Brigid, the most famous Goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann, is also the Patron saint of Ireland in the Catholic religion.
Brigid the Pagan Goddess was adopted into the Church in the 5th century, when Ireland was being converted to Christianity. This shows us just how important she was to the Pagan people of Ireland, as the Church could see that she would need to come too in order to make the new religion less strange to the Irish.
The Goddess Brigid was the daughter of the Daghdha, a prolific father-figure of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She married Bres, the half-Fomorian king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and they had a son named Ruadán. Ruadán was killed in the second battle of Moytura, and when Brigid went to the battlefield to mourn him it is said to have been the first lament in Ireland.
In the story of Saint Brigid, she is said to have founded her monastery in Kildare at the site of a Pagan shrine to the Goddess Brigid. It was located under a huge sacred oak tree, where a group of young women were tending an eternal flame. This flame is kept burning at the site to this day in honour of Saint Brigid.
The most famous tradition associated with Brigid is the making of a Brigid’s Cross, these are usually made of rushes or willow and are used for protection against evil. Some other traditions include leaving a scarf outside overnight for Brigid to bless (which then cures headaches), and turning a sod in the field for a plentiful harvest.
Brigid is associated with the Spring, fertility, new life, poets, smiths, intelligence and warfare amongst other things.