Saint Brigid's Cross

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

My father was born in 1954, in a small town on the west coast of Ireland called Ennistymon. County Clare, and the rest of the west of Ireland had been the center of the uprising against the British powers at the beginning of the 20th century. The west of Ireland is more "untouched," "wild," and less Anglicized than the rest of the country. Celtic traditions have stead fast in this part of the country, including Ennistymon. When my father immigrated to NYC, he brought a little piece of an old celtic tradition to Brooklyn: Saint Brigid's Cross.

My father's mother, my Nana, gave him this cross when he moved to America. The cross is named after Saint Brigid, one of the patron saints of Ireland, who was thought to have been a Celtic goddess who was “Christinaized.” Her feast day is February 1st, which marks the first day of spring. Traditionally, the cross is made of dried reeds that have been harvested from the bogs and if hung over the front door of a house, it is thought to protect the house from fire and hunger.  

I am thankful for all of the traditions that my father has brought from Ireland, although Saint Brigid's cross is one of my favorites. The cross that's been hanging over the front door of my house, for as long as I can remember, represents to me the feeling of safety, warmth, family, and love. I want to continue this tradition.

Year: 1980

– Aoife Henchy

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant