Gheimhreadh. Dhéantaí ceiliúradh ar fhéile Cheilteach na torthúlachta, Imbolg, ag an am seo fosta. Is naomhphatrún ar leith í Bríd d’ainmhithe agus do bharra feirme agus tá tábhacht ar leith leis an am seo den bhliain d’fheirmeoirí na tíre seo.

Rugadh sa bhliain 453 i bhFochaird ar an taobh ó Thuaidh de Dhún Dealgan, Condae Lú, í agus fuair bás sa bhliain 524 i gCill Dara. Coinníodh an blaidhre s’aici beo go lár Na Meánaoise. Go dtraidisiúnta dhéantaí crosóga Bhríde i gcuimhne uirthi agus chrochtaí na crosóga sna tithe ionas go mbíodh Naomh Bríd ag coimhéad ar achan duine faoin díon fríd an bhliain sin. Dhóití an tseanchrosóg gach bliain leis an teach a chosaint ó thine. Tá seipéil, scoileanna agus leoga clubanna go leor den CLG  ainmnithe i gcuimhne ar Naomh Bríd. Tá 43 áit leis an logainm Cill Bhríde in Éirinn. Tá Bríd ar nós Mhuire na nGael in Éirinn. Ba í Naomh Bríd an chéad naomh ar scríobhadh an bheathaisnéis s’aici i nGaeilge.

Agus Foireann shinsear peile Ard Mhacha ag tabhairt aghaidhe ar fhoireann Thiobraid Árann ar Pháirc Lúthchleasa Ard Mhacha inniu, ní i bhfad ó chomharthaí ómóis do Naomh Bríd atá siad. Tá Ardscoil Naomh Bríd, a chuir oideachas ar ghasúir Chathair Ard Mhacha ó bhí 1971 ann, ag amharc síos orthu. Tá tobar naofa Naomh Bríd suite in aice le club rugbaí Ard Mhacha i dtailte Dheiméin An Ardeaspaig. Go dtí ar na mallaibh ba ghnáth le daoine dul ar oilithreacht chuig an tobar ársa naofa seo ar Lá Fhéile Bríde gach bliain. Thosaigh Cleamairí Ard Mhacha an traidisiún seo arís.

Is ó Leabhar Ard Mhacha a fhoghlaimíonn muid faoin chairdeas a bhí idir Naomh Pádraig, Aspal mór na hÉireann, agus Naomh Bríd. Fuair Naomh Bríd inspioráid ó Phádraig a thóg an Chríostaíocht go hÉirinn. Ainmníodh Bríd, áfách, i gcuimhne ar Bhrighid, iníon de chuid Dhaghdha, a bhí ina beandia págánach in Éirinn. Is léir go raibh Naomh Bríd na Críostaíochta flaithiúil agus naofa agus tá dáimh nach beag ag muintir na hÉireann ar an naomh seo agus ar an lá seo s’aici, an chéad lá de Mhí Feabhra.

I measc na ndreamanna a bhfuil Naomh Bríd ina naomhphatrún orthu tá lucht iompraithe uisce agus is féidir a bheith cinnte go mbeidh sí ag coimhéad na maoranna uisce a choinneoidh brosla le laochra díograiseacha Eamhain Mhacha agus le laochra Chaisil inniu ar a gcéad chluiche sa tSraith Náisiunta 2015.

Cros BhrídeSt Brigid is one of the three patron saints of Ireland along with St. Patrick and St. Columba. She is called to mind in a special way on the first of February each year which also marks the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring in the traditional Irish calendar. Imbolg, the Celtic festival of fertility, was also celebrated at this time. St. Brigid offers special patronage for farm animals and for crops and this is indeed a crucial time of the year for Irish farmers.

Brigid was born in 453 in Faughart, north of Dundalk, Co. Louth and she died in 524 in Kildare. Her perpetual flame was kept aglow at her convent in Kildare by a sisterhood of devotees until the medieval period. Traditionally St. Brigid’s crosses are made from rushes and hung in homes for protection throughout that year. The old cross is burnt each year to ward off fire. There are many chapels, schools and indeed GAA clubs named after St. Brigid throughout the country. There are, for instance, 43 places with name Cill Bhríde or Kilbride in Ireland. Brigid has been likened to an Irish Mary or another Mary for the Gaels. Brigid was the first Saint to have her biography written in the native Irish language.

As the senior Armagh football team face Tipperary team in the Athletic Grounds they will not have to look too far for evidence of the St. Brigid devotion. St. Brigid’s High School, which has educated Armagh city boys since 1971, is looking on from Windmill Hill. Nearby in the grounds of the Archbishop’s Demesne lies the ancient and holy well of St. Brigid. Pilgrimages to this sacred well continued until recently and this tradition has been revived by Armagh Rhymers.

From the Book of Armagh we learn of Brigid’s friendship with St. Patrick, the great Apostle of Ireland. Despite being named after a pagan Goddess, Brighid, daughter of Daghdha, Brigid became a devout and generous Christian. The people of Ireland have a special devotion to Brigid and her feast day.

One group of people who enjoy special patronage from St. Brigid are the water carriers and no doubt Brigid will keep a special eye on all the ‘Maor Uisce’ who will keep the Navan Fort and the Cashel warriors fuelled for the National league contest today.

Faoi bhrat Bhríde sibh go léir.
May Brigid’s mantle surround you all.

Réamonn Ó Ciaráin irishculturalofficer.armagh@gaa.ie