February 1st, Saint Brigid's Day and First Day of Spring in Ireland

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Bumblebee on dandelion, Ireland in the spring Bumblebee on dandelion, Ireland in the spring

Today, February 1st, is historically regarded as being the first day of spring here in Ireland, spring is known as Imbolc in ancient Ireland.

February 1st is also Saint Brigid's Day, Saint Brigid is one of Ireland's three patron saints along with Saint Patrick and Saint Columcille.

Interestingly, the dandelion is associated traditionally with Saint Brigid as it flowered closest to the festival so that is what I have posted here, a bumblebee on a dandelion in Ireland.

Saint Brigid's Day is roughly halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, so it makes a perfect time to have a festival.

This also coincides with an article from the Guardian here about not mowing, spraying or removing dandelions in spring for bees.

In more modern times, the snowdrop or daffodil are more likely to be seen flowering on Saint Brigid's Day but neither of these are native to Ireland.

Check out my YouTube video - a walk around the birthplace of Saint Brigid, Faughart in County Louth below.

Saint Brigid's Day will become a national holiday in Ireland from 2023 onwards; lying midway between New Year's Day and Saint Patrick's Day on 17th of March with the holiday falling on the first Monday of the month, for 2024 that's Monday, 5th of February and it marks 1,500 years since her death.

Many sites in Faughart are still associated with the patron saint, including this horseshoe shaped mound below which is known as Saint Brigid's Bed with Slieve Gullion in the distance.

Saint Brigid's Bed, Faughart, facing Slieve Gullion
Saint Brigid's Bed, Faughart, facing Slieve Gullion

I recently visited Saint Brigid's Cathedral in Kildare, the site of her monastery from around the year 470.

And of course, traditionally Irish people made Saint Brigid's crosses using reeds at this time of year.

Below is one of these crosses, suspended from the rear view mirror of an Irish bus between Cork and Dublin in 2017 - this is not decades ago.

Enjoy and stay tuned to find more spring images soon here on Panoramic Ireland.

Saint Brigid's Cross on a bus
Saint Brigid's Cross on a bus
Last modified on Wednesday, 31 January 2024 13:35
Darren McLoughlin

Irishman and International travel photographer in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times / Echtra Echtra and Eonmusic

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about travel in Ireland or about photography in Ireland.


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