THE St Brigid’s Day conference programme to be held in Down County Museum was launched this week by Margaret Ritchie MP, the Very Reverend Henry Hull, Dean of Down Cathedral, and Canon Sean Rogan of St Patrick’s Church, at Down County Museum.
The Conference on Friday 1 February 2013 will focus not only on St Brigid herself but also on other female saints associated with County Down.
Although St Brigid is mainly associated with Kildare, and her life and miracles were recorded by the monk Cogitosus as early as AD 650, she has also been linked to Down for many centuries. Later works claim that she came to Down to meet St Patrick himself. Indeed, John de Courcy’s bishop, Malachy, is said to have unearthed the graves of Patrick, Brigid and Columcille on the Hill of Down in 1185.
Professor Padraig O’Riain of Cork University will be speaking about St Brigid and other female saints associated with Down during the morning session. Professor O’Riain has recently published a new Dictionary of Irish Saints, and he will be sharing some of his research in his lecture. Also speaking is Liam McQuillan, Inspector of Ancient Monuments with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, whose subject will be the history and restoration of the church at Kilbroney, the church of St Bronagh.
The lesser known saints, Moninna and Duinseach will also be investigated. About 800 years ago there was a cross on the Hill of Down dedicated to St Moninna, perhaps it was the very High Cross which stands near the Cathedral today and which will shortly be conserved and moved to Down County Museum – we don’t know for sure. St Duinseach gave her name to Dunsy Island and also to Killinchy, the church of Duinseach.
This day promises to be full of interest and includes tea and coffee in the morning, lunch in the Museum and an afternoon bus trip to sites in Lecale linked to the saints being researched. Tickets for the day are £15 and can be purchased at the Museum, telephone 028 4461 5218 or email: [email protected]