Landmarks illuminated in bid to make St Brigid’s Day a national holiday

Landmarks illuminated in bid to make St Brigid’s Day a national holiday

Breastfeeding Madonna by photographer Myriam Riand and conceptual artist Áine O'Brien. Pictures: Steve O’Conor

Landmarks are being illuminated to promote a campaign to make St Brigid’s Day a national holiday.

The Brigid’s Day the Herstory Light Show, by brand awareness and illumination firm Dodeca, is illuminating landmarks across Ireland in honour of mother and baby home survivors.

The venues include Galway City Museum, St Brigid’s Cathedral in Kildare, Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, and Athlone Castle and Belvedere House in Westmeath.

Herstory is calling on the Irish public and the country’s diaspora to sign a petition to make St Brigid’s Day a national holiday.

Female perspective

The female perspective history initiative, set up to highlight the role of women down through the ages from the female perspective, wants St Brigid to have the same status as St Patrick.

Illuminations include portraits of the mother and baby home survivors by Karen Morgan and powerful haiku poems by Laura Murphy.

They also feature art from the Stay with Me Show, curated by activist Rachael Keogh and journalist Alison O’Reilly.

A specially commissioned photographic series entitled Sovereignty has also been created by photographer Myriam Riand and conceptual artist Áine O’Brien.

Organisers say this is all about the “reclaiming and reimagining the mother archetype that has been historically dictated and defined by church and state”.

“Now, Mná na hÉireann are reclaiming our sovereignty, sexuality, and spirituality,” they said.

Mother Creation by photographer Myriam Riand and conceptual artist Áine O'Brien.
Mother Creation by photographer Myriam Riand and conceptual artist Áine O'Brien.

Organisers asked the public to nominate their heroines and see them honoured in illuminations on landmark buildings over Brigid’s weekend.

There are four themes: Corona Heroes, Black Lives Matter, Women Who Have Arrived, and Brigids of the World.

The Corona Heroes theme, for example, honours the heroes of the pandemic.

These are described as “women and men who have battled the Covid-19 virus and the everyday heroes who have played a role in these challenging times”.

Meanwhile, President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to frontline workers for their work during the pandemic.

In an address to mark St Brigid’s Day, President Higgins said future generations will be grateful for the workers and their efforts.

“As we celebrate the courage and commitment of St Brigid in her day, we in our day pay tribute to all of those who, in their different ways, continue to put their lives at risk as they continue their important work, for the benefit of all of us, their fellow citizens,” said President Higgins.

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