Today is the feast of St Brigid, who died circa 524 and who is one of the great patron saints of Ireland.
A great figure enmeshed in legend and folk piety and the subject of many Vitae, Brigid was the founding abbess of the double monastery (principally a house for women) at Cill Dara (Church of the oak), today's Kildare. There is an online account of the monastery which can be read here.
Her cult was not confined to Ireland. Irish missionaries and other Irish emigrants took devotion to her continent. There is a restored eighth-tenth-century chapelle Sainte-Brigide at Fosses-la-Ville (Namur) in Belgium and in Italy her cult is closely associated with her ninth-century countryman bishop St. Donatus of Fiesole, who in 850 granted to the monastery of Bobbio (founded by St. Columban) an existing church at Piacenza dedicated to her with the stipulation that it be used to provide hospitality to Irish travellers and to whom is ascribed a metrical Vita of Brigid written for a continental audience - it used to thought that that only the introduction was his. This poem includes the account of Brigid hanging her cloak on a sunbeam to dry.
The early thirteenth-century cathedral of Kildare (Church of Ireland; restored from a state of virtually total ruin by G.E.Street the nineteenth century) is dedicated to St Brigid.
The cathedral before restoration - a view from the north
Kildare Cathedral today