St Brigid's Day / Lá Fhéile Bríde 2022

TBI 2022 Louise Mulcahy Sile Denvir Caitlin Nic Gabhann standing
Louise Mulcahy, Síle Denvir and Caitlín Nic Gabhann, 2022. Image: Dónal Glackin

Three new works will premiere on 1 February 2022 on TO BE IRISH ON ST BRIGID’S DAY, an online celebration of St Brigid and the lives and legacies of women at home and abroad. They will also be available on the ITMA website, YouTube and social media channels.

When the Department of Foreign Affairs approached ITMA about a collaboration, we were very excited at the prospects of connecting talented female artists with material relating to Brigid as a source of inspiration. It was decided to commission three new works that would see a new song, a new melody and a new dance created especially for St. Brigid’s Day 2022.

The three commissioned artists spent time in ITMA’s library researching music, history and folklore relating to Brigid. They also visited places associated with the saint in Kildare. Once sufficient creative impetus was found, they set about composing their new works.



We are now delighted to announce that the three newly composed works will premiere on St Brigid's Day, Tuesday, 1 February 2022. Each new composition will be accompanied by notes from the composer on their particular source of inspiration.

We also offer the opportunity for you to learn the new pieces by providing the notation and an interactive learning score for all three compositions. Caitlín Nic Gabhann will provide an instructional video on the steps for her new dance.


Three New Works for St Brigid's Day to enjoy and learn


Seo í isteach mo Bhrídeog, song
Melody composed by Síle Denvir, words traditional

Síle Denvir was inspired by the traditions and customs associated with the Eve of Brighid’s day in west Galway and Connemara to compose "Seo í isteach mo Bhrídeog’, a new melody and adaptation of a traditional rhyme or prayer.

Seo í isteach mo Bhrídeog,
Mo Bhrídeog chun a’ tí,
Mo Bhrídeog álainn gléasta,
In éadach agus tuí,
Tabhair pingin don Bhrídeog
‘S beidh sí buíoch díobh.

Here comes my Brídeog,
My Brídeog into the house,
My brídeog dressed beautifully,
In cloth and straw,
Give the Brídeog a penney,
And she will be grateful to you.

Learn & Read: Interactive score of "Seo í isteach mo Bhrídeog" with playback, ABC notation and more



St Brigid's Day / Lá 'le Bríde, slip jig and dance
Composed and choreographed by Caitlín Nic Gabhann

Concertina player and dancer Caitlín Nic Gabhann from Ashbourne, Co. Meath, decided that St Brigid should have a tune and a dance in her honour, just like St Patrick!


The name Brigid or Bríd is ‘all around us’ in Irish life. Both my grandmothers were Brigid and Biddy and my own name is Caitlín-Bríd. My grandmother came from St Brigid’s Well, at Liscannor in Co. Clare and my first dancing lessons were at Kilbride hall in Co. Meath. 
There is a tune and dance called ‘St Patrick’s Day’ that is known all over the world, so for St. Brigid’s Day this year, I thought it was time she got a tune and a dance of her own.
When trying to decide on what type of tune to compose for St.Brigid’s Day, I settled on a slip-jig for a couple of reasons. It’s traditionally a feminine dance and I also felt that the slip-jig suited the feast of St Brigid - the first day of spring.
Legend has it that Brigid asked the King of Leinster for some land in Kildare so that she could build a monastery. When he declined, she didn’t give up. She later returned and asked him if he’d give her the land that her cloak would cover. He laughed and said he would! So four of her sisters took a corner each of the cloak and walked in opposite directions - north, south, east and west. As they walked the cloak spread and grew and stretched across many acres. And this is where she built her monastery, one of the first in Ireland. 
The tune I wrote has four parts, representing the St Brigid’s Cross, and also the four corners of her cloak stretching out so far and wide. The dance is a percussive slip-jig, which is unusual, as the slip-jig is usually a light-shoe dance, but I wanted it to represent Brigid’s strength and the ground she broke in her time. 
I called the tune and the dance 'St Brigid's Day'"

Learn & Read: Interactive score of St Brigid's Day slip jig

Learn to dance St Brigid's Day with this instructional video created by Caitlín Nic Gabhann




St Brigid’s Jig / Port Naomh Bríd, jig
Composed by Louise Mulcahy

Uilleann piper/flute player Louise Mulcahy's new composition, Port Naomh Bríd/St Brigid's Jig, celebrates St Brigid, her legacy and her important connection with nature and the environment.


Throughout my research at the Irish Traditional Music Archive, I discovered some charming legends and folklore connecting St. Brigid to nature. St. Brigid is synonymous with the spring season, a time of renewal, new life, growth and positivity. It is the time of year when we celebrate new beginnings and new life on earth. This jig seeks to encapsulate the feelings of hope and positivity whilst celebrating the beauty of nature and new life. The jig is performed on the uilleann pipes which have a range of sonic possibilities. The instrument allows for the deep connection with the sounds of nature and these possibilities are explored in the tune.

The uilleann pipes which Louise is playing were once owned by the master piper Liam O’Flynn and were entrusted to her by Na Píobairí Uilleann.

Learn and Read: Interactive Score of St Brigid's Day / Port Naomh Bríd


For more events and projects celebrating St Brigid's Day: Celebrating the Creativity of Women / Lá Fhéile Bríde: Ag Ceiliúradh Cruthaitheachta na mBan, visit https://tobeirish.ie

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To Be Irish on St Brigid's Day