Brigid of Kildare: A Novel

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Prior to the arrival of the Normans in , the round towers may have been the only noteworthy buildings constructed of stone in Ireland, at a time that the first church structures were made of wood. There may have originally been some round towers in Ireland.

Women's Lives in the European Middle Ages

Most of the 65 now remaining are in a ruined state, with less than 20 in good condition. Only one retains its original conical cap, at Clondalkin, near Dublin. Kildare can boast five round towers, the most of any county in Ireland. Kildare's round tower is one of only two in Ireland that visitors may climb.

The m ft example in Kildare town is the second tallest in Ireland. Vertigo-resistant visitors—for a small fee—may enter and climb up the six flights of ladders to the battlements on top, added in the s. It is one of only two round towers in Ireland currently allowing such access; the other is St.

The current floors and the ladders between them were added in The tower was most likely rebuilt in the 12th century onto the granite block foundation of the original structure dating from the sixth or seventh century. British military surveyor Charles Vallancey, working in Ireland between and the turn of the century, became known as the foremost authority of his time on Irish antiquities. He claimed that the round towers were of Phoenician or Indo-Scythic origin and were the repositories of the sacred fires used to rekindle all the flames of Ireland once a year.

Theosophist and psychic and associate of W. In George Petrie won the gold medal from the Royal Irish Academy for his essay that firmly but politely, refuted the wilder theories that were dominating the discussion of the round towers. Besides if there be any that could be convinced by such reasonings, they would not be likely to have their faith shaken by any commentary that I could make upon them.

Brigid Of Kildare

The fact that they did not must prove that the round towers are of a later date. The modern era of radiocarbon dating and scientific analysis has in no way put an end to the ability of the Irish round towers to act as muse for those on a personal quest for a deeper meaning within ancient architecture.

Callahan concluded that the round towers acted as a boon to agriculture, collecting weak magnetic radiation from the sun and transmitted it to the priests and then to the plants growing around the tower. If Vallancey and [others] had published their works in the shape of Novels that would have done no harm, but as they have given their dreams the shape of grave history I think myself bound now, while the language of Ireland is living and while I have all the means of understanding it, to put posterity on their guard against them.

Crofton Croker in However, it must be remembered that when constructed they had a monumental effect, demonstrating to the local Christian community and to all visitors the great prestige of the church and its architectural—and symbolic—heights beyond the reach of the secular world. Brigid blend together in this area and imbue it with their powerful united presence…her story encapsulates the melding of Irish paganism and Christianity, neither of which can contain her.

Among her diverse devotees it is sometimes a topic of contention whether or not the St. Brigid of sixth-century Kildare inherited her sacred mantle from an eponymous pagan priestess of the Celtic Iron Age. Their shared association with fire is one factor holding together the goddess Brigid with St. The familiar rush-woven St. The Abbey and Round Tower at Kildare. Note the ruins of the Fire Temple to the left.

She was reputed to be the daughter of the great Celtic god Dagda and the Morrigan. As a fertility goddess, her aspects were venerated not only in Ireland but also in Britain and on the continent. The Celtic festival of Imbolc —marking the beginning of spring—midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, coincides with the first of February, the feast day of St.

All wells are sacred to Brighid for they are the doorway to the Underworld and the womb of our Mother, the source of all life. There are many different threads of belief that have developed around this amorphous spirit, who, according to some sources, may have been the magical name used for evoking any number of pagan deities. While the list continues to evolve with the times, some aspects of her veneration include: Celtic Christian, Goddess Movement, Wiccan, and Neodrudic.

Other voices, among them some historians and theologians, are skeptical of a direct link between a pagan goddess named Brigid and St. Brigid, was introduced. As one writer noted on her website:. It seems quite possible that the Fire Temple and its complement of 19 guardians seen at St. I agree with you about having good endings in books.


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After your comment, I went back and re-read the last chapter and epilogue. In my opinion, Terrell left the ending as closed as she could make it, given the subject matter. I liked the ending and the feeling it gave. If you ever read this one, I'd love to know your opinion too! Thanks Laura.

Women's Lives in the European Middle Ages

Hahaha yes you are right, I have had it for a couple months but you know my review pile just keeps on growing I am almost done with Darcy Cousins and enjoying it. Highest Stake, not so much had to put it aside for a bit So far I'm enjoying that one too, but I was hitting a deadline with Amazon on Brigid. Reading priorities are now becoming more dependent on deadline dates than my level of interest.

St. Brigid of Kildare

Of course, the books wouldn't be in the TBR pile if I didn't want to read them in the first place! This sounds really interesting! As a lover, of, as you, all things Celtic, I'll have to try to check this one out. Thanks for the great review!

Brigid of Kildare – A Medieval Woman's Companion

Thanks for stopping by, Pearl! I hope you get to read this one someday! I'm here from the Book Review Party as well. At ThriftBooks, our motto Used - Very Good. Very Good condition.

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