Saint Brigid of Kildare
Life, legend and cult
'The great merit of this new book on St Brigid of Kildare is that it distils into one very readable volume the varied aspects of the study of the legend and cult associated with Ireland's premier female saint. Those connected with any of the myriad parish churches, schools, holy wells, or football clubs in all parts of Ireland that are dedicated to St Brigid will find all they need to know about the saint's cult within its pages. Indeed they will almost certainly find their own parish/school/club mentioned in the detailed gazetteer of the dedications to St Brigid in every county in Ireland ... The book is beautifully produced and enhanced by a wide variety of well-chosen illustrations. If you have any association with a parish, school, or organisation dedicated to St Brigid, or are interested in the transition from paganism to Christianity, this is a book you should read', Bernadette Cunningham, SEARCH (2018).
'This book, based on a lifetime of research, is testament to the enduring power of the essentially protean figure that Brigid is, and her continuing power to provoke debate and inspire the imagination. Her actions as told to us in ancient sources continue to resonate today, and Noel Kissane has expertly detailed the remarkable and enduring impact of this woman on Irish and European faith, folklore and literature over hundreds of years. The devotion to his subject is admirable and this book is a handsome and exhaustive tribute to Brigid whether the reader decides to see her as woman, goddess or saint — or perhaps all three', Gillian Kenny, History of Women Religious (2018).
‘Noel Kissane’s book of over 350 pages details [Saint Brigid’s] story and the influence it has exercised, from earliest times down to the many modern reminders of the saint, in names of churches, parishes, townlands, schools, religious orders, and secular associations, including numerous GAA clubs … By devoting what amounts to a lifetime of research to Brigid, while also engaged on his duties as Education Officer and Keeper of Manuscripts in the National Library, Noel Kissane has paid a handsome tribute to Ireland’s national female saint', Padraig Ó Riain, The Irish Catholic (2017).
'After exhaustive and scholarly examination, the author concludes that, in all probability, Brigid was indeed a real person ... This fascinating book is a treasure-trove of accessible information and is a notable triumph for author, Noel Kissane. His erudite and illuminating study of Saint Brigid greatly enhances our understanding of our unique Irish heritage, upon which he furnishes a compelling and memorable perspective. Likewise, Four Courts Press are to be warmly congratulated on the exemplary standards of presentation of this splendid volume', Séamus Mac Gabhann, Ríocht na Midhe (2018).
‘An expansive book on an elusive woman … Full of extraordinary nuggets of information which deepen and contextualise Brigid’s place in the Catholic hierarchy of medieval Europe … This book … is testament to the enduring power of the essentially protean figure that Brigid is, and her continuing power to provoke debate and inspire the imagination. Her actions as told to us in ancient sources continue to resonate today, and Noel Kissane has expertly detailed the remarkable and enduring impact of this woman on Irish and European faith, folklore and literature over hundreds of years. The devotion to his subject is admirable and this book is a handsome and exhaustive tribute to Brigid whether the reader decides to see her as a woman, goddess or saint – or perhaps all three’, H-WRBI online review (May 2018).
‘Kissane’s survey of Brigid’s life, legend and cult is thorough. It is clear that careful consideration has been given to each aspect and his use of sources is extensive. It is also refreshing to see such a survey fluidly take into account the medieval origins right through to modern perceptions … this text strives to provide a depth of understanding and appears to largely achieve its intended result’, Claire Collins, Journal of Royal Society of Antiquities of Ireland (2016).
‘A work that will delight the local historian, folklorist, medievalist, place-name specialist, church historian and students of many other disciplines ... well researched, wonderfully presented and very readable account … the author examines the hagiography and legend of Brigid to provide a fascinating account of how the devotion, cult and fame of this early Irish covert to Christianity spread across Ireland, Britain and mainland Europe in the early medieval period with churches named in her honour throughout these lands', Ireland’s Genealogical Gazette (2017).