As the celebrations for the first St Brigid’s bank holiday weekend get under way, authorities have appealed to road users to take special care over the coming days.
The appeal comes as tens of thousands of people are expected to travel to festivals and events across the country. But it also comes as numbers killed on the State’s roads rise to alarming levels – with the year starting off worse than either 2022 or 2021. Up to February 2nd, some 17 people lost their lives in 2021, this dipped to 14 in 2022 but has reached 20, in the similar period in 2023.
Noting that St Brigid’s bank holiday was introduced to recognise the “stay safe” solidarity shown by the public during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Garda called on all road users to extend the stay safe message and protect each other this weekend.
Among the events being staged for the festival weekend, those dedicated to women are prominent.
Brigid predates Christianity – her roots lie in the Celtic festival of Imbolc celebrated at least five millenniums ago and festival organisers said the weekend provided a unique opportunity to acknowledge the critical role that women have played in Irish history, culture and society.
Exhibitions at IMMA and the National Museum will celebrate the work of seminal Irish women artists and political pioneers; while the National Concert Hall will present Rebel Irishwomen; and the Crawford Art Gallery will present a special St Brigid’s Day tour of the collection. There will be a range of community-based events organised by the local authorities. Kildare County Council, in particular, has planned a programme of events celebrating its unique links with St Brigid.
Events around Ireland include walking tours of Dublin city and Glasnevin Cemetery – where notable women in Irish history are buried, including political revolutionary Countess Markievicz.
There will also be workshops, exhibitions, performances and literary panels, plus the Imbolc Fair at Meeting House Square on Sunday. There will be an illustration and light projection created by Irish illustrator Bronagh Lee at Barnardo’s Square after dark, including aerial performance on Sunday. Further Dublin events at dublin.ie/brigid
Brigid’s Awakening Festival at Strokestown Park, Co Roscommon features a Herstory Salon, shadow puppetry, ceremony at the illuminated Brigid’s Cross on Tarmonbarry Bridge, performance of Briget’s Cloak, talks, an exhibition,and Candlelit Tales. strokestownpark.ie
The Department of Foreign Affairs, in a move which rivals St Patrick’s Festival promotions, has organised St Brigid’s Festival cultural events in more than 20 countries across the world. Events range from workshops in poetry, short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction, and fiction, and panels on the theme of universality and exploring identity in Berlin; to cultural events in five cities in Australia, Brigid in Brussels 2023, a woman’s networking event; to A Women’s Bazaar in honour of St Brigid which will be held on February 11th and an Irish-Mexican women’s rights outreach event to women’s rights and feminist groups in Mexico City. There will also be events in New York, Frankfurt, Mumbai and London.
The weekend will also feature a little rain, according to Met Éireann. Most areas will be dry on Saturday morning but rain will develop in the northwest, becoming patchier as it moves south-eastwards. Drier and brighter weather will follow the rain, but it will feel colder as afternoon temperatures range between 6 or 7 degrees in the northwest and 11 degrees in the southeast.
Sunday morning will be cold and frosty but it will be dry with plenty of sunshine. Cloud will increase through the day and patches of light rain or drizzle will develop in the southwest later. Highest temperatures of 5 to 10 degrees, coldest in Ulster, with light to moderate southerly winds. Monday is set to be mostly cloudy with scattered light rain or drizzle, mainly in Atlantic coastal counties. Highest temperatures of 8 to 10 degrees with light to moderate southerly winds.