St Brigid’s Day event has ‘huge tourism potential’

By Maurice Garvey

THE Celtic pilgrimage of St Brigid could become a bigger event in Clondalkin next year with organisers planning to extend it over a two-day weekend.

Up to 80 residents in Clondalkin recently celebrated St Brigid’s Day on February 1 – with some 15 having walked to Clondalkin from the Bridewell on the day.

St Brigids Way Pilgrimage

Cllr Breeda Bonner recieving a blessing from Karen Ward (from Moon Mná) during the pilgrimage walk in Clondalkin.

St Brigid, the second patron saint of Ireland after St Patrick, holds a special place in the local heritage of Clondalkin - parishioners also attending a prayer at St Brigid’s Well on the feast day, which is located close to Newlands Cross.

Historians believe the well was established by St Brigid in the 5th century to baptise pagans.

At the area meeting this week in South Dublin County Council, councillors Breeda Bonner and Francis Timmons called for the pilgrimage stretch from Knockmeenagh Road at Brigid’s Cottages to Monastery Road, to be signposted by SDCC.

Labour Cllr Bonner, who took part in the pilgrimage walk from the city centre to Clondalkin on St Brigid’s Day, said the laneway route has “huge potential.”

“There is huge tourism potential for pilgrimage paths, when you look at places around Europe like the Camino. Clondalkin Tidy Towns did a huge clean up at the laneway before the day, something like 10 bags of rubbish and 15 bags of cans.

“It is part of ancient highways but is not on the Pilgrims Path of Ireland book because it isn’t signposted.”

Bonner said the NTA have drawn up plans for a pedestrian walkway linking the laneway to the Luas, but this is subject to permeability funding.

“It is used by the community as a walkway for the Luas, but there is dumping and there has been serious anti-social behavior.

“Karen Ward and Cathriona Leavy were heavily involved in the pilgrimage way. It is very spiritual, originally a huge pagan day.”

At the Clondalkin area meeting, Cllr Timmons also asked for a report into land ownership at the site, and called on SDCC to host an exhibition of the importance of the site at a local library.

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