Charles McGlinchey, Ballyliffin, recounting a tradition of his youth in the 1860s;
‘Brigid’s Eve was the night for making crosses. Before the people of the house sat down to supper, a girl belonging to the family went out to bring in the rushes. If there was a girl by the name of Brigid in the house she got the privilege. She knocked on the door and the one inside said:
Oiche Bhríde brichíneach
Bain an ceann den croiceanach,
Gabhaigí ar na glúnaí,
Is ligigí isteach Bríd Bheannaithe.
‘Sé beatha, ‘sé beatha, sé beatha.
On St Brigid’s night
Take the head off the rushes,
Go on your knees,
And let St Brigid in.
You’re welcome, you’re welcome, your welcome.
That was the night my father always said the prayer “Bail na gcúig n-arán.The blessing of the five loaves”.
After we took our supper,all the grown-up ones about the house made the rush-crosses. A cross was made for the kitchen and for above the beds and for all the outhouses. The old people always left a rag of cloth outside on a bush that night till morning. It had the blessing of St Brigid and was used for cures, and against dangers of any kind, like the fever, or lightning, or fire, or drowning. It was called the ‘Bratóg Bhríde’.’
The last of a Name