Celtic spring

St. Brigid’s Day on February 1st was one of the most important days of the year for our ancestors as it marked the beginning of Celtic spring and a season of new hope and growth. This spring, the Museum of Country Life is encouraging people to learn more about the ways in which this feast day was celebrated in times gone by. From festive meals of potatoes and butter to straw crosses, Biddy Boys and Brídeógs, there are many fascinating St. Brigid’s Day traditions to explore. Visit the galleries at the Museum of Country Life to view objects, photographs and archival footage related to the customs of this day in the lives of our ancestors.


Biddy Boys workshop

The Museum of Country Life is hosting a free workshop on Sunday, January 29, from 2.30 to 4.30pm, to share the traditional straw crafts associated with St. Brigid. Expert straw craftsman Pat Broderick, of Iniscross Crafts, Limerick, will give a demonstration on the much-loved tradition of making St. Brigid’s Crosses as well as the skills involved in making a Biddy Boys straw hat.

The Biddy Boys traditionally called from home to home on the feast day of St. Brigid each February 1. They dressed in tall straw hats and carried an effigy of St. Brigid, seeking money and food to throw a party in her honour. The workshop is suitable for adults and children, aged seven plus. No booking required. Learn more at www.museum.ie.


Crafty afternoon

The talented Connacht Textile Crafters return to the Museum of Country Life to share their many skills and varied crafts at a special ‘show and tell’ event on Saturday, January 28, from 11.30am to 3.30pm. Find out more about a range of contemporary and traditional textile crafts. No booking required for this free event. Suitable for all ages.


Viking silver

A temporary exhibition exploring our Viking past in the west of Ireland continues at the Museum of Country Life this January.

The Hoard and the Sword exhibition includes a display of rare Viking silver artefacts and lots of interesting information about Mayo’s Viking heritage. Artefacts include an impressive hoard of silver Viking armlets found in Kilmeena in 1939 and a Viking warrior sword dredged from the River Moy in 1963. The exhibition is suitable for adults and children. Admission to the galleries is free.


The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and Sundays from 2 to 5pm. Closed Mondays. Admission free.


FURTHER INFORMATION: Frances Toner, Marketing Executive, National Museum of Ireland – Country Life. Telephone (094) 9031773 or email ftoner@museum.ie.